Companies can retain women and offset some of the additional pressures they feel at work by uncovering and supporting the most effective means of increasing their sense of inclusion.
It is inspiring to see the progress women have made in the workplace—last year, for example, the number (and diversity) of women in the C-suites of Fortune 500 companies reached an all-time high. Yet we are still far from closing the gender gap or achieving gender equity in business. Women remain highly underrepresented in corporate leadership. The pandemic has put a premium on resilience, but we have asked for more of that resilience from women—especially when it comes to the burden of the “double shift” of childcare and home responsibilities. Throughout the pandemic, the quit rate for women has been significantly higher than for men, driven by a wide variety of factors.
Such data, among many other points, supports what so many of us have experienced ourselves or seen in our fellow employees—women are burned out, more so than men on average. It hardly needs saying that this is a big problem for organizations. We believe that creating an inclusive workplace for women is a critical starting point, and can make a meaningful difference in attracting and retaining women workers and enabling them to thrive.
For our recent study The Fabric of Belonging: How to Weave an Inclusive Culture, we interviewed or surveyed more than 4,500 women—across all levels of their organizations—to learn about how they think and feel about inclusion in the workplace. One thing our research found is that women who feel excluded at work are 3 times more likely to quit than those who feel included.
On the flip side, women who feel fully included are 11 times more likely to be promoters of their companies than those who do not—a key indicator of employee engagement .
We also found that inclusion is important for recruiting women—over 65% of whom in our sample said that an inclusive environment is important in a new role—as well as for retaining them.