More women than ever are traveling for business, and study after study demonstrates that gender diversity in the workplace pays off. When “the workplace” is a hotel lobby in a remote city, or a first class seat with an inflight internet connection, promoting workplace diversity may mean attending to your company travel policy. According to a recent Gallup poll, gender-diverse organizations in the retail sector have 14% higher average comparable revenue than less gender diverse organizations. In the hospitality sector, companies showed 19% higher average quarterly net profits. A more diverse workplace isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s smart business.
Executive women travel differently from their male counterparts
Taking women’s travel interests into consideration is an important part of fostering a diverse workplace culture. Since only six in ten businesses worldwide have women in senior management positions, and only 14% of global CEOs are women, it’s likely that the executive women you employ will be outnumbered by their male counterparts. Making any employee comfortable on the road and in the office is vital – after all, studies show that happy employees are more productive. In her new book, Dr. Noelle Nelson says: “When employees feel that the company takes their interests to heart, employees will take company interest to heart.”
Build a diverse foundation for future success
There is an increasing demand for female talent – and with it, a growing realization that the old ways of working aren’t sufficient to meet the needs of a diverse population. Women are increasingly selective about where they work, taking a close look at an organization’s policies and culture before making the leap.
Organizations that get it reap the benefits – as demonstrated by a recent article in The Economist, which claims that increasing women’s participation in the labor market to male levels will increase GDP by significant percentages across the globe.
Bottom line? Meet the needs of executive women now, and you stand to lead the pack in terms of the increased profits workplace diversity brings.
Pay attention to policies
Making any organization more female-friendly starts in the office, and that means looking at details like travel policies. Cornell University reports that women are the fastest-growing segment among business travelers in the U.S. Their travel requirements are important to them, and like any job selection process, women will seek employers whose policies meet those requirements. According to Bloomberg News, women value privacy, safety, and pay more attention to details when on the road.
Take a proactive approach
Create a travel plan with your executive women – interview them about what they are looking for when they travel, and get their buy-in before developing new policies. Here are a few things you may consider:
- Schedule the right flight. Research airlines and see if they offer amenities that cater to diverse needs. For instance, Embraer boasts more privacy for its female flyers, and Boeing features lower overhead luggage bins for easy accessibility.
- Book a reputable hotel. Some hotels are taking steps to keep their guests safer. The Hyatt hotel group has rolled out a number of initiatives that appeal to female travelers such as all-female floors, added security, and higher quality skin care products in bathrooms.
- Respect her privacy. Privacy is key. Whether your executives travel together or on their own, give female travelers the option of individual hotel rooms and self-selected airplane seats.
It’s never too late, or too early, to promote gender diversity in the workplace. Even big companies still struggle with the issue. Google recently released their diversity numbers, and admitted they still have work to do. No matter what steps you’ve taken in the past, or have yet to take in the future, remember that diversity isn’t just good for executive women – it’s good for business.