#NESDiversity | It’s 2018, and yes, workplace inequality is still a major issue. Whether you think gender inequality affects your company or not, it’s essential that you work to promote equality on your sales teams because it’s not just the right thing to do, it’s also extremely healthy for your bottom line. Keep reading and I’ll show you how...
1. Remove barriers to full and equal participation in the workplace.
This is probably the most important and most complicated issue when it comes to advancing equality on your sales team. A major reason for most of the other issues caused by inequality in the workplace is institutional barriers that prevent women from reaching their maximum potential. And, sometimes it’s not easy to define what those barriers are because they aren’t readily apparent. So, it’s important to take stock of things that might be holding women back such as the company culture, lack of access to leadership roles or blatant discrimination.
2. Bring women up to speed after a long absence from the workforce.
About 30% of working-age women still elect to be stay at home moms at some point in their child’s life. This results in extended absences from the workforce, and it can make it difficult for women to return to work once they feel their families are ready. A lot can happen during the time that a woman stays home to care for her children. In just a few years, technology and best practices can rapidly change, which leaves many women feeling left behind when they are searching for jobs. Theoretically, these women would have continued to climb the corporate ladder had they decided not to stay home, and that needs to be taken into account. It’s important that women returning to the workforce be provided with training that updates them on everything they’ve missed. This will ensure their success and that of the team.
3. Eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender, particularly in relation to family and caring responsibilities.
It’s understandable that sometimes we have to work late to meet a deadline, but managers have to remember that women are often the primary caregivers (working or not) and they simply need to get home. Eliminate penalties (real or perceived) for women who have caregiving responsibilities. Being a more flexible employer with respect to family obligations will make for a successful sales team, because they won’t feel like they’re being pulled in multiple directions.
4. Encourage access to leadership roles.
Provide a fast track to leadership roles for capable women who have been absent from the workplace and would have otherwise been in top management positions. I’m not advocating that people who are unqualified should be handed leadership roles, but we have to take into account all of the underlying factors that may keep women out of the top positions in the company.
5. Equal Pay
Women earn about .80 for every dollar that men do. That .20 creates a pretty big gap in pay. Equal pay for equal work is a phrase we hear repeated often when gender inequality in the workplace is discussed. There are many factors that cause this and they are hard to pin down. But, taking a comprehensive look at your sales team’s commission and bonus structure could be the first step in closing the wage gap at your company.
We are far away from the days of women being seen as qualified only for secretarial positions. Women have contributed a great deal to corporate America and will continue to do so as long as they are encouraged and supported. Creating a culture of mutual respect on your sales team will go a long way in making sure that everyone is productive and the company is profitable. A zero tolerance policy that completely forbids and penalizes discrimination will lead to a higher performing sales team.
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