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Creating an Inclusive Green Economy

Posted by egehl on September 16, 2010

The rebuilding process in New Orleans since the 2005 storms is considered ground zero for every major social, economic, educational and environmental challenge facing this country, and how to create innovative solutions.  One of those solutions has undoubtedly been the burgeoning of the green economy and subsequent green jobs that have helped reinvigorate the city’s workforce.

One of the ways the city has addressed its environmental and economic challenges is by creating green jobs through the investment of rebuilding affordable, environmentally friendly homes in the areas most devastated neighborhoods.   Before Hurricane Katrina Louisiana lacked a green jobs sector but the mass destruction of the city’s housing stock opened up a prime opportunity to recreate communities in a more sustainable, energy efficient way. 

A variety of cutting edge non-profits and programs have arisen over the past five years including Brad Pitt’s Make it Right Foundation, which plans to build 150 homes in the Lower Ninth Ward, a low income neighborhood that has been slow to recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. 

In addition Global Green is also working to educate New Orleans residents about renewable energy solutions and is building a sustainable village in the Lower Ninth Ward that will consist of 5 single-family homes, an 18-unit apartment building, and a community and climate action center.  By building environmentally conscious homes in low-income neighborhoods it incorporated people traditionally left out of the sustainable conversation, and opened up positive opportunities for them. 

Building these types of homes is just one way we can create jobs while helping the environment at the same time in an innovative and proactive way.  Examples of other activities include making buildings more energy efficient, expanding and improving mass transit, updating the national electric grid, and developing three types of renewable energy sources: wind, solar, and biomass fuels.

A strong green workforce is a viable way to stabilize our nation’s economy and help turn back the soaring unemployment rate.  All of this sounds promising — we clean up the environment, control global warming and create an entirely new sector of employment while we’re at it. 

However any plan for job creation must be inclusive to both men and women especially since women are entering the workforce at a rapid pace.  In fact, recent research states that women now make up half of the workforce and will soon surpass men as layoffs continue to impact men disproportionately.  Therefore all fields must incorporate women to have a robust workforce. 

Often women are disregarded or left out of opportunities to seek “nontraditional” work.  When women enter the workforce they can be stereotyped and automatically pushed toward certain areas of work such as education, social work or nursing.  It is a myth that all women want to engage in only these types of careers.  If given the right tools and education women can thrive in any field. 

Luckily green careers have started to be more inclusive of women. The environmental field used to be only focused on jobs in science and engineering, where women have been historically underrepresented.  But now the view has broadened and we’ve realized that many more careers are undoubtedly connected to the environment such as public health, marine wildlife or global environmental policy. 

Opportunities are popping up for women to go headfirst into environmental careers.  This means that women can pursue new trainings and education to build on their current skill set, or learn an entirely new field. 

However the focus cannot only be on “green collar” jobs that an elite few can fill.  There must also be an emphasis on employment opportunities that can meet the needs of those with a high school education.  However unfortunately segments of the green workforce, such as manufacturing or construction, have historically discriminated against women thus shutting them out of potential opportunities.  This needs to change so that women of any education or experience level can pursue all aspects of the green workforce. 

Women are excited about the potential of green jobs and want an equal opportunity to pursue this line of work.  However there must be assistance available to help women connect the dots between what opportunities exist out there, and how they can reach their goals toward securing a good, green job.  BPW Foundation’s pilot project, Moving from Red to Green: Working Women in the Green Economy, is doing just that. 

This initiative will explore the demand for green jobs for women and determine what programs and services can successfully prepare and link women with the jobs and the companies that will best suit their needs.  The result will be moving women from unemployment, or under-employment, to providing them with access to sustainable job options and the skills and support they need to succeed.  To learn more please visit the BPW Foundation website.

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Posted in Career Advancement, Economy, Education, green, STEM, Successful Workplaces, Successful Workplaces Digest | Leave a Comment »

Honoring Your Commitments

Posted by joyinhome on November 24, 2009

Finding a job is tough… in any economy. So if you’re looking now, it is NOT pretty. YWM however encourages job-seeking women (and men) to use this time to re-evaluate the type of environment that you need for your next career step.

Things to consider:

  1. Do you volunteer?
  2. Are you married?
  3. Do you have children?
  4. Are you a student or plan to be?
  5. Do you provide caregiving for relatives?
  6. Do you travel?
  7. Do you exercise? 

 Answer these questions and do your research. Make your next workplace one that is supportive of your life commitments.  Take great care to target companies that boast innovative workplace policies and pratices- those are the ones that support women, families, veterans.

