WMC Profiles – Strength in leadership
If you’ve been following the Whip Mix Blogs recently, you may have seen previous blogs on the subject of “The Awesome Women of Whip Mix,” with profiles of women working at Whip Mix in various roles. January 26, 2021’s blog featured four such awesome women in manufacturing, who actively create quality products that we ship to customers every day.
Going back in time a little more, December 8, 2020’s blog featured six more awesome women in Operations who are actively leading others in roles for manufacturing/production, Supply Chain, project management and Technical Support.
Why would a 102-year old company feature women so prominently? The answer may lie in our core values - it’s in our culture to cultivate leadership for team members who live our core values of loyalty, passion, integrity and versatility. Of course our core values don’t apply to just some, they apply to all. But in male-dominated industries, how do you help promote and celebrate diversity in your workforce to make sure everyone feels welcome and appreciated?
How does a company support female leaders?
If you’re a business owner or leader who wants to promote and support your female team members in any industry, what actions can you take? Below are some tips from my experience working at Whip Mix:
- External training
- Sending a group of women to external seminars can feel like a big investment in both time and money, but it is well worth the expense and inconvenience for your team members to bond and come back with strategies to support each other and the company. We came back from a 1-day training in Louisville feeling empowered and excited to be leaders together as a group!
- Visibility and recognition
- Taking time to write internal or external articles about the cool things women are accomplishing in different departments can do a lot for morale and inspiration for everyone.
- Recognition could look like internal monthly and annual awards. We have our Bulldog Award and President’s Awards, which are presented annually, and we also have Team Members of the Month award in each department. It helps to pump everyone up!
- Open dialogue
- In a meeting with your own team, one-on-one with team members you supervise, or in more casual settings, be mindful about soliciting and listening to feedback about how the company treats women overall. For example, do women tend to stay as long as men at the company? If not, why is that? Do women feel they are included in decision-making?
- Family friendly
- Being a family-friendly company is a plus for men and women who have families, not just women. But the country saw headlines and studies in 2020 about women dropping out of the workforce at 4 times the rate of men for care-taking, and studies also show that it is mostly moms that endure the mental toll of working full-time and raising children. All sorts of policies can be considered to be family-friendly (parental leave, sick pay, daycare benefits), but it takes a mindful company to navigate the costs and benefits.
- Career path discussions
- Seeing women at the top is inspiring for other women, who can then imagine their career path taking them as far as they want to go. If you have a Board of Directors, or a structure that includes both a President and CEO, consider very carefully how to ensure diversity. Conversations with direct reports should always include asking how you can support their career paths, and how you can inspire your team members to attain training and experience to go as far as possible!