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#InspireInclusion: Measuring the Impact of Celebration

Walr + WIRe

March 3, 2024

More and more women are pushing themselves to achieve their career goals — whether going out for leadership roles, starting businesses, or performing the delicate dance of work-life balance while maintaining caretaking responsibilities at home. But are they adequately recognized by their workplace and industry for their achievements? In a year marked by Best Director snubs, a renewed focus on the bodies and romantic relationships of impactful women, and intentional lapses in important healthcare legislation regulating women’s bodies, it seems women are being recognized — but for all the wrong reasons.

Celebration for one’s contributions in the workplace is an essential key performance indicator in team member happiness and, in turn, workplace wellness. This International Women’s Day, we’ve partnered with Walr, the data creation specialists, to explore the prevalence and impact of celebration on the careers of women in Research in the US, UK, and India. In so doing, we’ve revealed significant cultural workplace differences across these markets, as well as gaps and opportunities for leaders globally. Here’s what we’ve found:

And the Award Goes To…

Across all markets, the experience of being awarded or highlighted for their contributions was essential to women in research. A UK-based respondent noted, "...there needs to be more recognition for women's contributions [...] we still have to go through men to get something approved." An India-based respondent observed that awards do not have to come as a trophy or certificate. Instead, they can be "formal leadership development programs, mentorship programs, and other initiatives that support gender equity in the workplace." she noted. "By providing these opportunities, we can help to break down barriers and promote a more inclusive and diverse workplace."

53% of women say they have received an award or accolade for their workplace contributions. Interestingly, this drops significantly in the UK to 40%. In contrast, India seems to have a strong culture of recognition, as the majority of women surveyed in this country (68%) say they've received an award for their work. While overall, more than half (53%) of women say that the criteria for receiving promotions and rewards are apparent in their company, this drops to 32% among British women. For UK-based companies and leaders, there is a "recognition gap" to be filled — both in communicating opportunities to grow in the workplace and celebrating women employees themselves.

One trend we did see time and time again: with experience comes clarity. Women with more than seven years of experience (64%) understood how to get a promotion compared to their junior colleagues (44%). Programs targeting junior-level employees can ease this imbalance and set workers up for long-term success.

Confidence is Contagious

One often overlooked aspect of workplace recognition is the confidence to speak up and share their contributions. Regarding confidence in expressing ideas at work, half of all women (52%) say they feel very comfortable. But again, the contrast between India and the UK is very pronounced. In India, 73% of women say they are comfortable expressing their ideas. This figure drops to 49% in the US, and just a third (34%) of British women say they feel very comfortable expressing their ideas at work. A US-based respondent urged, "Our managers, CEOs, whatever [they] need to open their eyes and see how much we women do around here, not just at home." US and UK-based leadership teams should evaluate the tactics and platforms provided for employees to share their expertise for hidden or overt bias and make an effort to outwardly recognize team member contributions regardless of their ability to communicate their efforts. 

Overall, 66% of women feel confident in their company's ability to create an inclusive environment for women. This number jumps to 83% in India but drops to 57% in the USA and UK, respectively. A UK-based respondent suggested that leaders crafting a more supportive workplace should "[allow for a] safe space for women to share ideas without group bias." Greater racial and cultural diversity was generally called for across all markets; a US-based respondent noted that "...people of color can be treated equally in the company, but very few are taken care of. The system needs to be improved even more."

This Calls for Celebration

Most of the time, women feel their companies are good at recognizing employee contributions. Age, however, greatly impacted respondent feedback; younger women were more likely to feel that their contributions had been overlooked. The presence of an in-place, company-based recognition program in one's workplace seems to be directly correlated with a positive experience of workplace recognition, but that wasn't always an indicator that those programs themselves were inclusive. Overall, 53% of women felt that their company's recognition programs were inclusive, with 55% of UK women and 40% of US women feeling that there was room for improvement in this space. 

In the words of American businesswoman Tori Burch, "We need to get women to the point where they aren't apologizing. It's time to take ownership in our success." While workplace recognition programs go a long way toward overall employee satisfaction, women especially need dedicated spaces to own their contributions and expertise in an unbiased and supportive environment. If you are re-evaluating your current programs, work with your gender and racially-diverse staff to ensure equity and eradicate bias from your recognition process. And, if the platform on which women in your organization will be celebrated has yet to be built, the time to start doing so is now!

About the Author

Walr + WIRe

Walr was founded in October 2020 to support insight professionals with unparalleled data creation via industry-leading audience access, powerful technology, and thoughtful consultation.

With over 400 years of collective experience and a suite of proprietary tools, Walr offers the research industry seamless data collection, access to an audience of millions, and impactful data visualization and reporting.  

The combination of Walr’s data creation solutions and expert advice allows researchers to focus on what they do best: using data to unearth actionable insights. 

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