Forbes recently released its annual list of America’s Best Employers for Women, with Costco leading the retail and wholesale sector by making an impressive jump from No. 379 last year to No. 7 this year. Another standout organization on the list is UW Medicine, ranking 14th, which prides itself on promoting women to leadership positions throughout the company.
Cynthia Hecker, CEO of UW Medical Center, reflects on her 42-year journey with UW Medicine as both a nurse and an executive leader. She attributes her success to the early mentorship she received from a female executive more than 25 years ago, which inspired and paved the way for other women to follow suit. Hecker, in turn, now serves as a mentor for other women within the organization.
Despite advancements in promoting female leadership, some women seek alternative career paths to maintain work-life balance. Sarah Raudenbush, a business transformation consultant, and M&A advisor, reveals that many women are overwhelmed and burnt out, leading them to downshift in their careers. The pandemic further exacerbated the issue, blurring the lines between work and personal life for female executives.
In response, organizations like the University of Oklahoma are implementing initiatives to enhance work-life balance. Dorothy Anderson, the University’s vice president for human resources and chief human resources officer, highlights benefits such as paid parental leave, flexible work schedules, remote work policies, and female-centric health programs like on-site mammograms. The focus is on creating a supportive and inclusive environment where all employees, including women, feel valued and heard.
According to the Women in the Workplace report, flexible work schedules are a priority for nearly half of women leaders when considering employment opportunities, compared to only 34% of men leaders. Moreover, only a small percentage of women prefer to work primarily on-site.
The Forbes ranking underscores the importance of companies prioritizing the advancement and well-being of women in the workplace. Organizations can attract and retain talented women by creating nurturing environments that support work-life balance and offer flexible work arrangements, resulting in a more diverse and inclusive workforce.