Employee turnover is at a crisis point for women, according to recent survey results from the Network of Executive Women. While focused on women executives in retail and consumer goods, the study polled 3,600 male and female employees, and incorporated data for more than 400,000 staffers at eight corporations. Responses revealed women across all levels are more prone to exit, however, the rate at which female first- and mid-level managers leave is nearly double that of males. Among senior and C-Suite execs, women leave at a rate nearly four times that of men.
Job attrition costs US companies around $536 billion per year, according to Nashville-area research firm The Work Institute. That amounts to approximately 33 percent of base pay per employee. So, in addition to the obvious gender concerns, these numbers clearly indicate that the loss of women from the workplace is pretty darn costly.
Related Article: 5 Ways to Empower Women in Your Workforce
For those looking to improve statistics at their own company, female supervisors share four tips they recommend for making your office a place women won’t want to leave:
1. Offer paternity leave - It may sound crazy, but Rose Manjarres, senior vice-president of digital and technology for CBRE, says offering men time off can help women stay. She suggests companies “offer generous parental leave for both men and women, so the obligations of parenthood are shared equitably.” In other words, if both partners can care for the child, women may not have to quit. “By including men and encouraging them to take parental leave,” Manjarres continues, “it would lessen the stigma of taking time off and would help eradicate the motherhood bias.”
2. Let them be women - Many times, historically, women in business have been forced into stereotypes. Sam Radocchia, co-founder of blockchain provider Chronicled, tells the story of a career coach who told her to ‘deepen her voice’ in order to gain respect from male counterparts. “It felt cheap,” she says, “It felt wrong...If you want to retain female employees, you need to break the mold.” In other words, instead of expecting women to align with one stereotype or the other, establish a corporate culture where they can simply be themselves.
3. Reevaluate corporate benefits - Radocchia explains that men and women have different needs: Men never have to burn sick days for menstrual issues, for example. Does your employee benefits plan bear these differences in mind? “There are so many constraints and companies should take these constraints or core drivers into account when considering ‘perks’ or compensation packages,” she explains. Look at the metrics regarding who takes advantage of employee benefits and who doesn’t. If the numbers break down by gender, ask female staff which extras they’d like to have instead.
4. Treat them like equals - This should be a no-brainer, but in a workforce where women only earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man, you’d be surprised. “Women need to be provided with the same leadership opportunities as their male counterparts and provided equal pay for equal work,” Manjarres says. “We need to provide them with mentors and, more importantly, sponsors who will give them visibility, will talk about their accomplishments behind closed doors, and provide them with stretch opportunities essential for ensuring professional development and career advancement.” In other words, give them the same chances, encouragement and pay that you’d give a male employee.