Although women are making strides in the corporate world, there is still work that can be done to level the landscape. If you’re looking for ways to promote change in your workplace, explore these five steps that can help build a work environment where everyone can advance and succeed.
5 Ways to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace
(Family Features) Although women are making strides in the corporate world, there is still work that can be done to level the landscape.
Research from Catalyst, a global nonprofit focused on empowering and accelerating women in business, shows the needle is moving, albeit slowly. In nearly 10 years, the number of women in senior roles in the United States increased just 1 percent. At Standard & Poor's 500 index companies, overall women’s representation is far behind: 5.2 percent CEOs, 11 percent top earners and 26.5 percent senior-level officials and managers. Less than 5 percent of senior level positions are held by women of color. Men still lead more than 95 percent of the most powerful companies in the United States.
If you’re looking for ways to promote change in your workplace, explore these five steps that can help build a work environment where everyone can advance and succeed:
Engage in programs that celebrate women of color. Tap into resources that honor women in leadership and foster growth for aspiring women leaders from racially and ethically diverse backgrounds, such as those available through Catalyst. The nonprofit offers a host of ongoing workshops, programs, trainings and consulting services designed to promote inclusive workplaces, along with events around the world. For example, the “Catalyst Skyline Takeover,” which is a visual realization of the international business community’s commitment to greater diversity, inclusion and gender equality in workplaces around the world, features dozens of global companies “lighting up” their buildings with the female symbol.
Assess and formalize pay scales. As numerous studies indicate, wage disparity is one of the most obvious signs of inequality in the workplace. A fair pay scale outlines specific responsibilities and corresponding compensation rates, and can be applied to roles across the board regardless of race, gender or other potential discriminatory factors.
Ensure growth opportunities exist. Leveling the pay scale is an important step, but ensuring equal access to the positions at the higher end of that scale is an essential supporting move. Simply saying you’ll pay a woman the same as a man in the same job falls short if all candidates, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity are not given the same chance to compete for more senior positions.
Implement mentorship programs. Positive role models can give future leaders the vision to dream big and the guidance to make those dreams a reality. Putting aspiring women leaders in close contact with other women who have attained success in their field helps set a course toward achievement. It also helps men to advance and develop unbiased leadership. Since the majority of business leaders are currently men, change for women can only be accelerated if all those in leadership positions work together.
Support parental involvement. Historically, the issue of parenting and the workforce has been dominated by discussions around maternity leave policies, but more recently that dialogue has evolved. Men, too, desire more time with their families, and through equal parental leave policies, workplaces can allow women and men within all types of family structures to thrive in their careers and at home.
Find more resources and recommendations for promoting workplace equality at catalyst.org.
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Often, employees enroll in medical insurance plans for protection against unpredictable events, sudden illness or serious health concerns that may result in expensive medical bills. Getting the most from your benefits requires understanding coverages and deductibles, as well as taking advantage of voluntary benefits, like dental, vision and hearing, to stay healthy and save money.
4 Ways to Stretch Your Health Benefits
Avoid surprises. About 91 percent of adults in the United States are confused about what their benefits cover, according to a recent Harris poll. The best starting point is to review your plan so you understand the care and services covered. If you have a high-deductible plan, you will need to pay for most or a percentage of the health costs until reaching the individual or family deductible. Be prepared to pay any copayments or deductibles the plan requires before receiving care. Also, before scheduling appointments, ask for a cost estimate for the appointment, tests or service.
Preventive dental and vision. Many voluntary plans, such as dental and vision, offer preventive exams, such as routine cleanings and vision exams, that are fully covered. That’s because these preventive exams help to maintain and improve overall health and help reduce health costs. Voluntary coverage is affordable and many plans offer added incentives. For example, coverage for LASIK, dental, vision and hearing benefits can increase from one year to the next for those who continue to enroll and use their benefits. Members could earn monetary rewards to use for dental, vision, LASIK, orthodontia and hearing benefits, care materials and services simply by using their benefits and keeping the benefits paid out under a specified amount.
Medical screenings. Routine health screenings, such as mammograms, immunizations, colonoscopy procedures and prostate cancer screenings, which may be covered fully or in part by your medical coverage, can help you stay healthy and lower health care costs.
Get paid to save. Many employers encourage employees to save money by matching a percentage of the amount the employee contributes to the plan. If available, enroll in a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account to set aside money to pay for health care costs.
Learn more about the questions to ask when reviewing benefit plans at ameritasinsight.com.
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(BPT) - If you feel like you're working more, but getting less done, you're not alone. Employees are working an average of 44 hours per week, of which only 29 were considered to be productive, according to a new survey of 1,200 full time office workers.
The recent "Productivity in the Workplace" study commissioned by Fellowes found respondents feel the key to productivity is making adjustments within the existing workday versus working more hours. Chatty coworkers top the list of productivity killers, with unnecessary meetings, cell phone disruptions and problems with office equipment also on the list. Respondents identify productivity boosters as cutting back on meetings, having more quiet spaces to work, schedule flexibility and more up-to-date technology.
Laura Stack, also known as "The Productivity Pro," travels the country helping organizations of every size improve their employee and team productivity. She shares the following tips to help people make the most of their hours in the office so they can get back to business.
1. Give disruptions the boot. Resist the urge to constantly check email and turn off email notifications. Put your cell phone on airplane mode, instant messaging on Do Not Disturb, and let calls go to voice-mail.
2. Speak up. Need something new in the office to help your coworkers and you stay more productive? It never hurts to ask. Office equipment, like printers and shredders, are now being made with advanced technologies that can make your job easier and help you get back to work.
3. Cut down on meetings. Ask yourself if you really need to have a meeting. Can you cover agenda items via email? Cancel meetings if face time isn't imperative and give colleagues more time to get their jobs done. Also, try to schedule one day a week on your calendar that is meeting-free.
4. Don't multi-task, single-task. When you do have a meeting, make sure you are 100 percent focused. You don't want to miss crucial updates and next steps on projects, it will only hurt your productivity later on.
5. Practice "on, in, around, or shred." Eighty-eight percent of people use paper in the office. Keep items you work with daily on your desk, those you work with weekly in your desk drawers, and those you work with monthly around your desk, in archives, or filing cabin Use an automatic shredder for everything else, like Fellowes' line of AutoMax shredders, which shred up to 500 sheets of paper at a time with the simple touch of a button -which helps avoid disruptions.
6. Break it down. If you have trouble getting started with a big task, break it into smaller chunks. Ask yourself, "What is the next action step I need to take to see progress on this project?" Then set a timer, leap into action, and focus on the next step.
7. Vary activities. For mental and physical alertness, vary sitting activities with standing ones, mental activities with physical ones. It will help prevent fatigue and keep your efficiency high.
8. Put some fun into your work. Turn boring tasks into a game. Make a deal with yourself that when you complete the activity, you will do something fun afterward - like taking a walk or having a piece of chocolate. By creating internal enthusiasm, you can stay focused longer.
9. Change of scenery. Try to work in a different setting once a week. Whether you work from home, the library, or a nearby park, new surroundings can inspire ideas and give you the energy you need to tackle your to-do list.
To learn more about Laura Stack and the "Productivity in the Workplace" study, visit www.fellowes.com or www.TheProductivityPro.com.
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