Celebrating Women’s History Month presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on every working woman’s journey toward their right to work.  

While significant progress has been made, it’s still essential for companies to continue their efforts to improve inclusivity at all levels. This includes considering how purpose, flexibility, and trust strongly affect women’s experience in the workplace.  

If you’re looking at how you can improve your female workforce’s experiences, we’re here to provide valuable insights on elevating your workplace environment. 

Historical Change in the Job Market 

Until recently, women struggled for recognition and position in the workplace, with numerous barriers to job opportunities and career advancement.  

However, thanks to the courageous women leaders and pioneers and the increasing calls for workplace equality, women’s experiences today continue to transform positively. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women’s workforce participation rate has gradually increased since 1947.¹ By 2030, experts project it to reach around 55% of the total workforce.  

This increase in workforce participation among women reflects their desire for economic independence and the gradual dismantling of gender inequalities that once limited their opportunities. Right now, more women hold significant positions in different industries. Despite this, there is still room for improvement when considering their general experiences in the workplace. 

Read More: 3 Things Inclusive Hiring Says About an Employer 

3 Things That Impact Women’s Experiences 

A new study from Great Place to Work (GPTW) reveals that most women in typical US workplaces experience fair compensation, fair promotions, and psychologically healthy working environments.² 

While these statistics are undoubtedly worth acknowledging, they pale compared to the data from top-performing workplaces. Significant differences between their numbers show that women in the best workplaces have an overall enhanced working experience. 

1. Purpose 

Having a strong sense of purpose is particularly impactful for women at work. Historically, women were deemed as out of place when in the workplace. Their talents and capacities were often overlooked or underutilized, creating a very unwelcoming environment for women worldwide.  

To fully eliminate this outdated thinking, company leaders need to encourage women to participate in different industries, gain various experiences, and follow their own paths. One of the best ways to achieve this is to help women find purpose in what they do.  

How Purpose Makes a Difference 

In the same study by Great Place to Work, instilling purpose empowers women and taps into their inner desire to use their talents to improve society. Compared to 70% of women in typical companies, 90% who work at large successful companies believe their work makes a real difference.  

With an increased sense of purpose, these women are more engaged and motivated to accomplish their tasks well. Seeing the tangible impact of their contributions on issues they deeply care about could drive them to innovate new processes that lead to success. 

Read More: Boost Company Pride: Leverage Your Competitive Advantage 

2. Flexibility 

To foster inclusivity in women and ensure that their purpose will impact those around them, company leaders also need to be flexible. Based on GPTW, 17% of women feel more included when they’re given different options regarding the time and place they work.²  

Looking back, workplace inflexibility was one of the main obstacles that prevented women from effectively balancing their work and personal responsibilities. The inability to adjust work arrangements led to many women reducing hours or leaving roles altogether. Meanwhile, those who remained often faced immense stress and burnout from juggling professional and personal demands with limited to no support. 

By giving women the autonomy to adjust their hours and locations based on personal or family obligations, you are opening doors to more opportunities they can grab. In environments where leaders support flexible work solutions, women also feel higher trust and fairness. This ultimately empowers them to bring their best to their roles. 

3. Trust 

Allowing women to work independently and choose their preferred location suggests that you trust them to finish their tasks with minimal supervision. According to Paul Zak’s research, published in Business Harvard Review, a trusting environment can create a big difference in women’s experiences in the workplace.³ For example, women in high-trust companies report the following: 

  • 74% less stress caused by their tasks or working environment 
  • 106% more energy to do their work 
  • 50% higher productivity rates 
  • 40% less chance of burning out 
  • 13% fewer sick days taken 
  • 76% increase in employee engagement 
  • 29% more satisfaction with their lives 

These statistics show that instead of micromanaging women, trusting their capabilities can easily translate into impact.  Leaders seeking to improve inclusion, well-being, and advancement amongst female employees should prioritize cultivating organizational trust within their company. 

Strategies to Promote Purpose, Flexibility, and Trust 

If you’re a leader who’s looking to close gender gaps and improve women’s experience inside your workplace, here are some strategies you can implement: 

1. Establish Clear Mission and Values 

Define a compelling mission statement and core values that resonate with your employees’ sense of purpose. This involves engaging employees in defining the organization’s purpose and values to ensure they feel connected to the overarching goals. 

Regularly communicate and reinforce these values through various channels such as team meetings, internal newsletters, and employee recognition programs. Encourage employees to see themselves as integral to a larger mission, driving collective efforts toward meaningful outcomes. 

2. Provide Opportunities for Meaningful Work 

Seeking out opportunities for employees to engage in meaningful work that aligns with their skills, passions, and values is vital for nurturing purpose. When assignments tap into individual strengths, interests, and principles, people find heightened motivation to contribute. 

Leaders should take time to understand what causes and outcomes each team member cares about. They should also encourage autonomy and creativity to give employees the chance to directly impact the projects they care about. 

3. Implement Flexible Work Arrangements 

Offer flexible working arrangements such as remote work, flexible hours, compressed workweeks, or job sharing. Recognize that different individuals may have unique needs and preferences. Trust employees to manage their time effectively while meeting their job responsibilities. 

Provide technology and resources to support women who choose remote working options. You can also regularly evaluate and adjust flexible work policies based on employee feedback, performance, and evolving business needs. 

4. Offer Supportive Policies and Benefits 

Implement policies that support work-life balance, such as parental leave, childcare assistance, and wellness programs. Provide resources and support for employees facing personal challenges or caregiving responsibilities to foster a culture of care and understanding within your company. 

Encourage managers to have open conversations with employees about their needs and concerns. Help improve women’s working experiences by prioritizing their mental health and well-being. 

5. Prioritize Gender Equality and Inclusion 

A major barrier for working women in the past was the lack of trust that created problems like gender discrimination, making them hesitant to report their concerns regarding work experiences. 

To build a genuinely inclusive culture where women can thrive, leaders must actively cultivate trust and demonstrate ethical practices. Moreover, consider implementing implicit bias training and transparent reporting processes so all employees know issues will get proper attention without fear of retaliation.  

You can also share stories of real situations in the organization and the resolution process, while protecting their identities, so employees can understand what accountability looks like. 

CREATE AN EFFICIENT WORKFORCE WITH ACS PROFESSIONAL STAFFING 

Aside from the environment your company cultivates, an efficient workforce relies on the skills and talents of employees. Driving your company to success can be easier with the right talent. 

With our network and years of experience, ACS Professional Staffing can provide solutions tailored to your staffing demands. Allow us to unite you with experienced and skilled professionals. 

Reach out to us today! 

References 

  1. Machovec, Christine. “Working Women: Data from the Past, Present and Future.” US Department of Labor Blog, 15 Mar. 2023, blog.dol.gov/working-women-data-from-the-past-present-and-future
  2. Kitterman, Ted. “Increased Flexibility Helps Women at Work, But Workplace Trust Helps Even More.” Great Place To Work, 24 Oct. 2023, www.greatplacetowork.com/increased-flexibility-helps-women-at-work-trust-helps-even-more. 
  3. Zak, Paul. “The Neuroscience of Trust.” Harvard Business Review, 2 Feb. 2017, hbr.org/2017/01/the-neuroscience-of-trust