With August being woman’s month in South Africa, we are celebrating what 20 000 women started back in 1956. To have women in senior decision making roles within the workplace was completely uncommon just a couple of decades ago. We salute the many strong women that have paved the way and made it possible for women today to achieve whatever they set their minds to accomplish.
Thankfully, the workplace has changed considerably since the 1950’s, and we now find ourselves in the 4th Industrial Revolution where virtual reality and artificial intelligence is shaping the way we work and communicate with one another. Research indicates that we are tending to lose touch with meaningful connections and relationships.
Looking at the Customer Experience (CX) predictions for 2018, the trend shows that clients and customers alike are looking for more meaningful relationships from and within the workplace. There is a need for personal and authentic connections. These are qualities are seen as more feminine, qualities like empathy, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution.
With this in mind, we take a look at four obvious benefits of having women in the workplace particularly in a digital era.
Customer Relationship Forming
Women are naturally inclined to form relationships with the customers they are in contact with through work. Relationship building gives them a better understanding of who the customer is and what their particular needs are. This knowledge not only enables the company to better communicate with the customer but also how to tailor and adapt the product or service offering in line with customer needs. They are more likely to nurture a client relationship, even in a digital space. Better offering and targeted communication mean an increased return on investment for the company.
Creating Healthy Office Environments
A healthy, positive office environment creates higher employee satisfaction and builds loyalty. Sharing cake on someone’s birthday or dressing up to celebrate certain holidays builds team morale and spirit. Women are more likely to initiate these occasions than men. Events like these bring co-workers together and encourage positive, healthy office environments. They are more likely to collaborate with co-workers and with virtual teams coming together from all parts of the globe, having women team members can help facilitate that collaboration.
Insight and Diversity of Thought
A recent survey indicates that SA women account for 47% of online shopping. Companies ignore this amount of buying power by women at their peril. Companies need to know how to reach them effectively. Having women in decision-making roles provides insight into how different thought processes work when making purchase decisions. Notwithstanding the research conducted by McKinsey (2017) shows that gender-diverse leadership in companies is 21% more likely to produce above-average profitability, while ethnically and culturally diverse leadership is 33% more likely to outperform.
Generally, women are still the primary caretakers of the household, which means that their entire life is not centered on work. With the great strides being made towards flexible and part-time working arrangements with employers, women are more likely to understand that people have personal needs and that it is possible to be highly productive and work flexibly. This empathy with co-workers from senior management will create loyalty and increase retention for employers.
Having women in the workplace is a no-brainer that benefits any office environment through fostering loyalty amongst customers and employees. For a world that is moving quickly towards digital workspaces, it is imperative to have this diversity.
About the Author: Phillipa Geard Founder and CEO of RecruitMyMom.co.za. RecruitMyMom is a national online recruitment agency that matches forward-thinking employers to skilled women seeking part-time and flexible employment including lawyers, accountants, marketers, digital experts, office support and many more.