Gender equality remains a topic at the forefront of discussion in 2016. A recent example being the headlines praising Robin Wright for demanding to be paid as much as her male House of Cards co-star.
Some dismiss Wright’s claims as petty considering how large the Hollywood starlets’ paychecks are, but gender inequality is not unique to Hollywood. The importance of gender equality in the workplace has been a trend throughout 2016, as well.
The Buy Up Index ranks companies and their brands and products based on the company’s commitment to gender equality. So what exactly earns a company a high rating – in other words, what makes a company great for women? While looking through the rankings, a few things emerged as must-haves for a company that wants to improve gender diversity and be an employer of choice for women.
Here are 6 of them.
Paid Parental Leave Policies
This seems like a given, but without a federal mandate requiring companies to provide paid parental leave, it’s on employers to support new parents in the workplace. Unfortunately not every company does, but those that are committed to treating their employees fairly understand the necessity of paid leave for new moms – and dads.
Paid leave allows moms to take the time to recover and bond with their new child without sacrificing their pay check, which has countless benefits for mom and baby alike. Great places to work have found paid parental leave makes a positive impact on talent retention, as new moms with access to paid leave are far more likely to return to their pre-birth employer.
LEARN MORE: 5 Parental Leave Trends You Need to Know About
One factor the Buy Up Index examines is the percentage of the management team that is women and how many executive officers are female. The presence of female leaders provides role models and mentors for female employees who are hoping to succeed at that company. There is also a business case for female leaders – a report from Credit Suisse proposed that gender diversity provides a better reflection of the consumer as well as a better mix of leadership skills – all of which contribute to stronger performance.
More female leadership might be the end result, but what’s equally important is building a female leadership pipeline. If you want to be a great company for women, you have to address the management and evaluation hurdles that may inadvertently penalize women and other working caregivers.
Emphasis on Work-Life Balance
Work-life integration is important for all employees, but it can be especially difficult for women when household responsibilities often fall to them. In fact, two-thirds of moms feel like their partner does less housework and chores than they do. Companies that offer perks like concierge services or grocery delivery save employees time and let them focus on what matters most.
READ: Is Giving Up on Work-Life Balance the Key to Success?
Child Care Assistance
Child care is the largest household expense for most American families, and without assistance some women feel obligated to leave the workforce rather than deal with the stress of finding and being able to pay for quality for child care. With child care subsidies and flexible spending accounts, employers can remove some of the anxiety about the cost of child care for their employees. Providing resource and referral services through a program like Care@Work helps simplify the process of finding and hiring child care, removing a layer of stress from working moms.
And Back Up Care, Too
Emergencies happen, but that doesn’t mean employees should have to miss work. Backup care helps employees with children and aging loved ones combat stress and remain productive as they don’t have to scramble to find a caregiver or take off from work. And if it’s partly subsidized by the employer, that’s even one less thing for the working mom to fret about when last-minute care needs arise.
READ MORE 15 Times Working Parents Need Backup Care
Flexible Working Arrangements
Whether it’s a condensed work week or working from home once a week, the flexibility to work where and when you want is another perk the Buy Up Index ranks highly for the benefits it presents for women.
- Backup Care Tales from a Care@Work Insider
- Introducing Care@Work - A New Approach to Family-Care Benefits
- 101 Reasons to Care About Employees' Lives Outside of Work
- What Your Employees Need When Their Parents Need Care
- What You Can Learn From the Best Places for New Dads to Work