Closing this gap requires a tailored approach to delivering employee care: one that takes into account women’s unique experiences in the workplace, particularly their financial health. Here, we’ll discuss three ways to care for women’s unique needs, close the gender care gap, and improve outcomes across the organization.
Demonstrate care across the employee experience to instill a sense of belonging
A safe and supportive workplace environment plays a pivotal role in creating a culture of care. And MetLife’s research has shed light on aspects of the employee experience that women value most.
Supportive and empathetic management is a must — and women, in particular, seek greater recognition and appreciation for their work. They also want to feel heard, and two-thirds of women identify listening to employee feedback as a must-have to demonstrate care. Finally, women feel invested in employers who care for their future, and crave more opportunities to build professional relationships and develop new skills.
Crucially, women, especially caretakers, seek more flexibility than they are currently receiving from their employers. The stressors of the past three years have hit women especially hard, and women are now 7% less likely to say their employer offers the flexibility to manage work-life balance than they were in 2020.
Employers have an opportunity to address this by extending as much flexibility as possible — for example, by allowing employees to choose their own hours or work remotely some or all of the time. Organizations can implement listening mechanisms to solicit employee feedback, and train managers in empathetic leadership so they can more effectively recognize each employee’s contribution to the team.
Lastly, employers can invest in mentorship programs and upskilling initiatives — including those tailored specifically to women — to help female staff develop the skills and relationships they need to grow.
Caring for women also means putting financial health first
While a strong workplace culture is central to the employee experience, truly caring for the women in your workforce calls for addressing the elephant in the room: compensation.
Female employees have historically faced more financial pressure than their male colleagues due to the gender wage gap. While this gap is narrowing, it still persists — and our research indicates that women feel significantly more financial stress than men in the wake of the pandemic.