27 September 2023

Value judgements: What women really want from their employers

Start the conversation

Elisette Carlson* says women at work want to feel valued, respected and understood, and there are numerous ways for employers to demonstrate that.

Photo: Darwin Laganzon

It’s no secret that working women seek flexibility and want to be rewarded and judged on deliverables, as opposed to how much time we spend at the office.

We also seek equal pay, in particular for women of colour.

While these issues continue to play out, it is promising to see more employers shifting their efforts to prioritise organisational culture.

So, what else do women really want from their employers?

I checked in with four female leaders, authors and TV personalities on the topic, and here are their ultimate insights.

  1. Go beyond meeting my expectations

“Enlightened employers go beyond meeting the basic needs of their employees and seek to truly understand how to engage them,” says Denise Lee Yohn, brand leadership expert and author.

“By connecting what’s personally important to someone with the purpose and values of the organisation, [they] create meaningful relationships with employees and align their efforts with the brand.”

“An example would be how Airbnb opens the café in its headquarters to employees’ families, even for dinner.”

“This helps working parents, as they don’t have to worry about rushing home to prepare a meal or to spend time with their children.”

“And it is a terrific expression of Airbnb’s brand mission — to help you feel that you belong anywhere — and its core value of hospitality.”

  1. The value of my work is personal to me

Carrie Bobb, President of Carrie Bobb & Co, a real estate firm that works with women-focused brands such as Soul Cycle, DryBar and Sephora, remarks, “Exceptional employees, the most valuable assets for an employer, want to know they matter and that the work they are creating is meaningful and will last.”

“It must be personal.”

“During extremely difficult situations or in the midst of managing a crisis, it is critical to have empathy.”

“Not just express empathy, actually have it.”

“There’s a difference.”

Often in large organisations, there are so many people involved in the messaging itself that the heart can get lost in translation.

Employees want to be heard and understood, and they can tell the difference between a manager expressing the message the organisation wants to deliver and a manager actually expressing they care for the individual.

  1. Ask my opinion

Jenna Wolfe, the host of Fox sports show First Things First offers a sincere and direct perspective.

“I’ve worked in television for 23 years, the bulk of which have been as a sportscaster in a male-dominated field,” she explains.

“The happiest of them have been when I felt appreciated, respected and valued.”

“I want to know that you need me, that you want me and that I make a difference.”

“Ask me my opinion, let me sit in on content meetings, listen to my ideas and show me you’ll actually implement the ones which can help us grow.”

“As a woman who comes to a sports office every day well read and well prepared, there’s nothing that makes me happier than commanding the respect of the people I work with.”

  1. Everyone likes to feel included

Gina Smith is the President of Rauxa, a woman-founded and led advertising agency, and says she prioritises being empathetic to a diverse group of women.

She says, “We have always operated from the perspective that every employee deserves empathy, transparency and the knowledge that everyone’s ideas are valid regardless of who they are.”

“So, it’s not just about meeting the needs of female employees — although that’s critically important — but also about age, experience, gender, orientation, colour and every other area of inclusion.”

Each of these testimonies reinforces that women want to feel valued, respected and understood, and there are numerous ways for employers to demonstrate that.

Meaningful, thoughtful and personal gestures will go a long way and create a lasting impression.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s key to treat your employees like people, not transactions, because everyone can always use a little more love, all while moving up the leadership ranks.

* Elisette Carlson is founder of SMACK! Media. She tweets at @SMACKELI. Her website is smackmedia.com.

This article first appeared at www.entrepreneur.com.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.