Women adapt better to work environment
Banking Frontiers: When was the last time you have seen a huge increase in happiness among employees? Or a huge decline?
Deo Shankar Tripathi, CEO, Aadhar Housing Finance: Our company has grown exponentially in the past 3 years: 2015 to 2016, 2016 to 17 and 2017 to 2018. At the end of last year, we set ambitious targets that we did not know we could meet. But we set the bar high nonetheless because we expect top performance from ourselves and our employees. So, I was very glad to see that people in the company managed to achieve their targets and achieve many of the difficult and ambitious goals we set for ourselves. Their drive and motivation encouraged their performance at work and, as a result, the company did better than it ever has before. Therefore, the business prospered too as our revenues and collections were robust and profitable. This made employees very proud of their work.
In my extensive experience in various leadership roles, I have noticed that when the financial health of a company is strong, the employees feel happier and more secure in their lives. This is an interdependent phenomenon as well: the more a company performs well, the happier and more satisfied employees become because they also reap the benefits through bonuses, pay appraisals, and other perks and financial incentives. When employees are cheerful and self-assured, they bring that optimistic and confident energy to work with them. This kind of aura changes the office entirely because employees get increasingly motivated to keep performing better and better. And eventually, the company also benefits from this positive and determined attitude.
In many things in life, men and women have quite different expectations. Do you find men and women having similar or different expectations about work related success and happiness?
The fact that the men and women surveyed by Banking Frontiers reported similar levels of happiness is definitely interesting, especially because men make up a large majority of the respondents - about two-thirds. I will answer both questions on the difference or similarity between men and women’s happiness because they are connected and complex.
Many of us probably think that men and women have very different - and sometimes opposite - expectations from life, including in the workplace. Some of us may believe that women prefer a smoother and less hectic pace at work because they are geared towards family life. Others may think that men are more career-oriented or focused on professional success. However, these opinions might be outdated. In recent years, women empowerment movements have steadily gained speed and we need not guess at what women want or expect because they simply tell us.
Women expect to be treated equal to men in the workplace for the same work. The more respectful and equitable a professional environment is, the more likely it is that women will be happier there. Women are also more content when they have a good work-life balance and friendly but professional employers. Another important factor for women in the workplace is having female leaders at all levels of management who can serve as mentors and role models. Having women in positions of influence throughout the company benefits employers as well because they are able to represent other female employees and even target audiences for products who may be women.
Women, especially those who want to be mothers, will be more satisfied with flexibility and paid leave. Hence, building a work culture that is conducive to family-building like allowing remote work, providing childcare or babysitting facilities, and giving the opportunity to make up for emergency leaves can aid happiness, whether the parent is a man or a woman.
Hence, it seems that women and men do not have radically different expectations, which is also what the survey results are telling us. Both are happy with fair treatment, good working and professional relationships, and the opportunity to rise through the ranks and without compromising on their personal lives in the process by missing family functions like weddings and birthdays.