5 Ways to Retain Women in the Workplace

© AdobeStock
Covid drove many women from the workplace. Here’s how to get them back—and keep them.

Gender parity at work is an often-discussed subject, but unfortunately at present, it is progressing at a snail’s pace. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020, it will take almost another century to achieve gender equality. According to McKinsey Global Institute, only 39% of the global workforce is constituted by women, and they constitute approximately 54% of job losses. During the early worst points of Covid-19, women were hardest hit among the millions of workers who were furloughed, and bore the brunt of the economic fallout caused by the pandemic.

Vuram believes in the value of diversity and equality, and beyond realizing diversity and equality through gender and race, we believe in the importance of diversity of thoughts, perspectives and innovation. At Vuram, we foster an organizational culture that provides equal opportunities regardless of a person’s gender, designation, socio-economic background or race.

Interestingly, since Vuram was founded in 2011, women have outnumbered men at the company, and women recently reached 54.7% of our workforce, an all-time high. We have seen returning mothers, women who rejoin post a break, all contributing to sustaining the balance. While we don’t have any secret sauce for fostering a conducive environment for women, we do know some of the most critical factors that could make our women Vuramites (the demonym we use to refer to our people) spring back to their work-life despite challenges.

Here are 5 key factors we believe are important:

Provide Learning Opportunities

Continuous learning is key to success. We ensure all our people are learning new things or enhancing their existing technical skills. Imbibing new skills and nurturing them translates into enhancing their leadership abilities, regardless of gender. Women are great listeners, capable of multitasking, take better and bold decisions, and focus on teamwork.

Vuram has a dedicated learning team that ensures the highest quality of training for all-around development of individuals and organizational growth. The training sessions and various fun activities like continuous learning programs, daily technical quizzes and puzzles help with the purpose. After all, the way forward is to learn, unlearn and relearn in today’s changing world.

Engage Often

It’s been more than a year since the novel Coronavirus was declared a pandemic, and we are still recuperating from the sudden disruption of our lives. The massive shift to remote working made it difficult for organizations to collaborate. The corporate world was shaken up.

Several studies suggest that women are under more stress during the pandemic. At Vuram, we ensure teams from all business units connect periodically to understand their concerns. Casual, virtual meetups along with family members help in creating a truly family-friendly atmosphere. Other initiatives include fun Fridays where there are virtual quizzes, puzzles, games, chat sessions and birthday celebrations across the global units. Special weekend events like magic shows, virtual fancy dress parties, calligraphy sessions, Zumba sessions, cooking and baking classes could be enjoyed virtually from home with family members. 

Offer Flexibility

One of the top reasons for women to leave the workforce is lack of a proper work-life balance. Something that is very much well-received by every member of the Vuram family and ingrained in our work culture is our emphasis on one of our core principles: freedom with responsibility. Here, flexibility is embraced with responsibility; a learning environment where you are never judged is something that motivates women at Vuram to take on more responsible positions. Being comfortable and happy in the workplace encourages them to stay committed for a longer time and likely to recommend Vuram to others.

Conduct Regular Surveys

By running employee surveys regularly, organizations can understand what employees need the most, what factors contribute to their success and what puts them off, how they feel working with teams, and above all, their state of mind.

Our People Team conducts several surveys at Vuram. Being spread across the world, we want to make sure that nobody feels isolated. We want to support our people’s mental well-being as much as possible, offering much-needed paid time-offs or arranging expert, professional counselling, if really needed.

People Over Policies

Following an empathetic approach and devising policies based on people’s needs increase job satisfaction. Interestingly, a Glassdoor survey reveals that more than half of the job seekers—that is 60%—are attracted to perks, which are the main driving force to apply for their jobs. Nearly 80% prefer benefits to increases in paychecks.

Some of the benefits that are appealing to women could be family health insurance covers and paid maternity leaves. Infrastructure like the wellness rooms where people can catch a break during their workday and lactation rooms for nursing mothers, and initiatives such as paid membership fitness programs, yoga classes, daycare and subsidized meal plans can significantly improve people’s experience at an organization.

Being empathetic is key to a happy workplace and happy people. This helps the People Team and management understand what makes a positive work environment for its people. Rather than adhering to strict policies, adapting to the changing times can help retain passionate and creative minds.

Get the StrategicCHRO360 Briefing

Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CHROs in every industry