Other parts of this series:
When writing my last post on how digital affects employee experience (EX), I was reminded of a LinkedIn article written by my colleague Barbara Harvey. In the post, Barbara shares how digital tools were imperative to her workplace engagement and advancement—as well as enabling her to be more present as a working mum. As employers focus on bridging equal pay and female leadership gaps, digital transformation and fluency continues to play a key role in improving EX and empowering women.
Recent Accenture research identifies four digital-focused cultural drivers that aid in advancement for women. Companies that embody these drivers are creating space for an improved EX and more opportunities for women (and men). These are the differentiators that attract and retain talent.
Virtual/remote working is widely available and is common practice
The flexibility and “luxury” of working remotely is still seen as a bit taboo in some industry sectors. But research shows that technology— like the ability to log on remotely through tools like Microsoft Teams mobile —enables greater career progression for women. Accenture research shows that women on the fast track in their organizations are using more technology to help balance their commitments. Of women on a leadership track, 83 percent work a flexible schedule, which gives them more control over where and when they work.
Nissan Motor Corporation’s diversity efforts are a great example of progress for women in the predominantly male automotive manufacturing industry. Having achieved the goal of having women in 10 percent of management roles in Japan, Nissan is far ahead of the industry average (1.3 percent) and continues its commitment through initiatives such as the ability to work remotely up to 40 hours per month.
Employees are empowered with relevant skills training
Organizations that empower their people with more relevant skills training create an environment where women can advance more quickly. Of female employees surveyed by Accenture, just over half (56 percent) say their organizations provide relevant skills training. That number rises to 70 percent among women on a leadership fast track.
An example of a company offering relevant skills training for women is consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble. A company that walks their diversity and equality talk, one of Procter & Gamble’s priorities is encouraging all employees to “perform at their peak” to help lead the innovation, brand-building and digital transformation of their industry. Company leadership has dedicated itself to fostering this empowering culture with programs dedicated to achieving equal representation of women at every level and empowers employees with the skills and experiences needed to bring innovation forward.
Employees can avoid overseas or long-distance travel via virtual meetings
It’s not always easy to manage life around work travel—regardless of your life status and if you are playing another more critical role at home as a caretaker. Providing the option to attend meetings and training virtually gives flexibility to all employees. As a bonus, it’s also good for the company bottom line and the environment.
Employees can work from home on a day when they have a personal commitment
Raise your hand if you’ve had to schedule a dentist appointment around your work schedule or had to stay home because the only time the plumber or cable person could arrive was between 9 and 11 a.m. Or if your significant other has had to travel, meaning you had to be on school pick-up duty.
Companies like Nissan and biotech corporation Genentech provide a flexible work framework for when life happens and also offer on-site childcare facilities. Over the last decade, Genentech has built a culture where women represent more than half (53 percent) of employees, with almost half as managers and officers of the company.
These four digital cultural drivers show an organization’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, gender equality and flexibility—all key components to the employee experience and competitive advantage. Digital brings flexibility to the workplace, not only for women, but for the entire workforce. It has the power to bridge the equality gap that is long overdue for closure.
For more insights on employee experience transformation in FS, download “The Employee Experience as a Competitive Advantage” or connect with me here.