During the recent online Women in the Workplace Forum sponsored by the Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) Women in Series, leaders from a variety of industries and organizations dialogue about the impact of COVID-19 on women in the workplace.
The discussions centered around data collected by Leanin.Org and McKinsey & Company.
“The central finding of the 2020 Women in the Workplace report by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co., the largest study of its kind, was that more than one in four women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce. For the past six years, this study has revealed slow but measurable progress for women at all levels of management.”
Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19 but, specifically, the study indicated that the major impact was on working mothers, senior-level women, and women of color.
Therefore, with all the typical complications and ceilings that these groups have had to overcome, COVID has pulled the rug out once again.
Organizations should embrace approaches to address the root causes of this flight from the workplace—the negative impact this can have on the economy is staggering.
Below are some considerations and/or actions that the forum leaders thought were important. There were many more but here is a quick list.
- This is not just business as normal – the worst thing is to recognize that nothing has changed
- In the past, compartmentalizing was key for the separation of home and work but now we realize that it’s all blending together
- Companies need to think about the norms of working
- Diversity needs to be owned by the CEO and the leadership team – must be actively involved in promoting diversity efforts
- Accountability is key – Metrics will tell the story
- Laser focus on the first run – promotions to that first manager position – data very clear that is key for an ascent to leadership (Use Metrics to ensure it is happening_
- One current barrier includes the fact that leaders are promoted not only on attributes but also due to the relationships forged with other leaders
- Sometimes need to put “your thumb on the scale” to make it fair for females and minorities
- Talent Calibration Meeting – a great way to expose unconscious bias; Need to have diversity on the slate
- Talent Management and Leadership Development initiatives need to address the specific needs of woman and minorities
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Author: Patricia Dammann, VP Programs–Institute of Organization Development, offering online OD Certification Programs. She can be reached at Patti@instituteod.com
Reference: WSJ Woman in Series—Women in the Workplace Forum (September 30, 2020) https://womenin.wsj.com/