The typical workplace is getting better for women, but there is still a big gap between a typical U.S. workplace and companies that offer best-in-class experiences.
More women at typical workplaces report fair pay, fair promotions, psychological healthy workplaces, and meaningful work in 2023, according to a Great Place To Work® market survey of 4,400 employees in the U.S.
The gains could be due to increased workplace flexibility in the post-pandemic era, with the gender gap shrinking to a record low for measuring women’s workforce participation. However, the incremental gains for women at typical workplaces are dwarfed by the gains women find when working in high-trust workplaces.
Great Place To Work analyzed over 600,000 survey responses from employees at Great Place To Work Certified™ companies to determine the Fortune Best Workplaces for Women lists for 2023.
On the large companies list, Hilton takes the No. 1 spot this year:
2. Marriott International
3. Cisco Systems
4. Aya Healthcare
5. East West Bank
For small- and medium-sized companies on the list, Roth Staffing Companies moved up from third place to the top spot this year:
1. Roth Staffing Companies
2. Highlight Technologies
3. Paramount Software Solutions
5. Basis Technologies
For companies that made the list, a much higher percentage of women reported being paid fairly, having fair promotions, and experiencing a psychologically and emotionally healthy workplace. The gap shows that while increased flexibility has made the workplace better for many women post-pandemic, there is a big difference between the marginal improvements for women in typical workplaces and the experience of women in a healthy, high-trust culture.
“Best companies offer women increased flexibility, equitable pay, and career support, and these women are much more likely to thrive and stay at the company a long time when compared to other workplaces,” says Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place To Work. “These companies ensure these great people practices are extended to all and this rising tide lifts all boats. They trust that these companies will implement technology that will continuously monitor what they need and assure that equity adjustments are not a one-time event.”
How to support women at work
What experiences build better workplaces for women? Here are some of ways the best companies are helping women thrive:
1. Offer fair pay and promotions
The best companies conduct transparent pay audits while also helping managers have constructive conversations with employees about compensation. Pay equity doesn’t mean that you pay everyone the same, and the Best Workplaces™ ensure everyone is equipped to discuss total rewards, from salary and bonus plans to benefits and stock options.
It’s also important that employees receive recognition for their efforts. When managers show appreciation for the hard work of their employees, women are 70% more likely to say their pay is fair.
Recognition isn’t a substitute for fair pay, but rather a crucial element of a high-trust culture. When companies set clear expectations and then reward and celebrate employees for meeting them, employees are more likely to feel their manager understands and values their contributions to the organization.
2. Support mental and emotional health
At the Best Workplaces, 87% of women report having a psychologically and emotionally healthy workplace, compared to just 55% of women at a typical U.S. company. When encouraged to balance work with life responsibilities, both men and women at winning companies are more than two times as likely to report psychological health.
Yet, flexible work policies can be undermined by bad management. A UKG study found that managers have a bigger impact on employees’ mental health than doctors or therapists.
For both men and women, employees were more likely to report positive mental health when they said their manager was approachable. The best companies heavily invest in managers, ensuring people leaders receive training and resources to support employees’ mental health.
3. Ensure meaningful work
At winning workplaces, more women believe they can “make a difference” in their workplace (90%) compared with women at typical companies (70%). Meaningful work is an important driver of retention for all employees and has a positive impact on innovation.
The Best Workplaces ensure that employees feel included in the decision-making process as strategic partners, helping every employee feel connected to a higher purpose for the organization. Both men and women are 30% more likely to say their work is meaningful when their manager involves them in decisions that impact their work.
The results for both genders underscore one of the more interesting findings from this year’s list: The Best Workplaces for Women offer superior experiences for men at the same organization. The results prove that helping women thrive at work helps every employee have a better experience, too.
Ted Kitterman is a content manager at Great Place To Work.