Women empowerment has been the talk of the town for quite some time now. But are women actually empowered? Do companies focus on making the work culture inclusive of female employees?
With women empowerment, many questions arise in one’s mind, such as what is women empowerment? How to empower women and make them realize their self-worth?
Empowering women is not just about educating them or providing job opportunities. It is much more than that. It is about creating an environment where women are given roles they deserve based on their knowledge and experience.
Time and again, women have proved their capabilities breaking all reservations and myths that stereotype them. They work equally efficiently compared to other employees and show a positive outlook towards the growth of the firm. Studies also show that companies with female executives perform better.
Here are a few points accounting firms should focus-on to attract and retain female talent-
1. Starting From The Top
To attract female talent for your firm, you must start by employing women at top positions. If women acquire leader positions, it helps in gaining the trust of newcomers as they are assured that their problems will be heard. Females at top posts can understand the challenges faced by other female workers and can provide apt solutions to their issues.
2. Providing Benefits And Policies
Transparency and trust among employees are important factors in the accounting industry that deals with highly confidential clients’ data. If employees do not have strong communication among themselves or do not trust their team members, it will become difficult to deliver services to customers.
Female employees’ trust and loyalty can be gained by implementing women-oriented HR policies and benefits such as awareness camps, work flexibility policies, maternity leaves, etc. It will attract new talent to join your firm.
3. Assigning a Mentor
Only recruiting female employees is not enough. Retaining them to work for your firm is essential for both the firm and the employees.
After joining, make sure that employees are improving their skills by assigning them a mentor who can provide guidance and answer their queries. If they are not enhancing their skills, it will affect theirs as well as firms’ growth and productivity.
4. Examining Payrolls
According to a study by IWPR (Institute for Women’s Policy Research), women in the United States are paid approximately 20% less than men.
So, make sure your firm provides equal opportunities to every employee, and no one is considered less than the other on the basis of gender. For this, pay audits should be conducted on a regular basis to analyze and address the pay gaps.
5. Promoting Gender Diversity
Having diverse employees is essential but having a diversity statement is equally important. A diversity statement published on your firm’s website lets potential candidates know about the ratio of diverse employees working in your accounting firm.
Such statements let candidates know that gender equality is important for your firm. Thus, it will help to attract female talent to your firm. It will ensure them about their chances to grow in the accounting firm.
6. Providing Gender Neutral Leaves
Maternity leaves do give a sense of comfort to female employees in terms of their firm catering to their needs. However, the opportunities should not be kept on hold due to maternity leaves. Women should be given equal chance to grow during this period.
Another way of promoting equality between the employees is to provide parental leaves that will benefit every employee. As it is the duty of both the partners to work on parental responsibilities.
7. Incorporating Flexible Work Hours
The workforce in 2020 is going to be occupied by at least three generations that will work side by side. Thus, accounting firms will have to find ways for not only female employees but for everyone to work collaboratively.
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This brings focus towards the work-life balance and creating a system that allows it. Allowing flexible work hours will benefit every employee and will also create a gender-inclusive work environment. It can also prove to be a way of creating trust in your employees.
8. Giving Educational Opportunities
After working for the same position for quite some time, female employees develop a sense of stall in their careers. To make sure they stay in your accounting firm, nurture them by hosting seminars and educational programs that they need to grow and succeed.
You can host interactive events where female employees take part and share their struggles and what they feel hinders their growth. Thus, help them by finding solutions to such problems so that your female workforce can overcome those struggles.
9. Encouraging Involvement
Despite having all the knowledge, skills, and expertise, if female team members are not involved in internal processes, it will hinder their growth. It can lead to a low diversity ratio and can affect the recruitment of new talent.
Send your female employees to accounting-related events, meetings, and seminars so that they do not feel inferior about their experiences. Ask them for their feedback and allow them to present their ideas equally. Encourage them to take more risks towards their work and provide them equal opportunities to help them grow.
10. Structuring a Safe Environment
No matter how many reforms and bills are passed to make women feel safe, still there remain some elements that disturb the environment for women employees. If women do not feel safe, they cannot be retained.
Thus, it is essential to create an environment that makes female employees feel safe. Ensure your accounting firm has strict policies towards women harassment. Also, conduct awareness seminars to make every employee aware of offenses and their consequences.
Change does not happen overnight. Similarly, you cannot attract and retain female workforce over a small span of time. Keep working towards enhancing the work environment. Appreciate the successes of your female employees. Ask for their feedback and opinions.