Our country recently experienced a history-making election with the selection of Vice President Kamala Harris, the first female and woman of color in that highly esteemed position. The internet lit up with celebrations of breaking glass ceilings, and no matter who you voted for, this was a monumental moment for women and girls of all ages in our nation. Even with all this progress, it’s no secret that there’s a lack of women in leadership positions, including the retail industry.
At T-ROC, we embrace and prioritize women, knowing they bring a unique skillset and mindset that will benefit any organization. Most recently, T-ROC’s vice president of strategy and execution was awarded Volunteer of the Year 2020 by Women in Consumer Technology (WiCT), while I was honored with the Powerful Influencer Leadership Award at GCI Worldwide Corporation’s Extraordinary Women Leading Change in October 2019. But, if we’re all honest, we can do better when it comes to gender equality. Here are some ways to make sure women are moving forward and upward in retail as well as landing bigger and better jobs.
Just like diversity in general, retailers should constantly evaluate their company’s makeup. Ask yourself these questions:
T-ROC has women in C-suite and executive roles throughout the company’s international locations, as well as thousands of female employees. Diversity and inclusiveness of women shouldn’t be viewed as a trend, but a foundation of business. You’ll want to identify who’s being promoted and rectify any imbalance, and also re-focus on gender-neutral recruitment.
Once you’ve nailed down your company’s female dynamic, set and announce goals to further gender equality as well as promote ethnic representation in senior director level positions and above. That could mean creating short- and long-term growth programs that involve training, mentorship and networking to foster leadership and groom women for better opportunities.
Sponsorship programs can also aid in helping women climb the ladder faster and attain higher-level, higher-paying jobs. It also goes further than hiring women for only a few high-level or C-suite jobs; it means growing female talent in all supporting areas and levels.
Think about this. No one can better tell you what women need, more than women. Those growth groups that I just mentioned can be refined by creating subsets of groups comprised of women who can extend an honest look at what’s missing in the company and make sure that no one is left behind.
Promotion programs should work for all women, no matter their race or age. If only white women are being elevated to high-level positions, then you are not creating a diverse space. Creating women-focused groups in your company also offers the opportunity for diverse perspectives that can help typically-male-dominated C-suites better understand their target clientele and offer authenticity and organic connections with customers. Retailers should ensure that women are equally represented and included in all planning and decision making.
While the #MeToo movement and attention to other recent social issues woke up many businesses, we still have a long way to go. We can only succeed if we work on open communication. Even though it’s often uncomfortable, you can’t be afraid to talk about tough subjects from job inequality to sexual harassment. Retailers should have verbal or written surveys that ask employees about their in-office experiences and opinions on what the company could do better when it comes to equality. It’s an easy way for employees to voice concerns, especially if done anonymously. Also, a strong HR department that swiftly addresses and resolves issues is key to making everyone feel safe.
Lastly, many of the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are hitting women disproportionately hard. The pandemic has truly shone a light on working moms, now struggling to adapt to work from home while taking care of children who are not physically in school. Supporting your female employees by offering flexible work schedules, paid emergency leave and sick days, or even childcare options can help ease the strain.
We can’t afford to lose ground – retail should be a place for everyone to dream and achieve.
To learn more about Brett Beveridge, his company, T-ROC Global, his awards, speaking opportunities and upcoming ForbesBooks launch, visit www.brettbeveridge.com.
The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC Global) is home to four sales solutions companies that enable clients to fulfill all of their sales performance needs. The companies are: The Retail Outsource (TRO), Mobile Insight (MI), The Consumer Insight (TCI), and SYMBITS.
Reference: South Florida Business Journal