Measure what matters. It’s the grounding principle for our strategic business plan as well as our approach to longer-term initiatives and goals. But the measures I want to talk to you about right now aren’t the kind found in our sales pipeline, monthly dashboard, or objectives and key results (OKRs). They are much more important and much more central to each of our businesses’ long-term health. I’m talking about the plight of women leaving the workplace right now because all too often it’s not designed for our collective success.
Bridge Partners, a Seattle-based consulting firm, happens to be an organization that has embraced remote work ever since the company was formed in 2007; and 100% of our team is given the opportunity to “work from anywhere.” Our business model is inherently flexible and because of this, it attracts leaders in every demographic to rethink what the world of work can look like for them — and gives women, in particular, the ability to stay in the workplace and balance the needs at home.
We are 60% female and we’re proud of that fact. It has proven time and time again that it’s absolutely possible to lead, deliver meaningful impact, and create a company that meets employees where they are, should they want part-time, full-time, or project-specific work.
Women are leaving the workplace
Across the U.S., more than 800,000 women left the workplace in September alone, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a rate four times higher than men during the same period. Most of these women are between the ages of 35 and 44, and nearly half are Black or Latina. Many left because of mounting pressures that prevent them from continuing to pursue their careers alongside the requirements at home.
We simply can’t afford to lose a generation of women in the workplace. We must do better.
Start measuring what matters
As COO, I’m well aware of the potential short-term and long-term impact to both our own business and the economy at large if women continue to leave the workforce. Research shows company profits and share performance are almost 50% higher when women are represented at the top. And that’s not to mention the meaningful impact women have on a company’s culture—from mentoring other women to serving as champions of diversity and inclusion alongside the requirements at home as COVID-19-related pressures continue.
At Bridge, 44% of our leadership team is female, and while that’s “good,” our goal is to do even better to ensure we have a high level of diversity represented in all areas of our business. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: the women leaving the workplace are the leaders we all need to help our companies succeed.
Bridge Partners is not alone in rethinking the art of the possible. Microsoft recently announced it will let more employees permanently work from home. Likewise, Siemens has rolled out a plan to let employees in 125 locations work remotely two or three days a week, with a leadership style focused on outcomes, not time spent in the office.
As a small (but mighty business), we understand the need to be flexible as we continue to create a dynamic workplace that drives performance, enhances our company culture, and boosts our attractiveness as an employer. Companies both large and small have the opportunity right now to rethink and modernize their organizations to create a thoughtful, purposeful, and inclusive structure allowing for the retention of women and the extraordinary value they bring.
We plan to do our part, and we hope we can count on your leadership as well.