Flexible working needs to be available across the organisation, with people creating employment systems that suit their need for work-life effectiveness.
Retaining talent is a challenge across the board, but specific practices need to be engaged to make workplaces attractive to women. Grant Thornton’s IBR data shows that providing flexible working opportunities is the third-most common action being taken by businesses to increase gender diversity globally.[i] And research by the Boston Consulting Group found that offering flexible working opportunities is the most effective policy for improving gender diversity, with 51% of respondents ranking it among the most effective measures.[ii]
Vandana Saxena Poria OBE FCA, a disruptive thinker and talent ecosystem enricher based in India, is keen to re-imagine workplaces that suit all employees, not just the dominant majority. “Women only got the vote 100 years ago. Women’s views in the workplace were not counted until much more recently. Everything was set up to work for men: our office hours, expected performance levels and working practices were built to serve a different society. Unfortunately, while society has changed, these factors have not... Survey after survey has shown that a balanced homelife contributes to everyone in the workplace performing better.”
Janki Lalani Gandhi, managing director, Lincoln International LLC in the US, says businesses need to allow employees to design working practices that fit their needs. “From a practical perspective, the company has to be willing to evolve with the employee as her life evolves. To ensure that the best talent feels empowered – and this relates to both women and men – both the employee and the company have to be committed to an ongoing conversation about balance. The company should regularly consider its culture and programmes, so that professionals feel they can succeed at work and at home.”
Design your business’s Blueprint for action: