7 Ways to Promote Female Empowerment in Sales
The McKinsey 2019 Women in the Workplace survey which primarily looks at US statistics, found that while there have been improvements in terms of female leadership representation and female empowerment in sales, equity is still far from being reached. To note a signal of positive progress: 44% of companies have three or more women at C-level, which is a stark difference from only 29% in 2015. However, only 1 in 5 C-suite executives are women.
In an effort to understand the causes of these disparities, the survey identifies one of the key factors stopping women from reaching the top, which is the first step up to manager. This is the most significant obstacle women face on their rise up the career ladder, with only 72 women being hired and promoted to managerial positions for every 100 men. As a consequence, women hold only 38% of all manager-level positions.
Fixing the inequality at this level will bring positive exponential effects at all other levels of the chain. Numerically, if women were to be hired and promoted at the same rate as men, it would add 1 million more women to management in corporate America over the next five years. In terms of some of the positive externalities of women in leadership positions for companies as a whole, a study by Catalyst determined that Fortune 500 companies with three or more women on the board outperform other companies with an average 53% higher return on equity, a 42% higher return on sales, and a 66% higher return on invested capital.
When considering women specifically within the sales role, statistics point towards women actually bringing more results than men. Namely, it was found that men had a 49% likelihood of moving opportunities to the next stage, while women had a 54% success rate. Furthermore, women’s win rates were 11% higher than men’s on average. This suggests that focusing on empowering women in sales is highly worthwhile.
The following list of tips should help guide leaders and coworkers alike to take a step forward in promoting female empowerment in sales:
Promote women into leadership positions
This is arguably the most important point on this list. Ensure that the career ladder is equal for all employees, and have continuous and proactive conversations about growth opportunities with female employees. Furthermore, set career goals during performance reviews and recognise high performing women within sales especially when evaluating succession planning opportunities.
Equal wages for the same position and experience
Women still earn an average of 21 cents less per dollar than their male counterparts. An effective way to fix this is to undertake pay equity audits to verify whether all employees with equal experience are being paid equally for the same roles.
Equitable parental leave policy
A fair policy for mothers is crucial to ensure that women feel respected and can maintain a healthy balance between their work life and home life without having to sacrifice their personal choices. Flexible working options are another way to facilitate women to navigate both their work and home lives.
Identify areas for improvement
Change is a long and ongoing process which needs to involve everyone within the company. The process of obtaining equality in sales should have your female employees at the centre. Ask them about their experiences to understand what needs to be done to promote female empowerment and improving gender diversity. Additionally, attempt to maximise the number of women leading these initiatives and guiding important conversations about these topics.
Encourage the female voice
Female voices are often disregarded or valued less than those of men, especially within the workplace. Effective ways to tackle this issue include providing public speaking opportunities for female employees, ensure female representation on every panel and remind women to share their voice and to not just agree with their male counterparts. In addition, inviting inspirational female sales leaders to your company can be a great way to promote female empowerment both in the minds of women and men.
Celebrate female success
Praise female team members for their achievements and strengths. Recognise contributions from female employees and champion their success.
Provide growth opportunities for less-experienced women
Men are oftentimes chosen for roles based on their potential while women are often only considered for their past experience. Select women with strong potential to lead or participate in projects and positions where they will have the opportunity to prove themselves.
Provide professional development options for women
Create professional opportunities for women to develop themselves and grow across the company. Sponsorship, training and mentorship are all valuable examples of efforts that can help women gain access within the company. In addition, training male employees on issues such as gender diversity, intersectionality and implicit bias helps to maintain gender diversity as a key topic within the workplace.
If you’re interested in learning more about promoting a positive environment within sales, feel free to take a look at our piece on mental health within sales.