A happy employee is a great one- employers recognize this even if they are slow to act.

Other things to consider

Posted in Career Advancement, Economy, Families, Feminism, Successful Workplaces, Successful Workplaces Digest, Workforce Development/HR, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Seven Ways You Can Win the Battle to Control Your Own Life

Posted by YWM on October 12, 2009

corpwomanboxingAs part of National Work & Family Month, YWM will be posting a series of guest blogs as part of a campaign to educate employers on the importance of work-life balance and workplace policies that promote this elusive goal.

Kathie Lingle, executive director of AWLP, gives seven tips for employees to gain balance. Below is an excerpt from her post. 

Recent surveys have confirmed what we already knew to be true: the recession has contributed to heavier workloads, higher stress levels and lower morale among American workers.

This October is National Work & Family Month, unanimously approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. Everyone who works – employers and employees – should use this annual opportunity to re-commit to winning the battle of balance.

Stay tuned for another installment of the YWM series on work-life balance and how to get it!

Posted in Families, Successful Workplaces, Successful Workplaces Digest, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

October is National Work & Family Month

Posted by joyinhome on October 8, 2009

Here at YWM, we talk a lot about what we want in the workplace. We want to know: what makes a workplace successful to you?

NWFMlogo_clrTXT_sm2Employees: It’s good to utilize work-life programs offered at an organization because it will help you become more productive and achieve…”balance.”

Employers: There is an inexpensive, effective way to motivate and retain top talent to get through these tough times.

National Work & Family Month is a national education campaign led by Alliance for Work-Life Progress, to raise awareness among employers about the value of work-life effectiveness as a business imperative.

Stay tuned for a YWM series on the importance of work-life balance!

The month of October was first designated as National Work & Family Month by a Resolution of the United States Senate in 2003. The U.S. House of Representatives reaffirmed October as National Work & Family Month in 2008.

Posted in Career Advancement, Diversity, Families, Successful Workplaces, Successful Workplaces Digest, Uncategorized, Workforce Development/HR, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

First Impressions Matter When Hiring Women Veterans

Posted by gansie on September 28, 2009

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This is one in a series of articles from BPW Foundation’s Successful Workplaces Digest, a collection of work-life and progressive workplace practices from corporations, non-profits and government entities.

In this practice, learn how to recruit and retain women veterans as employees.

First Impressions Matter When Hiring
Women Veterans

Civilian employer attitudes about the value of military service in the workplace made a lasting impression on women veterans, according to Business and Professional Women’s Foundation 2007 survey, Workingwomen Speak Out II: Women Veterans in Transition. The research project captured the transition experiences of women moving from the military into the civilian workforce.

Women veterans were more likely to find their desired job when their first post-military employer indicated positive opinions about the value of their military work experience. Employers who didn’t encourage women veterans to talk about their service during the job interview were perceived as less supportive. The survey also found that numerous factors play a role in determining the success of a woman veteran’s transition, including education level, marital status and responsibility for dependents. Workplace culture is another factor that affects how a veteran employee may feel about her new job.

For example, when women veterans felt their military service was appreciated by coworkers, they were twice as likely to respond positively about their first post-military job and were more likely to provide a positive assessment of their job skills.

womenvetmilitarywomenEmployers Should Care What Women Veterans Think
Women veterans are a growing segment of the U.S. labor force. In 1980, there were 1.1 million women veterans, but by 2007 their numbers had increased to 1.7 million. Understanding how to fully engage this growing segment of society could pay off for employers and community leaders facing an impending leadership drain as Baby Boomers age out of the workforce and leave behind a smaller generation of mid-careerists to fill in the gaps.

Women veterans have many of the skills employers desire. Recruiting women
veterans makes good business sense, because the military has already expended extensive resources to train them to be the most skilled, efficient, inventive, disciplined and adaptable employees possible. Veterans who experienced successful work transitions expressed confidence in the following skill sets.

Women Veterans Have the Ability To

  • Set and achieve goals.
  • Locate, understand and interpret written information.
  • Perform high level computer skills.
  • Communicate effectively with coworkers.
  • Think creatively, make decisions and learn on the job.
  • Recognize and solve problems.
  • Act responsibly.
  • Maintain positive self-esteem.
  • Demonstrate friendliness.

How Employers Can Make a Good First Impression
Employers made a good impression on women veterans
when the prospective hires felt:

  • Comfortable talking extensively about their military career during the interview.
  • Their military experience gave them an advantage in the workplace.
  • Employers appreciated their service to the country.
  • Employers valued their military training.
  • Employers valued the skills they learned in the military.

