In today’s workforce, it’s crucial for companies to understand the importance of creating an inclusive and empathetic culture toward their employees. This is especially true regarding women in the workplace and caregivers across the board. A study conducted in November 2022 by the Female Quotient (FQ), in collaboration with Cisco, comprising 3000 working women across ten countries, found that 6 in 10 working women say they feel resilient in their personal life (61%) and 2 in 3 working women feel resilient in their professional life (65%). There is no question that the past couple of years have been particularly intense for working women with growing demands put on them. For example, 66% of working moms agree that they were responsible for most childcare and household duties in addition to their job during the pandemic.
Resilience is how women got through this time. Interestingly, resilience in personal life carries through to professional life; in return, such resilience translates into professional satisfaction. Aside from work and responsibilities, the study shows that women feel the pressure of the workplace and the economy, as well as personal and societal issues. Seventy-one percent of women say they are concerned about inflation, 57% are concerned about stagnant wages, and 31% are concerned about layoffs. Fifty-four percent of American working women say to be concerned about women losing their rights, compared to 48% of all the women who participated in the study.
Not surprisingly, resilience grows with age and career status. Sixty-four percent of women over 45 and 73% of women in senior-level jobs say they feel resilient. Talking about the results, Francine Katsoudas, EVP and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer at Cisco, said, “As you move through your career and you have more responsibility and seniority, you know it’s a path that you’re choosing. It gives you confidence as you start to realize all your experiences, make you resilient.”
One study participant said: “Resiliency is more than just the ability to bounce back quickly. It’s the ability to recover healthily…coming back in a healthier way with a better perspective.” Therefore, women who feel resilient personally show higher self-care trends, with 45% saying their mental health is one of their top priorities and 43% regularly schedule “me time.”
Part of self-care is being willing to walk away from a workplace that is not supportive. Of the 31% of working women considering leaving their job in the next six months or so, the top reasons are centered on fundamental company culture elements. Forty-nine percent of working women considering leaving find that their company doesn’t provide opportunities for their careers to progress and that their workplace doesn’t help make life easier.
Unsurprisingly, women who feel respected in the workplace are less likely to leave. Of the 58% of working women who do not have plans to leave their job in the next six months, the top reasons speak to aspects of company culture such as respectful managers and remote work options (51%) as well as good collaboration and camaraderie among colleagues (51%). It is worth noting that these percentages are even higher (57%) among working women who feel resilient. “Working people never leave companies. Instead, they leave leaders,” told Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient. “Leadership plays a crucial role in creating an inclusive and empathetic culture towards all employees. The role of leadership is becoming more complex as the need for empathy and humanity in the workplace increases. Without warmth in the workplace, companies risk losing their best people, regardless of gender.”
Part of showing respect in the workplace traces back to how we see caregivers. “We talk about caregivers with this hesitancy in our voices, with amazement that they can do it. We need to change the way we talk about caregivers, whether they are men or women. They should be recognized as pillars of strength within the company and be given the support they need to succeed,” explained Katsoudas.
Such a change might require training your leaders to be empathetic, collaborative, and resilient or recruiting one: “Empathy and warmth should be included in job descriptions, and companies should strive to attract and retain leaders who possess these qualities,” said Zalis.
As more Gen Zers enter the workforce and bring a more fluid way of looking at the world, Zalis urges organizations to measure what matters. “We need psychographic profiling, behavior graphic profiling. We need to foster a level of belonging, safety and security that comes with seeing people for who they are.” Katsoudas could not agree more: “All our data points validate my conviction that we must see our talent as a whole person, and by doing so, we must ensure all their needs are met
This study shows that as women face more significant challenges, they build resilience. Of course, this circularity is something to be celebrated, but it also begs the question, what more might be possible if women are properly supported? What if resilience was able to take women and caregivers more broadly from surviving to thriving in the workplace because of the support given to them by their leaders?
With the tech sector facing massive layoffs, it might be challenging to consider that talent is willing to leave a job because their needs are unmet. Yet leaders should be aware of the impact of hybrid work on hiring practices and, more importantly, the technical skillsets that many industries outside of tech crave. Every company is a technology company today and, as such, represents a career opportunity for engineers, coders, data scientists and conversational AI model trainers.
Disclosure: The Heart of Tech is a research and consultancy firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this column. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this column.
In a groundbreaking study conducted by the Women’s Quotient, the organization examined the impact of gender diversity on the business world. The study speaks to the resilience of women even in the face of adversity and specifically examined the performance of companies that both advocate for and support gender diversity.
The study was performed using a two-stage analysis. Firstly, the Women’s Quotient examined the performance of companies that engaged with their gender diversity initiatives over the duration of several years. This analysis included a comparison of financial returns, customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction. Secondly, a survey was conducted among senior stakeholders in global companies which assessed the rigor, or lack thereof, of the gender diversity initiatives taken by their business.
The study’s results showed that companies with excellent gender diversity initiatives showed financial gains over their peers that did not address gender diversity. These companies also showed higher levels of customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. The analysis of the survey revealed that these successful initiatives went beyond the implementation of quotas for female employees and instead, focused on creating an environment of inclusion. This included practices such as focusing on equal pay and opportunities for promotions.
The study’s findings have an important message for businesses looking to grow within the current market. Gender equality and diversity can prove to be a successful strategy when businesses focus on creating an inclusive environment and provide equal opportunities for advancement. This is a direct testament to the resilience of women who, despite the challenges they may face, can still bring great success to a business.
The Women’s Quotient are committed to ensure gender balance across all industries. They hope that the findings of their study will encourage businesses to better address gender diversity and use the power of inclusion to inspire greater performances.