How diversity is connected to engagement

Are companies with lesser women staff missing out?

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How diversity is connected to engagement

Organisations that have fewer women in their workforces are actually missing out. On what? On many positive outcomes, including higher job satisfaction, enhanced level of dedication, and even lesser burnout. Wondering how that is possible?

Here’s how:

More talent: Women form a significant portion of the population. In India, about 66 per cent of the population between the ages of 15 and 64, comprises women. By not employing more women, companies are actually depriving themselves of the talent and abilities of more than half the population. That is losing out on a lot of untapped potential. Potential that could have been put to good use to increase the productivity of the organisation.

More appreciation: A Gallup research spread over 40 years also analysed the responses of 27 million employees. The study revealed that women managers perform better than their male counterparts in the area of employee engagement. More respondents replied in the affirmative when asked whether someone at the workplace encouraged them to develop; whether someone had talked to them about their progress in the last six months; and whether they had been praised or recognised for their good work in the past seven days. And not surprisingly, all these respondents reported to managers who were women!

More creativity: When there are men as well as women in a team, different perspectives emerge. Women and men undergo different kinds of experiences and therefore, their points of view are bound to be different. This can lead to better ideas, inspire more innovativeness and trigger creativity.

More team participation: Teams that have more women members have been observed to have higher ‘collective intelligence’. In other words, the team as a whole is more socially sensitive, more empathetic, communicates better and participates equally in all the tasks if there are more women in it.

More performance: Studies conducted back in 2015, at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Union College specifically suggested that the more women a team had, the better they performed. As part of the study, tests were performed to see how well team members were able to read and interpret the emotions of others in the team. Women scored higher than the men in these tests.

More emotional intelligence: Women are more emotionally intelligent than men. Not only do they understand emotions better but they also manage emotions much better than men. In fact, they are able to sense even the hidden emotions in e-mails and letters. They are able to sense emotions of team members even if they are not physically present in front of them (working remotely). When there is so much of empathy and appreciation going around, the working environment definitely becomes better and brighter. There are less conflicts, and more of positive communication and happiness.

More customer connect: Presence of more women in the workforce highlights the diversity in the organisation for the customers. And when research proves that women strongly influence purchasing decision, it makes sense to have more women in the workforce. Customers definitely connect better with a diverse workforce. And what is more—globally, women spend approx. 40 trillion US dollars.

More savings: More women in the workforce also means more savings. That is because, the retention levels are higher in a diverse workforce. When staff churn rates reduce, lesser money is spent on recruiting and training new employees.

More profits: A study by Catalyst—a research organisation that accelerates progress for women at work—analysed the financial performance of various companies using three measures, namely return on sales (ROS), return on invested capital (ROIC), and return on equity (ROE). It was discovered that companies with the most women on their boards performed better (with 16 per cent higher ROS) than those that had the least women on their boards. They also have 26 per cent higher ROIC. A McKinsey report revealed that the most gender-diverse organisations are 21 per cent more likely to experience above-average profitability.

In spite of all the talk about gender equality, women are still under-represented in leadership positions, as compared to men. Even though studies have shown that women leaders are equally or more effective than men in senior positions, they remain a rarity in the top ranks, globally. Despite it being known that women are better at taking initiatives, adapt better to change, are more resilient, exhibit more stability, are more productive, and strong believers of self-development, corporates, worldwide, are still struggling to make their workforces inclusive. Only about 4.9 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies have women in leadership roles. According to the India Labour Market Update by ILO, the participation of women in the labour force in India, was merely 18 per cent two years back—way lower than that of men (82 per cent).

It is time for organisations to wake up to the fact that by including more women in their workforces, they can actually double their talent and improve their financial performance. Even men working in organisations that have more women have reported higher levels of job satisfaction, better engagement and less burnout. For all those employers who seek lower employee turnover and higher retention, the answer lies in hiring more women. If employers want their workforce to be more dedicated, to remain loyal to the company, find more meaning in their jobs and experience less burnout, there is again just one simple solution. Hire more women. This will also build an image of an inclusive employer, which, in turn, will attract the best of talent and lead to better employee engagement in the long run.

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