Another Women’s History Month is upon us, and as it has become a popular tradition, many companies are highlighting the inspiring, hardworking, and talented women they work with daily. I, too, cannot pass up the opportunity to shout out the incredible women Bobbers that I am beyond proud to work, share, and laugh with as we build something incredible together.
I also want to shout out the work we’ve done as an organization to ensure that women are equally represented. I’m so proud that our organization is nearly 50 percent women and 50 percent men globally. This trend can be seen at all levels of seniority, from individual contributors to team leaders and c-levels. I deeply believe that having this equality and representation makes other women feel comfortable joining HiBob and recommending other women to become Bobbers. Plus, because we see the same split at all levels of seniority, it allows younger women professionals to be mentored by more senior women and have inspirational women leadership to look up to. I believe this is one of the best ways to empower women in the workplace.
While taking the time to acknowledge the women in our lives and the work that has been done to get us to where we are is always a beautiful thing, it’s also critical we ensure that celebrating Women’s History Month isn’t just something we tick off our to-do lists. Instead, we should use this opportunity to recommit to making DEI&B a priority year-round. When we do that, we are setting the foundation for a future where the equality and inclusion of women in the workplace are commonplace.
Ensuring equality with policies and benefits
In February 2023, we conducted our second annual study on “Women professionals in the modern workplace.” We wanted to learn more about women’s perspectives on their places of work and how these times of change have impacted them. While some of the insights highlighted the great strides made to ensure equity and equality, it was also clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done—especially around benefits and policies that support women’s unique challenges.
For example, while it is clear that widespread flexibility has allowed for a more even playing field for women in the workplace, there is still a missing piece when it comes to women-specific workplace benefits. When we asked if companies offered shared paternity leave (an essential benefit to achieve gender equality), the percentages were low.
- In Australia, 26 percent of respondents said their company offers shared parental or paternity leave.
- In the UK, 38 percent said their company offers the benefit.
- In the US, 32 percent of respondents said their company offers shared parental or paternity leave.
Those numbers are low. Here at HiBob, we created our HiBaby policy in an effort to ensure we’re doing our part. With input and feedback from our Bobbers, earlier this year, we launched a global policy that covers parents who give birth, parents who do not give birth, and parents who are adopting or fostering a child. The policy covers the amount of time taken off and additional support before parental leave starts, during the parent’s time away, and after they return.
Although some companies are starting to ask their people to come back to the office five days per week, we believe the flexible working arrangements are here to stay. And the data agrees. When asked what would convince someone to move to a new role, women were more likely to be influenced by flexible work models—49 percent said that the offer of flexible work would convince them to move to a new job compared to 41 percent of men.
Again, rethinking the office’s role and how it impacts different people’s well-being and productivity is key. Our hybrid work policy, for example, asks that Bobbers who live in a location where we have an office to come in twice a week. We do not tell Bobbers what days they have to come in; rather, each team decides what works best for them. This time is typically used for face-to-face meetings with their larger team, cross-functional meetings, or company-wide all-hands meetings or events.
Additionally, we give all employees 4 Bob Balance Days per year on top of their regular PTO allotment. These are special days in which the entire company takes a long weekend simultaneously–alleviating any worry of missing out on meetings or falling behind on work (no emails, no phone calls, no Slack messages allowed!). We also have a work-from-anywhere policy that allows Bobbers to work remotely from anywhere for up to two months per year.
We have found that all of these policies that are based on trust allow for semi-structured flexibility and have ensured that people can balance personal responsibilities like picking up kids from school, helping parents or other dependents, and caring for themselves.
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How HR leaders around the globe support women 365 days a year
Of course, there are so many other ways that companies are talking the talk when it comes to supporting their women employees. We’ve been fortunate enough to learn from some of our customers about how they support DEI&B beyond the month of March.
No matter how companies are supporting women in the workplace, it’s clear that you have to have an awareness mindset and take a people-first approach with KPIs to measure against. You cannot just operate on autopilot and hope that, naturally, things will improve and change. Additionally, it’s critical to think creatively, get input from your people, and keep an open mind to new trends and changes that can drive better equality and belonging.
The future is bright
While there is still a way to go to ensure total equality for women in the workplace, there have been some amazing achievements so far. Pausing and taking the month of March to recognize the strides made for women is an important reminder of our history and how far we’ve come. However, it is just as important to set goals and find new ways to offer women an equal playing field when it comes to their careers. As long as we keep thinking, keep talking, and keep putting action in place, we are well on our way to creating a future for our children where the standard is equality for all.
From Nirit Peled-Muntz
Nirit Peled-Muntz is the CPO of HiBob with vast experience leading multi-national companies through hypergrowth. She’s passionate about building and enabling inclusive and nurturing spaces where people and organizations can maximize their potential in dynamic, global environments.