How Employers Can Recruit and Retain Women Veterans

  • Create a culture of acceptance.
  • Inquire whether women applicants have been in the military.
  • Ask women veterans to talk about their military experience and to relate what they’ve learned in the military to the job for which they are applying.
  • Encourage coworkers to see the connection between a woman veteran’s military experience and her civilian job skills.
  • Articulate the value the organization places on their military  background.
  • Provide resources and services that enable women veterans to translate the skills learned in the military to civilian positions.
  • Do not use a one-size fits all approach: Younger, non-college educated women veterans surveyed were less likely than their older, college-educated veteran peers to observe the value of their military experience in the civilian workplace or to have positive job search experiences. Employers wanting to recruit young, emerging leaders will need to provide more initial support.
  • Encourage Human Resources to provide information about veteran benefits to both male and female employees, even if they haven’t self-identified, because many women do not indicate their veteran status.

By: Business and Professional Women’s Foundation
BPW Foundation’s original women veteran research: Women Veterans In Transition

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Posted in Diversity, Successful Workplaces Digest | Leave a Comment »

Developing and Mentoring Diverse Talent

Posted by gansie on September 26, 2009

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This is one in a series of articles from BPW Foundation’s Successful Workplaces Digest, a collection of work-life and  progressive workplace practices from corporations, non-profits and government entities.

In this practice, Sprint discusses how it embraces diversity within the workforce.

Developing and Mentoring Diverse Talent

Diversity is an integral part of the way Sprint operates. A company that reflects its diverse customer base is better able to meet—and exceed—the needs of those customers. An inclusive workplace also nurtures diversity of thought, fostering heightened creativity and innovation. Recognizing this, Sprint has implemented several initiatives to ensure that every employee is given the opportunity to live up to her or his full potential.

diversitySprint’s inclusive workplace programs have allowed the company to foster the best talent and ideas from its diverse workforce. Employees with a variety of backgrounds and experiences are able to approach challenges form differing viewpoints, creating solutions that may not have been possible had everyone been looking at things in exactly the same way.

Employee Resource Group (ERG)
ERGs are employee-led groups that provide unique, cross-functional development opportunities for their members, and subsequently, a competitive advantage for Sprint as a whole.

In June of 2008, Sprint had six ERGs:

  • Diamond Network (African-American focused)
  • Enlace (Hispanic focused)
  • OASIS (Asian focused)
  • Sprint Pride (GLBT focused)
  • V.E.T.S. (Veterans and Employees helping others Through Sprint)
  • Women’s group

ERGs are open to all employees, not just those who fall within the ERG’s focus; the only requirement to join an ERG is a desire to see Sprint and its employees succeed.

Through ERGs, employees are able to develop leadership skills, network with
diverse groups of people (both inside and outside Sprint) and get insights into
new areas of the business.

The programs established by ERGs also provide employees exposure to  executive levels, mentoring opportunities and special ERG-sponsored training.  ERGs also work to provide cultural-awareness events for all Sprint employees, thereby furthering the company’s diversity outreach.

ERG Mentoring Program

  • All ERG members may join.
  • The mentoring program matches a senior executive with a group of interested ERG members.
  • Mentee groups are kept small so that each mentor ideally has no more than three mentees at any time.
  • The mentor works with her or his team of mentees to provide input, feedback and suggestions that the mentees can use to further their career at Sprint and nuture their personal and professional development.
  • Sprint works to match each mentee with a mentor whose history, career path and role within the company will be most relevant to the mentee’s interests.
  • Each mentor is encouraged to meet with his mentee group once a month for one year, at which point the program is re-opened so that new ERG members can sign up as mentees and new executives can sign up as mentors. When the program is re-opened for new applicants, existing mentors and mentees are encouraged to continue their participation.

The benefits provided from programs like this are multi-faceted. At the individual level, Sprint employees are able to receive feedback and networking to help advance their careers. These employees are then able to use their new skills to make Sprint a stronger competitor in the marketplace. The company as a whole benefits from these mentoring programs because by promoting and strengthening diversity in the workplace, Sprint is able to better serve its diverse customer base.

Becky Smith / Manager Inclusion & Leadership Development / Sprint
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Posted in Diversity, Successful Workplaces Digest | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Misbehavin’ Notification: United We Stand

Posted by YWM on May 21, 2009

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Historic Organizations Merge to Improve Workplaces for Women and Families

Nonprofit Focuses on Workforce Development and Workplace Policy

May 21, 2009, Washington, DC — Business and Professional Women/USA (BPW/USA) will merge with Business and Professional (BPW) Foundation effective July 1, 2009. 

