The recent study from LinkedIn, “What Women Want at Work,” inspired me to do some serious thinking about women in the workplace as well. I believe that increasing our support for “what women want” is not only the right thing to do, but is smart as a business strategy, too.
Consider these findings reported by Meghan Casserly in Forbes:
1. According to the 2013 State of Women-Owned Business Report from AmEx Open Exchange, a surprising number of today’s (and tomorrow’s) jobs lie in the hands of women. In particular the hands of female founders whose businesses have trailed only massive publicly traded firms in job creation since the recession began to devastate the market in 2007.
2. By increasing the number of women-owned private businesses, the job market’s prospect of continued recovery is brightened. The rate of growth in the number of women-owned enterprises over the past 16 years is 1.5 times the national average.
3. In 2013 it is estimated that there are more than 8.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing 7.8 million people.
Clearly, there has never been a greater era for women-owned businesses and for womens’ careers. The LinkedIn research (and infographic, below) reports the following:
–Seventy seven percent of women worldwide consider their careers to be successful so far. One of the standout regions in this regard is India, where 69% of women consider their careers successful. (We interviewed one of these remarkable executives, Suchitra Mishra, in one of our recent Forbes columns, in fact.)
–The definition of success for women is evolving. Sixty-three percent currently define success as achieving work/life balance, an issue only 39% viewed as “success” just 5-10 years ago.
–Fifty-six percent equated high salary with success 5-10 years ago. Only 45% would make that correlation today.
Eighty percent of women consider a flexible work environment vital for future generations. Seventy percent consider greater presence of women at senior executive levels to be essential as well.
– A full 74% of women, worldwide, believe it is possible for today’s career women to “have it all” – a fulfilling career, successful relationship and opportunity to successfully raise children.
My own paired leadership partner at Fishbowl, Mary Michelle Scott, is an excellent example of the kind of innovative thinking women leaders provide. At my invitation she has provided her own intriguing response to the LinkedIn survey to create a “Third Alternative” that we would like to share with you today. We are eager to hear your thoughts on this topic as well.
“I thank Linkedin for creating a professional community where skills and experience lead out. Regarding the Infographic, I think that women really want is some new open possibility questions that create meaningful surveys. It is also time for business leaders to get on board regarding what every human being deserves in the workplace.
We all deserve to work in environments that encourage the growth and development of all people, fair compensation and opportunities for everyone on the team to develop meaningful careers and lives. When we seek out the best in all people, this naturally brings out the best in us and builds not only profitable companies but places people actually enjoy coming to work. When leaders take care of what everyone deserves at work and add the 7 Non-Negotiables (Belief, Loyalty, Respect, Gratitude, Trust, Commitment and Courage), then you can achieve great success in delivering the things women want.”
I am personally indebted and in awe of the new level of balance, creativity and energy women are bringing to the playing field in today’s workplace. In this light, Mary has joined with me in proposing The Third Alternative for achieving the objectives not only that women want, but that men, community members, customers and all participants in a business ecosystem are wanting as well:
What is best for our Company, Community and Customers?
As our additions to the issues LinkedIn has highlighted, here are the initiatives we believe will shape the future for men and women and the world of work:
- Work balance matters to everyone. Let’s get honest and real. Many mothers and fathers alike would like to make it home at a reasonable hour to be with their families and friends.
- Educational institutions must evolve to remain relevant. We keep hearing that many women don’t graduate in the “right career fields”. Students today are carrying $93billion+ in student loan debt and earning less than other generation.
- Less really is the “New More”. 40% of small businesses are owned by women and they will continue to develop, grow and soar without the need for Venture Capital funding or external boards. Many small business owners have never even heard of the term “VC”. They receive “their funding” when they develop, create and sell something. We have always believed if you can’t sell without money – you still can’t sell it with money. No amount of education, marketing messaging or funding can make an inferior product offering fly.
- Game Changers come in all shapes, sizes and genders. They are light years ahead of the curve ball. They transcend all the things that are no longer relevant in business.
- Some things are timeless and never go out of style. Respect, Belief, Trust, Loyalty, Commitment, Courage and Commitment are values that stand the test of time. Great companies should create a place where everybody can learn, develop, grow and see at least a few of their dreams come true.
- Work includes Community. One of our greatest joys in life is helping others to achieve their dreams. Mary and I both routinely volunteer to help students at Utah Valley University as they near graduation. We see faces filled with hope and hearts on fire with the promise of the life that awaits them. We don’t see a divide between men and women, rich/poor, beautiful or plain. We see hope, possibility and we see our future. Men and women working together, dedicated and focused and creating the next generation of products and services. They are kinder to one another, the environment and the world as a whole. [/entity][/entity][/entity][/entity]
Our Parting Challenge to Business Leaders
You will soon interview and hire from a new field of talented and amazing young men and women emerging from our universities. As you do so, remember that all human beings are of infinite worth. Please make the time to get to know them and appreciate their extraordinary gifts and talents. If you interview 50 and hire 1 – remember that 49 will remember how you treated them and this ultimately will impact you and your business in the long run.
And finally, here’s the research on What Women Really Want From Work, courtesy of LinkedIn. We thank you for reading, and as always, we look forward to your notes and remarks.
Ready When You Are
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