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What Every Man Can Do For Gender Equality At Work

What Every Man Can Do For Gender Equality At Work

I’m a man, and I’m a feminist. Over the years, this word has developed a negative connotation. It’s become synonymous with man-hater. Even some women don’t like to be called feminists. As a guy, I am definitely not a man-hater or a woman-hater. I believe in gender equality, not only at home, but in the workplace. That means equal opportunities for both men and women. Before you say, “Hold on just one minute, men have had it too good for too long, it’s women’s turn.” Or, “Oh no, not another guy-bashing post about how we should feel guilty because men make more money,” I encourage you to read on. As a guy, I feel like it’s an obligation to not only support women, but also help support men support women. Here are five ways all men can take action to support gender equality in the workplace.

1. Lead by example

Spread the word about gender equality in the workplace. It doesn’t mean you have to hold rallies every Friday afternoon by the water cooler, but start talking about it! Talk about it with both men and women, and listen to both sides. You could even start a committee to ensure both men and women are being fairly represented. Not only can you be an avid supporter of women in the workplace, but you can be a supporter of men, too!  Men also want to be heard and validated.  Perhaps you could encourage men to take advantage of paternity leave where available. When you see men or women being treated unfairly, speak up about it. Other people probably are thinking the same thing, even though they don’t say anything.

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2. Ask for help

As a guy, it’s not always easy to ask for help. I have no problem asking other women for help! When we take some of the ego way from the workplace, both men and women can support one another—which is crucial for workplace gender equality. By asking for help, men show women that they too are vulnerable. The more women see men this way, the less stigmatizing it will be for women when they ask for help. Men have needs too, but they might not communicate it was well. The more men communicate well, the more women won’t be seen as the only ones who have needs.

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3. Share the workload at home

Men need to step up and volunteer to do more. It’s unacceptable that women do more household work, despite working equal hours. USA Today points out that, on average, women spend two hours and 10 minutes doing household work while men only spend one hour and 17 minutes. Too often we expect women to push for gender equality, instead of looking at reasons why they don’t have it already. More important, we fail to examine how men exacerbate the problem. So guys, learn how to cook, clean, and change a diaper.

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4. Be aware of gender stereotypes

We often use different gender-based words or phrases to describe the same behavior. For instance, a man might have a bad temper so we describe him as “bold,” “strong,” or a “know-it-all.” That same behavior exhibited by a female is often described as “bitchy,” “difficult to work with,” or “lacking patience.” Both men and women are guilty of this. We’ve been conditioned to speak this way. But it’s a huge obstacle to gender equality. By simply being aware of stereotypes in language, we can point out the behavior for what it is, instead of resorting to gender stereotypes.

5. Empathize with women

Men need to put themselves in women’s shoes. The more men understand and experience struggles that women go through, the more likely they are to stand up for equal rights in the workplace. Although men and women have varying needs, we are more alike than different. The more we all realize this, the more we can see both sides of the gender equality debate. Yes, men have a lot of work to do but, as an individual man, I too have a lot of work to do. If one man can empathize with the opposite gender, many men can. As we continue to progress as a society, my hope is that both men and women better understand one another. Because the truth is that both men and women struggle in the workplace. The more we experience and share our struggles, the more we won’t see each other as so different and the more we can inch closer to gender equality. My hope is that some day gender equality will become the definition of the workplace, rather than an ideal the workplace should have.

Featured photo credit: Multi-Ethnic Group of People Working Together via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

More to Motivate Your Team

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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