BPW Foundation is dedicated to promoting and advocating for successful workplaces for women, families and their employers. BPW Foundation defines successful workplaces as work environments that embrace and practice diversity, equity and work life balance.

On Friday, May 15, 2009, BPW/USA members approved a friendly merger with its sister organization, BPW Foundation, ensuring that their advocacy and support for working women and families would continue. This merged organization represents over 143 years of combined experience and will offer membership opportunities.

“In this economic climate, the best business decision was to consolidate the two organizations’ assets in a fiscally sound manner, to continue our shared vision and improve workplaces for women,” said BPW/USA President, Diane Polangin. “This pragmatic business decision allows the united organization to thrive in today’s economy.”

BPW Foundation Chair Roslyn Ridgeway said, “The missions of BPW/USA and BPW Foundation have always been closely linked.  Energized by the merger, BPW Foundation will continue transforming today’s workplaces by focusing on issues that impact women, families and employers.”

“BPW Foundation brings together women, employers and policy makers to create change and expand workplace options, in order to develop an equitable and diverse workforce,” Ridgeway added.

“BPW/USA has always been at the forefront on issues important to working women. A merger with BPW Foundation will improve programming and resources for working women and employers seeking to create equitable workplaces,” says Polangin.  “BPW Foundation will continue to focus on public policy and will rely on grassroots activists to ensure that key issues are addressed at all levels.”

“Through our groundbreaking research and unique role as a neutral convener of employers and employees, we strive to redefine today’s workplace. A Successful Workplace is one where working women can succeed and businesses can profit,” said Ridgeway.  “BPW Foundation is leading the way to develop and advocate for policies and programs that ‘work’ for women and for business.”

With an enhanced mission, BPW Foundation will continue to support workforce development programs and workplace policies that recognize the diverse needs of working women, communities and businesses. Examples of ongoing work include:

  • Successful Workplaces Digest, a publication showcasing policies and best practices of companies that are improving the workplace. The Digest also highlights BPW Foundation’s role as the bridge between working women and employers to establish and sustain work environments that quite simply ‘work’ for women and families. 
  • Women Joining Forces: Closing Ranks, Opening Doors® , a program that provides resources and research to women veterans transitioning from the military into their civilian lives. The focus has been educating veterans and employers on the support necessary for a successful re-entry into the workforce. This unique research shines light on issues that are impacting all working women including pay equity, benefits such as paid sick leave and healthcare as well as career training and continuing education. 
  • The Young Careerist research project, an examination of the needs and challenges of Generations X and Y in today’s multi-generational workplace. This primary research gives voice to a distinct group of working women who are vital to developing a diverse and skilled workforce. This project dovetails with WJF program research. 
  • Women in non-traditional careers, an issue that BPW Foundation has historically studied. Research and program development will continue to ensure that women are represented and have access to careers in non-traditional industries. 
  • Career Transition Resources, an integrated focus area that addresses the three types of transition that women typically face: life-cycle induced, career-focused and market or workplace-induced. Resources include BPW Career Center which highlights the policies of women and veteran friendly employers, as well as financial assistance for professional development, training and education. 
  • Advocacy for workingwomen and families, a cornerstone for the work of BPW Foundation that will continue to inform and guide our research and programming and vice versa. We will mobilize our grassroots network in support of policies that promote successful workplaces for women and employers.  

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation is creating successful workplaces by focusing on issues that impact women, families and employers. Successful Workplaces are those that embrace and practice diversity, equity and work life balance.

BPW Foundation supports workforce development programs and workplace policies that recognize the diverse needs of working women, communities and businesses. BPW Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) research and education organization.

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Posted in Advocacy, BPW, Career Advancement, Diversity, Education, Families, Feminism, green, Misbehavin' Notification, Pay Equity, Research, Successful Workplaces, Successful Workplaces Digest, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Transformers…more than meets the eye…

Posted by joyinhome on May 14, 2009

transformerWorkplace Transformer (def’n): an organization that is changing its workplace and policies to meet the needs of employees through flexibility, equity and diversity.

BPW Foundation partners with Workplace Tranformers to create successful workplaces for women, families and employers. Learn more at www.bpwfoundation.org

Do you involved with a Worplace Transformer?

Posted in Career Advancement, Diversity, Families, Pay Equity, Successful Workplaces, Successful Workplaces Digest, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Commuter Benefits: Helping Employees, Employer and Environment

Posted by gansie on April 20, 2009

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This is one in a series of articles from BPW Foundation’s Successful Workplace Digest, a collection of the best work-life and progressive workplace practices from corporations, non-profits and government entities.

