Women leaders key to rebuilding employee connection and satisfaction
As organizations in Canada emerge from the pandemic, a lot has changed when it comes to workplace culture. With many organizations adopting permanent hybrid working arrangements and some newer remote employees who have never worked in the office with their team members, it can be challenging to maintain team cohesion and communication.
Jane Riddell believes that’s where women leaders play a significant role. Riddell is president of Patchell-Holdings Inc., which operates GoodLife Fitness, Fit4Less, Éconofitness and canfitpro.
Riddell says many women leaders demonstrate strengths that help humanize and prioritize the right elements of the business to address workplace culture issues. She has spent much of her four-decade career building and leading GoodLife Fitness, where 75% of senior leaders are women and have been with the company for decades. “Many women multitask their entire lives. For those who are raising families it can be a challenge to hold down a promising career and raise children. These women have learned to be excellent at time and task management, and they bring these strengths to their leadership role.”
Riddell adds women leaders often spend more time thinking through the implications of a business decision, beyond just the strategic and financial outcomes. “When the leadership team is in the process of making a change, the women leaders will say ‘So, what will the impact be on the people?’ They think about how to manage the change and support the employees through it.”
Research shows companies led by women are more productive and more likely to deliver ROI. A McKinsey study found companies in the top quartile for gender diversity at the executive level are 21% more likely to generate higher profits. Not only that, but employees perceive them to offer better balance, more benefits and greater chance of advancement. This is especially important given the potential for fragmentation and detachment in hybrid working environments.
Riddell says her team is looking at how to help inspire employees and re-connect them with the culture of the company. That means prioritizing flexibility, employee well-being, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. People want to be noticed at work. They want meaningful connection with their co-workers, as well as regular and constructive engagement from their leaders.