You may have noticed from the stream of empowering notes on social media and sudden uptick in articles around iconic women that March is Women’s History Month – a time to highlight and reflect on the contributions that women have made throughout history.
And while it’s certainly a time of celebration, it’s also a time to recognize how much further we still have to go. That’s why I’m going to reveal some relevant, actionable tips in this blog post for addressing areas of improvement at your organization.
A good place to start
Commit to salary equity: It’s time for progressive and innovative companies to put their money where their mouth is. Gender pay parity is a huge issue that you can work to fix. Connect with the appropriate teams to conduct a pay-gap analysis at your organization, then open up the conversation to readjust unfair salaries during compensation reviews.
Provide flexible parental leave policies: There’s an abundance of reasons that parental leave is so important, and your policy is an ideal way to demonstrate your commitment to empowering new parents. And while generous leave is a great start, it’s not enough. Supporting women as they transition back into the workplace through community groups or by offering a part-time schedule directly correlates to higher levels of ambition and feelings of empowerment.
Create and advocate for safe spaces: Among the many ways to vocally support women in existing workplace subcultures (new moms group, women-focused Slack channels, etc.), one of the most effective practices is creating an official women’s employee resource group (ERG). ERGs have been helpful for creating a better sense of belonging for all employees, leading to healthier and more innovative businesses.
Why we created a women’s ERG at Greenhouse
From creating a mission and goals, to getting the right executive sponsor, recruiting others and continually planning events, getting a successful ERG up and running is no easy feat. But its value is unmatched.
At Greenhouse, we knew that having an ERG would offer a number of benefits, like providing a safe space for women to discuss their aspirations, mentorship and learning opportunities, and help them gain a general feeling of comradery through challenges that they may face.
I’ve always been a vocal advocate for women in general, whether through shopping at women-owned businesses (thank you, Glossier!) or elevating those in my business development community. So it was only natural that I was thrilled to help launch our women’s ERG here at Greenhouse, Women Grow. What I learned from my personal experience, was that I had a desire to grow my career, but was met with roadblocks because I didn’t have immediate access to some of the more senior women at my organization for direct guidance.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with a great male manager for the past four years who is inclusive and thoughtful, but I also yearned to have a strong female leader in my life – and I knew that I couldn’t be the only one who felt this way.
Since kicking things off, we’ve had so many people raise their hands to be a part of this group, participating in important discussions, taking on leadership positions, and ensuring that we’re being inclusive and intersectional in the process. And although the group is fairly new and we’ll need to measure success against our goals, the initial response has been empowering and positive.
Some advice for women in the workplace
Even if your organization is not ready to kick off an official ERG, you can always take smaller actionable steps toward improvement. For a spark of inspiration, I caught up with five Greenhouse women across various departments so they could share their advice to women in the workplace:
“If you want to be the change you want to see in the workplace, don't ask for permission, take action.”
–Karen Caldroney, Sales Development Representative
“Critical thinking cannot include concerns about individual feelings – mine or others. Instead, bring humanity to every situation by approaching it with experience, knowledge and most of all, compassion. Focus on holistic solutions, not people-pleasing.”
–Jane Wilson, Senior Executive Assistant
“It's important that we lift while we climb, meaning we bring people along with us on our career journey. Be a good listener, be confident, be unapologetic, be vulnerable, ask for what you need and invest in the people who work alongside you.”
–Natalie Lebow, Sales Director
“Do the thing that scares you the most, because on the other side of fear is either an amazing win or a valuable learning opportunity. Either way, listen to your inner voice, trust yourself and go for it. Hit send, set the meeting, raise the idea – whatever it is. If it’s pulling at you strongly, it’s there for a reason.”
–Zaire Fletcher, Digital Producer
Women are powerful beings who deserve to be celebrated year-round. So to all the mothers, daughters, sisters and friends, I applaud you for your tireless efforts and your belief that you can accomplish anything. And to the companies striving to create a more equal workplace, we’ve still got work to do, so let’s continue to grow.