Deborah Block
10+ years of content marketing experience

Today’s workforce is dramatically changing, and with that comes the need to rethink the workplace. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that 2019 became the first year that women comprised the majority of the college-educated workforce. With this historic rise, companies are being forced to evaluate their benefits packages to better fit the needs of women. 

Over 300 diversity leaders gather at Galvanize 2019 in New York City 

At Galvanize 2019, a two-day summit hosted by Fairygodboss, leaders from IBM, Google, Facebook, AT&T, Nielsen, Deloitte and Salesforce came together to discuss why we must rethink today’s workplaces to better accommodate a changing, more diverse workforce. 

Daisy Auger-Dominguez, the Founder and CEO of Auger-Dominguez Ventures at Galvanize

“We have employees who are walking into organizations that haven’t been created with them in mind,” said Daisy Auger-Dominguez, the Founder and CEO of Auger-Dominguez Ventures at Galvanize. “We need to ask whose voices are missing and redefine what diversity and inclusion means today.” 

There’s no question that today’s talent works differently from even a decade ago, and with that comes the need to modernize workplace practices. “Today, we have workplaces and infrastructures that were designed for men,” said Romy Newman, Co-founder of Fairygodboss, in closing remarks at Galvanize 2019. “We must understand that we’re all coming from different places and experiences and create a new neutral at work.”

Shuchi Sharma, the Global Head and VP Gender Equality & Intelligence at SAP

SAP is one great example of a company that understands this and is actively trying to remove bias from the hiring process, interrupt decision points and encourage different behaviors. “If we’re not thinking about processes, systemic institutional issues and the way we think about people, our inclusion efforts will fail,” said Shuchi Sharma, the Global Head and VP Gender Equality & Intelligence at SAP.

Jaqui Canney, the Chief Human Resources Officer at WPP is encouraged about where we’re headed. “I’m optimistic about the conversations that are happening,” she said. “CEOs are engaging and are holding themselves accountable in a way that didn’t happen 20 years ago.”

Jaqui Canney, the Chief Human Resources Officer at WPP

Canney believes that a cultural shift towards transparency in the workplace — around culture, benefits, hiring practices and more — will only help change what the workplace looks like moving forward. She also believes that transparency will ultimately expedite the pace of change and we must continue to expect it from companies across the board. 

When asked about the future, Bozoma Saint John asserts that changes in the workplace can happen if we change the pipeline. “Advancing gender diversity in 2020 means we have to push harder than we are right now,” she said. “If we don’t have women in the pipeline who are going to advance to senior leadership then we’re not going to find senior leaders who are women or people of color. This means we have to ensure that what’s happening in our workplaces today is working towards gender parity in the future.”

The New York Times' Rebecca Blumenstein (left) with Bozoma Saint John, the CMO of William Morris Endeavor (right)

How women feel about work.

According to annual results from our Fairygodboss anonymous job reviews, we know that although women feel incrementally better about their workplace environment in 2019 than in past years, yet there is still much progress to be made. 

We asked: Do you feel like you’re treated fairly at your company? In 2016, 56% said yes. Today, 61% said yes. This means that still close to 40% of women do not feel positive in their current work environments. This needs to change.

What managers can do today.

Managers today can actively change the way they design their team, work activities and processes to make a difference moving forward, making an effort to understand the needs of women and under-represented minorities. Managers can also do a better job understanding the real time needs of the people on their team and personalizing engagement for those individuals. 

“We need to understand how to think about the future of work with a gender lens,” reinforced Mekala Krishnan, Senior Fellow at McKinsey Global Institute. “Moving forward, we need the trait of resilience to change the workplace.” 

Your 2020 Blueprint for Gender Diversity in the Workplace.

To help your company accelerate the path towards gender equality and increase business results, we’re excited to release our latest resource, The 2020 Blueprint for Gender Diversity in the Workplace, which compiles key takeaways from Galvanize 2019.

Inside, get tips from diversity leaders who share five steps to building more diverse workplaces, including how to: 

  1. Take your diversity investment up a level

  2. Build your pipeline of qualified female talent 

  3. Engage male allies

  4. Seek buy-in from the top

  5. Rethink the future of work

Download the Blueprint