Championing Diversity in the World of CleanBy Dr. Felicia L. Townsend | June 10, 2020 << Back to Articles
Women hold over half (52%) of all professional-level jobs in America, yet they only make up 14.6% of executive officers, according to the Center for American Progress. Additionally, the global nonprofit Catalyst reported that African-American and Hispanic women make up an even smaller percentage of managerial roles. To fill the gender gap and create a more diverse, innovative workforce, championing diversity is key.
Companies with gender-diverse leadership teams foster creativity, innovation, and are 21% more likely to outperform on profitability, according to McCarthy Mentoring. Businesses greatly benefit with a greater range of talent and a broader world view.
More and more companies have begun to understand that a diverse work environment fosters continuous learning and innovation, ultimately strengthening their brand identity. From attracting new, qualified individuals and maintaining a happy workforce, implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts benefits everyone. In fact, 96-98% of large companies (above 1,000 employees) have invested in diversity programs. However, around three-quarters of underrepresented groups—including women, racial, and ethnic minorities—do not feel they’ve directly benefited from these programs, according to a survey published by the Boston Consulting Group in 2019.
The professional cleaning industry is filled with incredibly talented professionals at all levels. However, jansan companies struggle with the issue of turnover, averaging nearly 200% each year, as noted in a 2018 white paper by 4M Building Solutions. To retain the best talent and elevate women of all different backgrounds, consider implementing best practices that support women in the workplace, including:
Leading by example. It’s important for leadership to show employees they embrace DEI efforts. By using inclusive language, listening to and addressing employee concerns, and hosting events dedicated to improving the work culture, those in leadership positions can help employees feel more welcomed and included.
Providing helpful tools. From implementing a formal mentoring program to offering access to professional development opportunities, employers can help their employees grow their career, and in return, grow their business. In fact, McCarthy Mentoring reported that mentored employees are five times more likely to be promoted. Providing these types of tools is crucial in helping build a strong, reliable, and diverse workforce.
Promoting within. Women CEOs are twice as likely to have come from outside a company than to have been chosen internally, according to a Harvard Business Review report. Also, millennials are the most likely generation to switch careers with 21% having changed jobs within the past year, according to a recent Gallup report. Investing in employees by promoting within can lead to higher retention levels and increased employee morale.
Embracing flexible schedules. Women rank flexibility and work-life balance as a top intervention in the workplace. Some companies have started to embrace work-from-home policies, along with flexible time to accommodate women with growing families and other responsibilities.
Showing, not telling. Female representation in the C-suite is on the rise, but still has a lot of room for improvement. Women need to see themselves in the positions that they aim to achieve. Consider sharing stories of successful female leaders and always make it a priority to hire more diversely.
The acquisition and retention of women in the workplace should be a top priority for businesses and organizations worldwide. At all times, it’s important to take a close look at how we can all work together to create a world of clean that’s diverse, inclusive, and prosperous for all.
About the Author.
Dr. Felicia L. Townsend is the program director for the ISSA Hygieia Network. She can be reached at [email protected].