Research around the world is demonstrating that the real drivers of the economy are women — as business leaders, employees, consumers, and entrepreneurs. The underlying reason about why women in business matters is that investing in women can yield a significant boost in economic growth. It all comes down to the fact that when women earn, their families and the communities around them thrive.
This recognition is increasingly important in developing countries, like the Pacific Islands, where women joining the formal economy and participating in business has the potential to create a positive impact on the local, national and regional economy.
And as a business owner you have the capacity to make a difference, simply by employing other women, helping them grow their confidence and skills, and giving them the chance to earn their own money to support their own family and dreams.
Retaining and developing female talent
As a business owner, it’s important to create a workplace that attracts, retains and engages staff. Here’s some top tips on how to keep your staff happy and committed to working with you:
- Share your business mission and values – Feeling connected to your goals and values is one way to keep employees mentally and emotionally tied to your business.
- Provide a positive working environment – Creating a positive work environment goes a long way to having happy, productive and loyal staff. Positive work environments tend to be those where staff feel that they: understand what your expectations of them are; have the tools, skills and training required to do their job; are appreciated and rewarded for their contribution; and have fun (even when they are working hard). Talk to your staff to find out what is important to them.
- Offer the most competitive employee package you can – Make sure you pay your staff fair wages and benefits including superannuation, insurance and level entitlements. Other benefits, such as flexible work hours, childcare support, staff discounts and bonuses also go a long way to show employees you care, even if you can’t pay them higher wages.
- Make sure your staff know what is expected of them.
Often in small companies, employees have a wide breadth of responsibilities but if they don’t know exactly what their jobs entail and what you need from them, they can’t perform up to standard, and morale can begin to dip.
- Ensure there are open lines of communication – Staff tend to be more committed when there is a process for them to contribute their ideas and suggestions. This can be through regular staff meetings, performance reviews, one-on-one interviews, suggestion boxes in your staff room, staff surveys and ideas competitions to name a few.
- Provide training and professional development – Training and skills development is an important part of making sure that your staff have the technical skills they need to do the job, but are also motivated by feeling educated in new areas. Many people rate educational and training opportunities as ‘just as important’ as the money they make. Studies have also found that around 40 per cent of people would leaving their present employer for another job with the same benefits if that job provided better career development and greater challenges. Applying for grants, awards and scholarships is a good way to get financial assistance, training and educational support to develop your staff.
- Provide some small perks – The little things, like staff morning teas, acknowledging birthdays, saying ‘thank you’ and making an effort to have some fun, make staff feel appreciated and also help create a great work culture where people want to be.
- Recognise and reward – Money and benefits are important factors in attracting and retaining people, but reward and recognition help meet that basic human need to feel appreciated and rewarded for what we do. A successful reward and recognition program does not have to be complicated or involve money to be effective. Ask your employees how they would like to be rewarded (for example, time off, gifts, or public recognition) and make sure you keep a record of it because reward and recognition means different things to different people!
- Conduct regular performance reviews – Annual or six-monthly performance reviews are the ideal opportunity to have a two-way conversation about not only how your staff are doing, but how you are performing as a manager too.
For more information, download the following support materials from the PNG Business Coalition For Women (BCFW):
BCFW's 'Developing Gender-Smart Workplace Policies & Practices' poster outlines the benefits of women-friendly workplaces.
BCFW's 'Expanding Opportunities for Women in Supply & Distribution Networks' poster addresses the benefits of investing in women-run supply and distribution channels.
BCFW's 'Promoting Women in Leadership' poster highlights the business benefits of promoting women through mentoring and development initiatives.