In Culture

two women writing on glass panel

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted almost everyone. But, when it comes to the working world, women – especially women of color – took a harder hit. In December of 2020, women accounted for 100% of the jobs lost. It’s a trend that we saw throughout the pandemic, bringing inequality and disparities to light in a way that was impossible to ignore.

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Things like “motherhood guilt” are very real – for women and employers. Some businesses don’t want to hire women because they’re worried about what might happen if they decide to have children.

There’s also the pay gap to consider. Women currently make 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. If anyone was going to lose their jobs during the pandemic, it’s clear to see which group it would be.

Now, as the country begins to reopen, businesses need to make a strong effort to make hiring processes as equitable as possible. How can hiring managers attract women back to the workforce while working on mitigating the circumstances that caused them to have to leave?

In this post-pandemic world, equality is crucial. So many companies across the country are looking for qualified employees. By doing your part to reintegrate women into the workforce, you’ll help your business and set an example for what female employees deserve.

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Increase Diversity With Better Policies

Everyone knows diversity in the workplace is important, but have you ever really thought about why? It’s not just something that looks good from a public relations standpoint. Making diversity a priority encourages things like:

  • Creativity
  • Productivity
  • Collaboration
  • A comfortable work environment

Better diversity policies also help to attract top talent. To start a shift in your company culture, look at your current hiring process. Strip away any subconscious bias you might have and start recruiting in places you may not have considered before.

The interviewers you choose for prospective employees should be just as diverse as potential hires. Women of all ages and ethnicities want to feel represented and equal when they’re at a job, rather than just filling a role as a certain racial stereotype.

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Introduce Benefits Women (and People!) Really Want

To attract women back to the workforce, it’s crucial to understand that “traditional” benefits may not be enough – especially for parents who need support from their jobs. Research performed by the Center for Creative Leadership found that the most important benefits for women in the workplace included more flexibility and real leadership opportunities. Arguably these are benefits that are good for all people.

Women also want to find meaning in what they do. It’s not enough to hire women – especially minority groups – and not allow them to explore their passions and use their skills. That same research found that it’s more important for women in the workplace to feel like they’re doing something meaningful rather than just bringing home a paycheck.

By offering everything from a strong work-life balance to advancement opportunities that matter, you’ll attract more women who want to work hard and make a difference for your company.

Does that mean “traditional” benefits should be overlooked? Absolutely not. Everything from a quality healthcare plan to childcare options is still extremely important and relevant. But, tapping into what your employees will truly benefit from will make it easier to attract top-quality talent. Women will feel more comfortable applying for your positions when they know you offer flexibility and room to grow.

Offer More Flexible Options

If the pandemic taught us anything about the working world, it’s that remote work is possible for thousands of jobs. Even in January 2021, the majority of Americans were still working at home. Many employers are recognizing the benefits of letting their employees work remotely, whenever possible. Some of those benefits include:

  • Cost savings
  • An increased talent pool
  • Loyalty
  • Productivity
  • Reduction in absenteeism

By offering more remote job opportunities, many working mothers will be able to rejoin the workforce. Again, you’re boosting your talent pool and increasing your chances of hiring the best possible people for all positions. Some positions can be remotely filled in almost every industry, including healthcare. Nursing jobs like a clinical appeals nurse or health informatics specialist can be done from home and may attract more individuals to apply if they’re advertised that way.

Even if you aren’t able to offer fully remote positions, giving your employees more flexibility can make a big difference.

Educate yourself and your hiring managers on the best practices for recruiting and hiring a diverse group of women. You can choose to partner with talent firms or use some of these ideas to reintegrate women into the workplace yourself. Show that you don’t have a “pandemic gap year” bias by being public about your commitment to bringing women back into the workforce. In doing so, you’ll be a trailblazer for diverse working women all over the country.

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