Today I want to give you a strategy to increase productivity that you may have never considered: Address gender bias at your workplace.
The odds are overwhelming that your organization has gender bias. Perhaps it’s even on leaders’ radar already. But what you may not know is that your gender bias is costing you in many ways.
When ‘Helping’ Hurts Results
A “helping environment” is better for organizations— as long as everyone helps. Women, however, tend to spend more time helping others at work than men do. That makes it harder for women to achieve their own significant results: the outcomes that are expected of their job roles.
This often happens even with higher-level female employees. In your office, do women who are executives pick up tasks better suited to others — like taking minutes during meetings or organizing social events — because they’re the “office moms”? If so, you may not be getting the best out of some key employees. Think about how you can do more to help all employees delegate tasks that aren’t the best use of their time. Women will especially benefit.
Drowned Out at Meetings
Gender bias at your organization might also be keeping great ideas from being put into action. Writing in The New York Times, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant argue that women’s ideas are less likely to be heard. Women are more likely to be interrupted or simply not listened to in meetings. Is it any wonder some women just stop trying to share ideas? Sandberg and Grant even cite research that women are perceived negatively when they speak up more (the opposite is true for men). What can you do to help everyone be heard at meetings?
More Prone to Burnout?
Evidence is mounting that women are more affected by burnout than men are. One theory for why this is the case is that women more keenly feel the demands of “always on” work environments. It might sound counterintuitive, but you’ll actually increase productivity for all employees when you encourage them to disconnect more often.
Diverse Leadership May Increase Productivity
There’s another powerful way to increase productivity by addressing gender bias: Take a look at your leadership team. Women are still underrepresented among companies’ top leaders. But studies show that gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform their industry median. The consulting firm McKinsey writes:
While correlation does not equal causation (greater gender and ethnic diversity in corporate leadership doesn’t automatically translate into more profit), the correlation does indicate that when companies commit themselves to diverse leadership, they are more successful.
Your edge in business is the talent of your team. That’s why you simply can’t afford practices that keep gender biases from hampering individual and corporate productivity.