The goals of any business, large or small, should always include corporate/organizational pride, employee productivity and healthy profits.
How an employee feels about his or her work performance and work environment directly affects his or her productivity and job satisfaction, which in turn affects the corporate culture and ability to make money. Respected, valued employees make a company strong. Conflict or dissension or feeling under-valued or under-appreciated will always affect how work is performed. A low level of employee satisfaction allows for a less committed, less productive work-force.
I was hired into an engineering group as a non-engineer, and in my group, I was the only “professional” female. This was no secret – I have a Master’s degree in Public Policy and had worked for five years in the Legislative Department before I moved to a new assignment. However, every year, when it was time for my review, I was always downgraded for not being an engineer. Not being an engineer – not a secret! I was also asked to outline in writing every project that I had worked on the past year and what I had accomplished. None of my male co-workers was asked to do that. And my raise was pre-assigned before my review, usually low, though it never ended up being that low after higher management intervention.
I have always been a hard-working, over-achieving, team-playing, brand- and company- loyal person. I never expected special treatment – only equal treatment. I relied on my work ethic and strong sense of commitment, and when there was an absence of feedback, I recognized that my work was good. It was, however, discouraging and disillusioning. I felt undervalued and unappreciated and it affected my feelings towards my department. But, I loved my work and kept working through much of the behavior – and there was a lot of inappropriate behavior. In retrospect – I should never have been subjected to any of it and if appropriate corporate standards were in place, I would not have.
Female employees deserve respect, responsibility, approbation, and a work environment safe from sexual harassment, discrimination, innuendo and poor jokes. Female employees are employees, co-workers, and should never be subjected to overly familiar behavior. If a female employee is too friendly in an effort to get along and fit in, then the chances are pretty high that she will be taken less seriously. And if she is very attractive, her physical appearance is discussed and takes precedence over her qualifications and abilities. In many cases, male co-workers want to be viewed as attractive, “dateable” even though that has no place at work. If women maintain their professional and courteous behavior, then negative comments about them will be made.
It is in many cases it is a “lose-lose” situation for women at work.
What can you do to create a healthy work environment for all employees?
1) Create a no tolerance policy that prevents discriminatory speech or behavior towards all employees. Back up that policy with demotions, suspensions or termination. Get really serious about this.
2) Treat all of your employees with respect – value their contributions and let them know. It will balance out any criticism that you will offer. Companies and organizations need to value people who work hard, are committed and produce, above all other behavior.
3) Don’t engage in chatter about women employees that has nothing to do with their jobs and don’t encourage negative comments from others. Women are not “bitches” if they do not wish to engage in any way but about work. Work is not a field for conquest – it’s work!
4) Recognize that women are treated differently, less respectfully, and work hard to eliminate that from your company or organization. Stop male employees from talking over female employees or taking credit for their work (and the same for women as well).
Treating your employees equally, is a very important factor in creating job satisfaction for female employees. Equal pay for equal work and experience – why is that a problematic concept? If you are not willing to work for less than you deserve, why should anyone else – male or female?
I am not saying that you should treat your female employees better than your male employees. I am saying that you should make sure that your corporate climate does not treat female employees any different than your male employees.
Productivity, profitability and pride come from a healthy work environment. It is not hard to accomplish. It requires proper structure, accountability and training. Equality is the place where all good things can happen.
– Author, lecturer and Huffington Post columnist, Carlynne McDonnell has been a passionate and outspoken proponent of social justice and equality for over 25 years. Carlynne has a Master’s in Public Policy and has been working in the corporate, education and non-profit worlds for over 30 years. She has presented workshops and keynotes on women’s equality, leadership development, organizational strategy on the national and local level with women’s organizations, college and universities and for the United States Marine Corps. She’s the author of The Every Woman’s Guide To Equality (CLICK HERE to get your copy).
Did you enjoy this post? If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog. It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!). SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!