By Rachell Newburn
Approximately 40 percent of Collaboration’s clients are female business owners. While it’s true that many business owners, male and female, face the same struggles when it comes to growing their businesses, it is apparent that women are shouldering a much heavier load than men. This added burden on women has been highly publicized lately. Aside from harassment, however, women also face the cultural burden of high expectations and absolute perfection both at home and at the office. Unlike men, women are more likely to be subconsciously trained to learn how to juggle home and family life with their burgeoning businesses.
In light of this knowledge, the SLO Chamber of Commerce’s October Insight Studio luncheon focused on the advantages of inclusivity in the workplace, namely, ensuring women share a seat at the leadership table. Blake Irving, CEO at GoDaddy, Inc., presented his thoughts on how to change a company’s culture to empower women. Blake is a known champion of women in the tech industry, and he completely turned around the culture at GoDaddy by doubling the number of women hired at the company and promoting women to leadership positions. He also produced the documentary “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap.” Here are some of Blake’s thoughts on how to create a more diverse and inclusive environment at work as well as how to empower female employees.
Be Mindful of Your Language and Actions. Blake says that leadership tends to fall back on judging men for what they accomplished, and women for the style of the project deliverable and delivery. Generally speaking, employees (usually men) are applauded for working over 100 hours a week to get a project back on track and completed, whereas other employees (usually women) are not rewarded for keeping the project on track and on time.
Create More Diversity During Recruitment. Write job descriptions in a way that would catch the attention of a woman. Showcase a value of creativity, communication skills and teamwork. Also, always include at least one woman on the interview team for her valuable perspective.
Change Expectations. Blake says that GoDaddy realized they tended to lose female employees after the birth of their second child. To retain that brain power, set up the opportunity for mothers to work remotely. But be sure to change the company’s culture in a way that accepts that women working remotely are still very valuable members of the team.
Be the Catalyst. The leadership team needs to be the model for the rest of the company. Don’t be afraid to take on the tough conversations and ask the difficult questions to ensure lasting change. Constantly ask yourself: How can we be better?
The bottom line here is that change is hard! Blake says the best course of action is to be thoughtful, make the ask, adjust the discrimination and focus on inclusion all the time at every level. By creating a supportive and inclusive environment from the top, confidence will be built among underrepresented groups within your company.