The recent focus on women in the workplace begs the question “what do women want from work?” After researching numerous articles and reviewing countless survey results, I came to the conclusion that women want the same thing as everyone else. No matter what your gender, age, race, ethnic background or religion, seems like most of us want the same things . . .
- to work for a trusted leader and company
- to be appreciated, recognized and rewarded.
- fair and equal treatment
- a feeling of purpose and being valued
- professional development and career opportunities
- work-life balance and flexibility
- competitive compensation
The order of importance of these items depends on a person’s individual circumstance and of course there are other things that play into the equation like benefits and physical work environment. But the list seems reasonable and actually quite doable. It makes you wonder why so many companies struggle with this very challenge.
So what can be done to better address these needs? Leadership. An effective leader, by their actions and engagement with employees, is the source and facilitator of most of the items on the list. In particular, a leader’s attention to fair and equal treatment of employees creates a level playing field that benefits everyone, women included.
It’s interesting that many companies are trying to solve their issues surrounding women and diversity by instituting new programs and resource groups. Although these actions may bring some benefit, the single most impactful action that can be taken to better meet the needs and wants of all employees is to develop more effective leaders.
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