Five ways employers can support female employees and freelancers
The future of work is here. And it’s female.
How progressive employers can embrace, support, and leverage a female-first labour-force.
At Freelancing Gems, we don’t just believe the future of work is female. We believe the future of work has arrived, and with it, the need for employers to better support their female employees.
The female-first, flexible, freelance labour-force has been revolutionising the way of work well before the pandemic uprooted our corporate desks. But it’s taken many employers a little longer to catch up.
The benefits of hiring women freelancers, contractors, and consultants are now well established. From boosting productivity to expanding networks, attracting diversity, and building inclusive teams, the sooner more recruiters and hiring managers jump on this gold mine, the quicker their organisation can benefit.
That’s why in this piece, we look at:
- What female empowerment truly means in the workplace, and the benefits
- What women want, as told by 200+ Australian freelancers
- Five ways employers can support and empower female employees
- The best tool to grow your female workforce
Definition of female empowerment
Empowering women in the workplace means placing them at the forefront of decisions about what they do, when, where, and how. Employers who embody this concept are the kind to support professional development, a healthy work-life balance, and autonomy over working environments.
Essentially, female employee empowerment occurs when the value females bring to the workplace is recognised, celebrated and leveraged.
Benefits of female employee empowerment
When women are empowered in and by the work they do, the benefits extend well beyond their immediate self. Colleagues, leaders, customers, and society reap the rewards, which include:
- Improved organisational culture: When women are in the office (or the virtual one), there’s proof job satisfaction, dedication, meaning, and enjoyment increase.
- Employee retention: When organisations centre on a diverse hiring policy, their employees cite greater loyalty and enjoyment.
- New perspectives: More diverse, female voices and perspectives result in heightened creativity and better outcomes for organisational and client goals.
- Increased GDP: The World Economic Forum found closing the gender gap in the office could increase Gross Domestic Product by 35%, with a fifth of that coming from the boosted productivity gender diversity brings.
- Widen the talent pool: Women bring a unique approach to the industries and workplaces they enter. From their passions and hobbies to unique skills and backgrounds, opening recruitment to diverse genders means more opportunities to find the perfect candidate.
What women want: Female empowerment needs
The world is changing at a rapid and unexpected pace, bringing with it a host of freedom, flexibility, female-first opportunities. We surveyed close to 200 female freelancers, side-hustlers, and business owners to understand what employers could do to help them truly harness these fresh possibilities.
Their needs centred on:
- Accommodating flexible work-life schedules
- Adopting remote/work from home arrangements
- Providing more exposure and networking opportunities (41%)
- Delivering professional development and business coaching services (40%)
- Investing in domestic support and programs, especially for mums
For more on the challenges and paths to female empowerment, download the Freelancing Gems Women on the Rise 2021 Report here.
5 tips to empower women in the workplace
With the above needs considered, how can employers practically implement female empowerment initiatives across their virtual and in-office workplaces? Here are five ways.
- Professional mentorship
Implementing mentorship, coaching, and development programs to help women to hone their talents and cultivate a holistic professional skillset benefits both parties. These programs can encompass professional development and workplace skills such as organisation, time management and career progression, with support delivered by an established female within (or external to) the organisation.
Ultimately, when women are empowered by opportunities to grow their knowledge, they can double what they bring to the table and triple their self-worth.
- Flexible work
Women wear many hats. They are mothers, caregivers, and breadwinners. This means when employers can offer flexibility in how, when, and where their female employees or contractors work, they can strike a better work-life balance. From hiring a freelancer to creating roles with built-in malleability, tailored working environments reap the benefits of more productivity, creativity, and enjoyment.
- Equal pay for equal work
Saying ‘goodbye’ to the gender pay gap and opting for remuneration that favours the value women bring to the table gives a massive boost to female empowerment. With research indicating self-employed men earn 43% more than their female counterparts, and one in five professional women suffering imposter syndrome, employers willing to pay at or above market rates for freelance female’s can help champion a shift toward pay parity across the board.
- Celebrate accomplishments
Acknowledging female employees’ success creates a culture of positive reinforcement, helping boost confidence, and affirm their perceived worth. From informal water cooler recognition to all-out celebrations for milestone accomplishments (bring on the cake, please!), employers who call out the big and small wins can easily make female empowerment part of every day in the office.
- Diversify leadership
You can’t be what you can’t see, and that is especially true for women in leadership. By placing more women at the top of their organisation, employers can amplify the female voice and equalise decision-making opportunities. Additionally, we already know women bring a diverse perspective to the table, which results in better outcomes for the whole team.
The best tools to empower women in the workplace
The best way to get to work achieving female empowerment is to start in the HR department. First step? Hire a female freelancer.
Female freelancers, consultants, side-hustlers, sole-traders, and business owners bring unique expertise, passion for what they do, independence, flexibility, and a fresh perspective to every employer.
To find the most highly skilled female freelancers at the top of their game, employers can create a Freelancing Gems Employer Membership tailored to their hiring needs. This exclusive membership enables you to post discounted job ads, browse available freelancers across industries, skillsets, and experience, and connect with up to 40 per month (and store their details for later)!
All benefits to help employers challenge the status quo, embrace the future of work and lead the female empowerment revolution through diverse and inclusive recruitment.
Women are leading the way toward a workplace that fits their needs and champions their value. They march to the idea, “Who needs to get a seat at the table when you build the table?” (as said by Leanne Kemp at our very first event). And the sooner employers listen and take serious steps to support female employees, the sooner they can enjoy the benefits of the female economy in their organisations.