Corporate America is still largely dominated by men. Fortunately, a lot of companies are trying to change that, starting with building more inclusive cultures.
We at Lever count ourselves among the ranks of companies who care deeply about diversity and inclusion, which is why we were so excited to chat with the founder and CEO of InHerSight, Ursula Mead, about what truly drives job satisfaction for women at work.
InHerSight is like a Glassdoor meets Match.com for women, where female employees can review companies based on 14 factors – from management opportunities to flexibility to salary satisfaction – and get matched with companies that have what they’re looking for.
With data from more than 90,000 women and counting, InHerSight has amassed an incredible amount of insight into what drives female satisfaction at work, including the top three predictors that a woman will be satisfied with her job.
Are you ready to hear them?….Drumroll please!…..
The top 3 predictors of satisfaction for women at work are:
1. The people they work with
2. Equal opportunities for men and women
3. Salary satisfaction
If women feel respected and comfortable with the people they work with, feel they have equal opportunities as their male peers, and that they’re compensated fairly, women are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. Meaning that if employers can up their performance on these three critical fronts, their female talent is more likely to be engaged and stick around for longer.
We spoke with two experts on diversity and inclusion, Yelp’s head of diversity and inclusion, Rachel Williams, and founder of interviewing.io – the anonymous interviewing platform – Aline Lerner, to find out what employers can do.
Hire the right people
For Aline, the key to creating a respectful, professional, and unbiased culture is to start with who you hire. “Sure, you can teach people things,” says Aline, “but they have to be fundamentally willing to be a part of an inclusive culture in order for it to thrive.”
This means designing an interview process that vets people for their culture fit (ability to relate to others, empathize, collaborate, etc.) in addition to their skills fit. It means not ignoring personality and temperament red flags when someone with all of the right qualifications walks in the door. Even one bad hire can turn an environment toxic.
Invite men into the conversation
When Rachel helped start WAY – a women-focused employee resource group – at Yelp, only women participated. When the group opened up the invitation to men, many women pushed back. WAY was their space. But inclusion is a two-way street, and it’s a lot harder for men to be advocates for women in the workplace if they’re not part of the conversation.
Opening up WAY – which includes activities like panels, lunch and learns, and trainings, and even has its own email chain and Slack group – to male participation helped the men at Yelp understand the challenges women are facing and created advocates in spaces where women don’t have a huge presence – like in their 83 percent male engineering team. “It puts a voice for female advocacy in the room, even when there isn’t a female physically present.” says Rachel.
Bring objective metrics to bear in promotion decisions
It’s not always the most deserving person who gets promoted. Even if they’re equally qualified, women are less likely to self-promote than men, notes Aline. And she reminds us, “Managers are only human. They may have an idea of who’s performing best, but they don’t have eyes and ears everywhere at all times.” This can sometimes result in the loudest voice in the room (or “that person who CCs you on a lot of emails”) coming across as the top performer.
Aline suggests taking measures to make your organization less political, and evaluating employees based on the value they’re actually bringing. It can be helpful to use a metric, like bug fixes for engineers or how many lines of code they’ve written, as proxies for performance. Of course, Aline notes, some bugs are easier to fix than others, and the amount of code an employee writes has to do with the project they’re on, so metrics should never entirely replace experience and observation. They are, however, a good sanity check and can signal to employees your intent to make promotions fair and equally accessible to all.
Make your compensation philosophy transparent
Rachel knows employees talk. And there’s nothing like discovering that you’re earning less than you peer to demotivate you. That’s why at Yelp, they look at compensation quarterly to make sure that people are earning what they deserve.
Aline advises to be as upfront about compensation as possible from the moment you extend an offer. That means explaining how you arrived at the offer that you did. If equity is relevant, explain what percentage of the company this means that they own, explain strike price, and the tax implications of different types of equity. “Everyone feels a little bit uncomfortable about compensation,” she says, “so the more transparency you can bring to ensure people you’ve thought through how to give them a fair offer, the better.”
The best thing about these results? Employers don’t need to move heaven and earth to make them happen. Respect, communication, and transparency will go a long way in creating a work environment that attracts and retains women.
To research companies or leave a review of your own to help more women find companies where they can succeed, visit InHerSight here.