Simply The Best: Fairygodboss CEO On Why Company Rankings For Women Matter
You wouldn’t eat at a restaurant with a bad Yelp review, stay in a hotel that got 1 out of 5 stars (or no stars at all) or run out to see a movie that Rotten Tomatoes gave a low rating.
So why would you work for a company that doesn’t make it to the annual best companies for women lists?
In the wake of Fairygodboss’ annual Best Companies For Women in 2019 list, Take The Lead had a convo with Georgene Huang, Fairygodboss Co-founder and CEO, about what these rankings mean for women—at any level of their careers.
The rankings, based entirely on feedback from female employees, result in the winners of the Best Technologies Companies for Women, Best Finance Companies for Women, Best Companies Where CEOs Support Gender Diversity, and Best Consulting Companies for Women.
Based on a scale of up to 100 points, the top winner is Pariveda Solutions, but the list also includes traditional and newer companies from Hilton, Dell, IBM, General and E & J Gallo Winery to Quicken Loans, Starbucks and Cisco.
We decided it was best to dissect the bests with Huang herself and ask her the questions you want to know the answers to about how and why these lists matter. Here goes:
Take The Lead: Should applying to a company that has a proven track record be a big consideration for women looking to make a career change?
Georgene Huang: “If women are looking to not only excel at work, but be treated fairly (as I think all women are), then they should 100 percent look into company reviews when applying for a new job. Working for a company that has a proven track record of treating women equally in the workplace will help ensure that you are supported at work and have equal opportunities at promotions and success.”
TTL: Why is it that some companies have an open culture for gender parity and others don’t?
GH: “It’s proven that increasing gender equality in the workplace leads to better business results. Many of these changes start at the executive level, so ensuring that women are advancing to levels of management and the C-suite is an important step in advancing gender equality. When women are in positions of power they’re more likely to help other women advance which will help continue the positive cycle.”
TTL: Are there warning signs that a company is not a great and welcoming place for women to advance?
GH: “Bad company reviews by women are a red flag that a company is not the best place for women. Read into the reviews to see why women didn’t like working at the company — was it because they didn’t like the industry or because their boss made inappropriate comments? First-hand reviews from other women can give you great insight as to what it’s truly like to work at a company, and know from the women in the FGB Community that the number one reason they leave a review is to help other women, so you tend to find much more balanced, constructive criticism in our community. I also recommend looking at the company leadership to get a sense of whether or not the diversity and inclusion practices they may advertise are actually put into place.”
TTL: What are some signs for a great place for women to work?
GH: “Look into what benefits the company offers, if there are any ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) for female employees, and if there are women in positions of power. While none of these will guarantee that the company is a great place for women to work, a company that puts effort into providing great benefits for women and creating opportunities for women to connect and excel is likely to be a better place to work than a company that puts in no effort.”
TTL: Is it possible to change a culture that is not demonstrating gender equity?
GH: “Change starts on an individual level so there is always something you can do, no matter your position. However, the more power you have the more effective you can be. To start, know your worth.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise or a promotion. Advocating for yourself and getting into a position of power will allow you to turn your focus and advocate for others to create more significant changes.
“Find out what’s important to your boss or manager and speak to their needs in terms of gender equality. If you’re looking to increase employee retention rates, speak to the fact that companies with greater gender equality not only create a more attractive company to prospective employees, but they increase diversity which improves innovation and overall business success.
“Also don’t underestimate the efficacy of employee resource groups. There is strength in numbers, so by working with your colleagues to identify tension points within the company (whether it’s benefits, pay, etc.), you can create positive change.”
Yes, not everyone thinks alike. You may have a great experience in your workplace with your mentor, while everyone else on the team finds the company culture horrific. So not everyone rates every workplace the same.
But just as the ratings of restaurants, hotels or movies can vary, the larger consensus of feedback is what counts. You want to access the hive mind of women already in the workplace, get the deets on what it is really like to work there for women in these sectors and see how and why these companies treat women the way they do.
Find out before you sign the contract at a workplace, or begin exploring opportunities only at companies who aim to be the best. It’s not simply the goal to be the best, but you want to work somewhere that is simply the best.