Happy female employees = happy female customers.
On the Maternal Instinct website under 3 Quick Takeaways is this piece of advice:
If you want moms to be your loyal customers, then run a business that honors women. Hire women, promote women, consult with women, and create advertising that depicts women in positive ways.I was reminded of these words when reading a spot-on post from WonderBranding this past week, advocating pay equity in a world where women make 81 cents on the dollar compared to men. An excerpt:
"Modify your policy to ensure gender wage parity, then use it as a marketing tool to recruit top-notch talent. You'll not only have more candidates than you know what to do with, you'll end up with a workforce that spreads the love to customers, making you bigger profits."
Did you hear that last part? Treating female employees well pays off in the end. But don't believe my words -- believe those from the CEO of Bank of America:
Supporting our associates who are working mothers is not just the right thing to do, it also gives us an advantage in the competition for talent. Investing in our greatest assets–our associates–is the most direct route to more satisfied customers, expanding customer relationships and a growing business.Female employees (happy ones, at least) can be one of your best tools in marketing successfully to women. Here are three more ways to increase morale and productivity among women at work.
1) Show appreciation.
In a recent Mad Men episode, copywriter Peggy Olsen and her Creative Director boss Don Draper engaged in a yelling match late in the office one night. She called him out for not crediting her for the idea that won the agency a Clio.
He screams back: "That's what the money's for. I pay you."
A truly powerful scene that underscores a valuable lesson about male/female differences. Women crave appreciation and acknowledgment. Men feel they are giving it via their hiring practices.
Takeaway: Give female employees regular feedback about their work, especially when they deserve praise. Don't assume they know. Often, women assume silence = dissatisfaction. (P.S. Bonus points for male readers who connect this advice to their marriages. Tell your wife you adore her. She will never tire of hearing it and she just might have been equating your reticence with indifference. "Of course I love you -- I married you" is akin to Don Draper's unsuccessful stance.)
2) Manage expectations.
One of the most memorable times in my own (early) career was when my boss had promised our department that a particular event would not come to pass. Days later, we all were stunned when that very outcome was announced at a company meeting. When I tearfully asked the boss what happened, he explained with the following words: "I was powerless to change the outcome."
"Yes," I replied, "But you could have changed our experience of the outcome."
Takeaway: Communicate. Even if what you need to convey isn't welcome news, take the time to minimize its effect by presenting it with care. And when things are good, communicate then, too. Open lines of communication make teams feel connected.
3) Be family friendly.
Not only will you have loyal female employees, but male ones, too. Headlines report the surprising news that men struggle more with work/life balance now than women.
Takeaway: Provide daycare, allow telecommuting and job-sharing, and enable flex-hours so your employees can attend the school play, pick up a sick kid from school, and attend to other family tasks as they emerge.
What other ways do you win over female employees -- and therefore consumers, too? Share them here.