To honor Earth Day, this Wednesday, April 22, here is a selection highlighting how a company can have a major impact on the health of the planet.

Calvert, a socially responsible mutual funds firm, headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., has set industry standards for asset management excellence— both in selection of companies for portfolios and how the womanonbikeorganization serves its clients’ interests.

Calvert is actively committed to transparency and corporate responsibility which parlays into providing employees with a flexible, benefit-rich, family-friendly work environment. It is with this commitment in mind that offers commuter benefits in an effort to minimize the impact of commuting on employees and their families.

Calvert has offered commuter benefits to its employees for more than 20 years. This program demonstrates success from a socially responsible standpoint, encouraging and rewarding employees for using alternative methods of transportation.

Transportation Program Highlights

Bicycle and Walking Shoe Reimbursement

  • Employees are eligible for either a yearly reimbursement of $120 to cover the cost of shoes or a one-time reimbursement of $500 for the purchase of a bicycle.
  • Shower facility for the physically active commuter

Hybrid Vehicle Subsidy Program

  • All employees working at least 20 hours per week are eligible for a one-time reimbursement of $3,000 for the purchase, or $1,500 for the lease, of a new or used hybrid vehicle.

Win-Win Policy

Nearly 100 percent Participation

  • Benefits start on day one and with subsidies on parking and public transportation, as well as biking and walking, almost all employees receive transportation benefits. More than 30 percent of Calvert’s employees commute to and from work using a method other than driving.

Workplace Flexibility and Cost Savings

  • Telecommuting and compressed work weeks give employees the opportunity to spend more time with their families and less time commuting, thus taking their vehicles off of the road during the peak of rush hour. Employees typically save hundreds of dollars on an annual basis by simply participating in Calvert’s commuter benefits program, and Calvert saves money on office usage by telecommuting workers.

Recruiting and Retention

  • Calvert’s commuter benefits program helps attract new employees to an urban- suburban area, which can come with a costly commuting price.
  • Among other programs, transportation benefits help Calvert to attract new employees and retain current employees. While many companies work with high turnover rates, Calvert generally keeps more than 90 percent of its workforce each year and has an average employee tenure of more than 8 years.

By: Lauren Lefkowitz, PHR  / Human Resources / Calvert
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Posted in Global, green, Health, Successful Workplaces, Successful Workplaces Digest, Sustainability | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Untapped Talent: Women Veterans

Posted by sherrysaunders on March 24, 2009

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This is one in a series of articles from BPW Foundation’s Successful Workplace Digest,  a collection of the best work-life and progressive workplace practices from corporations, non-profits and government entities.

Between 1980 and 2007 the number of women veteran increased from 1.1 million to 1.7 million.  And as more women join up this number is only going to grow.  When these women leave the military they are often highly-skilled but civilian employers don’t know how to utilize these top performers.

One reason is that there are myths and misinformation about women veterans.  While in the military women have a high rate of success with opportunities to advance and hold high-ranking positions, but many misconceptions negatively influence women veterans’ capacity to transition successfully into civilian life.

While most veterans face similar problems as they transition from the military to the new world of civilian work, women veterans must deal with a different set of stereotypes and ignorance. The training, skills, discipline, team building and leadership experience cultivated within the military are all valuable to civilian employers, and women veterans can be as great an asset to employers as their male counterparts.

Here are some myths debunked by Business and Professional Women’s Foundation’s Research project, “Women Veterans in Transition.”  The facts should encourage employers to actively recruit and engage women veterans in their organizations.

MYTH Women are less capable than men of carrying out the physical tasks demanded by military work.

FACT The Defense Women’s Health Research Program (DWHRP) demonstrates conclusively that women are equal to men in the physical and cognitive aspects of military readiness, including meeting such physical challenges as the tolerance of gravity forces, the ability to respond to stress and the ability to survive in extremes of heat and cold.”1

MYTH Women have a hard time achieving success in the military.

FACT Approximately 95 percent of all jobs in the military are open to women.

›› The percentage of women serving on active duty in the military has more than doubled since 1978.

›› Women account for close to 20 percent of the U.S. Military.

›› Women account for the largest increase in enlistment.2

MYTH Women compromise the military’s efficiency and success because of on-duty days lost due to pregnancy and maternal leave.

FACT Statistically, men spend even more time away from active duty. For male soldiers, this is almost exclusively due to behavioral issues such as desertion, drug and alcohol abuse, incarceration or being AWOL.3

MYTH Most veterans are middle-aged.

FACT Thirty percent of female veterans are under the age of 35, compared to only 10 percent of male veterans.4 Read the rest of this entry »

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