female leader, women leading the way

Article by Sally-Anne Skinner, Chief Revenue Officer at Ogi

There was a unifiable hope that in 2021, women working together wouldn’t conjure up as much negativity as it does sometimes.

It would be wonderful to think that the concept of having a strong female workforce was no more extraordinary than that of having a male one, that having a female CEO was as normal as their male counterpart, yet even the briefest of searches on these topics has proven that this just isn’t the case, especially in the technology field.

The idea that women who work together must be rivals is trivial — there’s room for all of us (despite what statistics might indicate) and at Ogi, we have some of the best and brightest female minds working in fields they were told they would never be able to succeed in. Over time, they and all had to learn that the best way to feel empowered is to empower those around you. In this post, we will examine five ways you can empower your female workforce to be the best they could ever be.

Amplify the voices of your female workforce

One of the most important parts of professional development is making sure you have the confidence in what you do, however, for those who are constantly let down, pushed aside and undermined, this confidence can be quickly knocked down. Empowering our workforce, specifically our female workforce means we need to amplify the voices of those who may be silenced.

It’s so important to remember that this silencing isn’t always done out of malice, but sometimes out of unrecognised stigma. Deloitte’s Women in the Boardroom research stated that, in a board meeting of 100 people, only 15 of these will be women. In a room of 10 that means not even 2 would be women.

The conclusion here is that if you’re in a meeting where another woman is present, amplify each other – this can be as simple as backing one another’s opinions. Start a conversation where the two of you are the main participants, and allow both opinions to be heard, with respect, even if you’re on opposing sides of the conversation.

The simple act of speaking up isn’t enough, as a team it is our job to make sure voices are heard – you never know where, or who your next big idea will come from.

Support personal and professional development

The better connected your workforce the better they become within themselves. One of the most important things we can do to help empower our female workforce is to make sure we’re giving them the opportunities to connect with other people who can help them grow personally and professionally.

By making these introductions we can allow our workforce to build their own knowledge and resource pool, inspiring them, and hopefully those around them,  to then become a mentor for further members of the workforce later down the line.

What we want and need to avoid is the feeling of being undervalued, undermined and overlooked – and by supporting our workforce in ways THEY want and THEY need, we’re making sure their voices are heard, their development is valued and they as an individual are a key component of our business growth.

Close the pay gap

Ah yes, the one nugget of a conversation everyone wants to shy away from – we get it, talking about money is uncomfortable, but it’s also so important. Openness around salaries is integral to understanding the differences between pay, and finally being able to close the pay gap.

In industries where your salary is negotiable due to experience, etc. many people still do not feel confident enough to negotiate their wage, simply because they do not know their own worth. The easiest way to avoid this minefield is to allow open and honest conversations about salary, and that includes everyone.

Accept and embrace individuality and creativity

One of the most obvious things to be said is to make sure that there is an understanding that not every member of your workforce is the same. Almost all of us understand the nuances and gender bias’ and it’s our job as a collective to embrace the individuality of our employees.

Simply put: Do not expect your female workforce to adhere to stereotypical constructs of femininity and female employment. If her ambition is to get to the top, putting blockers in her way because “that’s not ladylike” will inevitably end up with her resignation. Allow your workforce to grow, in their way, with the help they need, and your workforce will thrive, regardless of their gender identity.

Food for thought

I think it’s always important to remember that the culture in which an employee grows will help mould them, both professionally and personally. If you have a culture in which everyone thrives, women and men alike, you will be moulding a strong and empowered workforce. But it’s important to take the steps needed to make sure your female workforce is on board.

As a final note, a TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) per say – empowering your female workforce is not as difficult as it seems, equal pay, equal opportunities and equal respect is all they’re asking for. Amplify their voices when they do something out of the box, making sure there are role models of every variety in your business will ALWAYS ensure your employees have someone to look up too.

Finally, it is important to establish these goals and recognise there will still be challenges ahead to face – it’s how you face them which will define you.

Sally-Anne SkinnerAbout the author

Sally-Anne is the Chief Revenue Officer at Ogi (previously Spectrum Internet) and has spent the last 23 years working in a variety of leadership roles in the residential telecoms sector, for brands including Sky, ntl, and Centrica.

Sally-Anne has extensive people management experience, having run large sales teams, and developed head office management structures to deliver against business KPIs.

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