It’s no secret that the home furnishings industry is male-dominated.
And while organizations like WithIt—a group for professional women in our industry—are working to change that, we all have a part to play.
The FAM recently read a news story about how American Freight Furniture and Mattress was recently ordered to pay $5 million in monetary relief and provide job opportunities to women who were denied hiring in sales or warehouse jobs at the company.
But even more important than the fact that American Freight was wrong to do this, we need to focus on why companies should be looking to hire women.
“Companies that don’t have women in their businesses are missing out,” says Amy Van Dorp, WithIt’s director. “They’re missing out on the voice of the consumer, they’re missing out on being able to provide an exceptional experience for their female consumers. And that kind of knowledge only comes from somebody within they can’t just pull it out of the air or do it through customer surveys.”
If you only have one voice in the room, that’s the only opinion you’re getting—that’s true whether you’re talking about race, gender, or ethnicity.
And there’s research out there to prove it.
According to a Gallup poll, female bosses are better at engaging employees when compared to their male counterparts. And a report by the company suggests that women help boost employee morale and engagement by encouraging the growth and development of their subordinates and provide positive feedback on a regular basis.
In fact, since the 1960s, business leaders and researchers said that giving women more opportunities in the workplace would yield positive results.
The Anita Borg Institute found that a “wealth of research over the last decade has proven that companies benefit when they actively recruit develop advanced women. Study after study demonstrates that innovation-driven enterprises that strive for inclusion are better positioned to capture exceptional talent reduce turnover costs, enhance organizational performance, and build a robust pipeline for developing leaders.”
Some of the advantages they discovered are:
- Because women have purchasing power, those who employ more women in key roles are better equipped to meet the needs of the broader market because women know what women want.
- Women bring valuable perspectives and approaches to the ideation process, which results in more innovative solutions to complex problems.
- Studies show that diverse groups solve problems more effectively than homogenous ones, leading to better performance and giving teams that include women, a competitive edge,
- Companies that have developed women in roles at every level are able to find more qualified applicants.
In honor of Women’s History Month, take a closer look at your hiring practices and make sure they’re up to date, fair, and unbiased. The only way we can achieve change is if everyone works together toward a common goal.