We’ve all come across those job descriptions. The ones that make it sound like the company has single-handedly ended the era of employee exploitation, practices feminism aggressively, and is heralding a new and empowering environment for workers. But only when you start working at the company do you realise that the “empowerment” and “progressiveness” that look so good on paper, aren’t really being translated into action.
A job isn’t just something that pays you in return for your services. It’s a space that you spend 8 hours of your day in every day. A space that lets you use and build your skills to your full potential. A space that makes you feel satisfied and content.
Women in the workplace today don’t want policies steeped in pseudo feminism or superficial tokens of appreciation. We all deserve to be in a work environment that empowers us and knows how to empower women in the workplace.
Unsure of how to know if your workplace is genuinely empowering you or simply pretending to be empowering? Here are 5 common signs.
5 signs your company is not empowering you the way it should be
Grievances are heard out but not always addressed
An open channel of communication where employees’ grievances are heard is a sure-shot way to build trust among employees. A company that encourages its employees will know the grievances and major challenges women face at the workplace and be able to act on resolving it.
However, if you find that your grievances are increasingly being met with placating and sympathetic words, but no actual solutions being implemented even after a lot of time passes, then it isn’t truly an empowering space. Employees are only made to feel like they can depend on the company, without the company following through.
If your grievances are not being addressed, follow up with the concerned authorities. Ask for a resolution to the situation as soon as possible.
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Only work is delegated, not responsibility or credit
Delegation is an inevitable part of any work environment. It’s also valuable because when work is delegated to you, you get hands-on experience in learning a different aspect of your team’s work.
However, a delegation of responsibilities beyond work is also important.
Are your leaders delegating visible responsibilities like conducting a presentation in their place, or giving you credit in front of the team for the work you’ve taken up? Is the work you’re given constantly execution-oriented, or beneath you given your experience?
If they’re making you do the dirty work without giving you any credit, it’s not an empowering space to be in.
A healthy system will know that to truly empower women in the workplace you need to delegate more than just work, but also learning opportunities, responsibilities, and credit.
No flexibility is made for employee’s personal development
Even if they aren’t able to finance your development, an empowering workplace will make allowances for your personal development in other ways – like flexibility in time, understanding you won’t be available in the evenings because of an upskilling course, or giving you tasks on the job that help you build the skills you’re looking to learn.
A company that isn’t flexible in any manner when you bring up your desire for personal development outside of work, is coming in between you and your empowerment.
Mistakes are met with punishment, not learning
Everyone hopes they won’t make mistakes, but everyone does. Mistakes are a natural and normal part of learning.
It’s what your company does after an employee makes the mistake that defines how empowered the team feels.
If your leaders make you believe you are empowered enough to make your own decisions, but any mistake is met with harsh reprimanding or punishment, the situation is bound to make you feel more insecure and embarrassed than empowered.
An empowering workplace is one where your mistakes are responded to as the learning opportunities they are. You will be included in problem-solving and you’ll know that at the end of the day the company is on your side.
You are expected to prioritise your job over everything else
A truly empowering workplace knows that work is not the be-all and end-all for their team members, and encourages that.
A healthy and fulfilling life outside of work is what allows employees to come into work as their best selves every day. Time outside of work to build their identity, interests, and ability will only prove beneficial to the company.
If your workplace excepts you to work way beyond non-working hours and appreciates those who prioritise their job over everything else, it cannot be an empowering place.
Empowerment is an essential part of growing a sustainable and successful career and a fulfilled personal identity.
So, make sure your company is giving you the space, encouragement, and resources you need to be on the path to achieving your true potential.
Does your company do its part in empowering you? Tell us in the comments below.
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