Women in Business, Part I
Women in Business Part 1
By Cherie Shepard, Director of Packaging & Material Handling, DRI
Direct Recruiters and Direct Consulting Associates recently created a Women’s Organization. While the idea of establishing a women’s group may sound very 1970’s; beginning our Women’s Group is far from exchanging recipes, diets or “how to’s” of child rearing. We didn’t begin this organization to divide ourselves from the men in our company (no they are not included). We did it to give us a chance to bond and grow personally and professionally. We want to encourage our employees to feel a part of our company and to develop the skills to speak in a public open format which can be a short fall of women in business. We each bring a unique set of skills, life events and experiences that offer new ideas and discussions.
When starting a women’s group it is important to establish some ground rules and plans of action to make it successful.
1) Have a plan of action at each meeting
We are extremely fortunate. We have a culture where there is a good deal of comradery together with a lot of fun. For this reason we know we had to have an agenda for our meetings. We want to make sure we stay on task and on time. Let’s face it we all have jobs to do and having a meeting where we just keep circling around no specific idea is a time stealer. Prior to our meeting we send an article, video or podcast to the group to be viewed ahead of time. This gives us a poignant conversation piece to bring to the discussion.
2) Meetings are not an open forum to complain about your company or management
Any time a group of employees gets together, whether it is over lunch or drinks, the topic of conversation can move toward the negative. Our goal is if there is a situation that is frustrating for one or more of us we discuss it; having our conversations become negative is counterproductive to the success of our organization. Situations that arise can produce suggestions to fix a problem; they also open a non-judgmental forum and help bring clarity to an experience.
3) Make it fun
Just because we are at work and we are professionals we still want to enjoy ourselves. Most of us are not golfers or basketball players. Shocking but true. So we don’t have the same bonding times that these activities offer. So we try to schedule our meetings around other things. Some ideas are a picnic, a wine tasting and a painting party for starters. Even something as simple as walking during our lunch break for some physical activity enables us to get together and connect.
What ideas do you have for a group like this in your organization?
(Stay tuned for Part 2 on how this type of group can benefit your company)