Empowering Women in the Workplace—The BelFlex G.R.O.W. Initiative

The pandemic simultaneously shined a brighter spotlight on workplace disparities and increased them— especially when it comes to gender gaps. 

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Gender Gap Report, “the time it will take for the gender gap to close grew by 36 years in the space of just 12 months between 2020 and 2021. In 2020 it was estimated to take 99.5 years for women and men reach parity, now it’s expected to take 135.6 years.

Gender disparity stunts women’s career paths

Thirty-six years is an astounding jump in the wrong direction, and particularly noticeable when it comes to women in leadership roles—across industries, in general, and in staffing organizations, in particular. 

For women in the workplace in general:

For women employed at staffing firms:

  • According to a 2021 report spotlighted by PR Newswire, “The staffing industry has a fair balance of men and women across its workforce; however, imbalance occurs as leadership levels increase, with an underrepresentation of women in senior leadership roles.”
  • Women account for 46% of executive positions at staffing firms.1
  • Women account for only 36% of board seats at staffing firms.1
  • Women CEOs are only at 44 of Fortune 500 companies—this equates to only 8.8%.1

From my perspective, this lack of gender parity is confounding when you consider that organizations who actually achieve it do better in business. According to a McKinsey study, companies in the top quartile for executive team gender diversity were 25% more likely to experience above average financial performance than their peers.2

More needs to be done to ensure women are supported in their career journeys, especially when it comes to attaining leadership roles. It’s beneficial for the women’s workforce and for the success of the companies in which they work.

That’s why here at BelFlex we’re working to empower women and support their advancement in the workforce through initiatives like G.R.O.W.

Supporting career success by helping women G.R.O.W.

G.R.O.W. stands for Grow. Rise. Overcome. Win. We’ve developed this initiative to help rise up and empower women to move past the statistics and forge their own future.

Through a series of targeted workshops for employees, partners, and vendors alike, our goal is to uncover what’s holding women back, discover ways to overcome barriers to success, and discard the fallacies that get in the way of achieving career and life aspirations. 

Our most recent workshop focused on the 12 Habits Holding You Back from How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith:

  1. Reluctance to claim your achievements
  2. Expecting other to spontaneously notice and reward your contributions
  3. Overvaluing expertise
  4. Just building, rather than building and leveraging, relationships
  5. Failing to enlist allies from day one
  6. Putting your job before your career
  7. The perfection trap
  8. The disease to please
  9. Minimizing
  10. Too much
  11. Ruminating
  12. Letting your radar distract you

In a pre-workshop survey, attendees were asked to identify the top three of these twelve habits that most hold them back. Each habit was then discussed in detail, with open and honest sharing about why it rose to the top and what mechanisms for overcoming it could look like. 

Conversations like these will be continued in future workshops, which will address other topical issues impacting women’s trajectory in the workplace, both in general and related to the staffing industry.

With G.R.O.W, our hope is to provide a valuable, safe space where employees can connect, advise, and encourage one another to take big or little steps to propel their career journey and come closer to achieving—and exceeding—their goals.

As a staffing organization, we understand the crucial positive impact that diversity of all kinds can have on a company and its workforce. People are the heart and soul of what makes an organization tick. 

From my personal perspective as a woman in today’s staffing workforce, I can attest that dedication to DE&I, the availability of mentoring and coaching programs, salary equalization measures, and the creation of programs like G.R.O.W. can all significantly change a woman’s experience in the working world for the better. Especially a woman in a leadership role.

1Source: SIA Women in Leadership in the US Staffing Industry (Women in Business Collaborative Staffing Council Benchmark Survey) Fortune March 2022

2Source: SIA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Trends in Staffing (ILO)

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