#Success: Empowering Female Employees

March 27, 201919min

When it comes to barriers to success that women face in the workplace, low confidence can be a major factor.

All too often, women can find a lack of self-belief gets in the way of them thriving in the workplace.

The employee needs to be their own cheerleader, but it helps for management to encourage their workforce to come out of their shells and drive their careers forward. Plus, people working harder or better helps your bottom line.

So, how do you do that? We at retailer Public Desire looked at social media data to help answer the question, creating a map of Instagram Capitals of Confidence. This included finding out which UK cities saw women feeling most positive and confident in the workplace, and speaking to female entrepreneurs to find out how they’ve been able to thrive. 

Where businesswomen are finding confidence

Social media hashtags like #success and #career are a good indicator of how people feel about their work. We looked at which cities see the highest use of these hashtags compared to the number of people living there, pinpointing where people are feeling the most positive about their careers.

When it comes to #success, London saw the highest use of this hashtag, followed by Bournemouth, and then Brighton.

Ranking

City

Number of posts

Number of posts as % of population

1

London

253963

0.03360677

2

Bournemouth

3300

0.020171149

3

Brighton

2188

0.015740894

4

Manchester

5104

0.012904694

5

Birmingham

4452

0.00452286

6

Leeds

1788

0.003928608

7

Bristol

1409

0.00327132

8

City of London

18997

0.002513862

9

Liverpool

655

0.001396752

Posts with #career suggest that people are so happy at work they’re willing to shout about it on their personal channels. Peterborough racked up the highest uses of this hashtag, followed by Liverpool and then Leeds.

Ranking

City

Number of posts

Number of posts as % of population

1

Peterborough

45782

0.326685267

2

Liverpool

16035

0.034193775

3

Leeds

14756

0.032422005

4

Manchester

8996

0.022745029

5

Cardiff

6201

0.020523666

6

Southampton

4027

0.016356554

7

Birmingham

4676

0.004750425

8

Glasgow

2136

0.003500102

9

London

15001

0.001985073

10

City of London

1976

0.000261483

The question is, what is it that drives this positive thinking and how can this be applied to the workforce? We spoke to several female entrepreneurs to find out.

Collaboration is key

Collaboration among women is key to female success. Erin Thomas, founder of online community Making Mumpreneurs, explains how women working together can boost confidence.

She said: “The challenges we face are often down to mindset – low confidence, being too self-critical, and a fear of failure. I think these can be overcome the more you surround yourself with like-minded female entrepreneurs.”

Similarly, Louise Deverell-Smith, founder of online platform Daisy Chain, which connects parents with childcare-friendly employers, explained how women can be good at lifting each other up. She said: “I do find that women love to help other women… there is a real sisterhood vibe in business with women.”

Meanwhile, Stud & Tassel founder Emily Straw spoke about how working alone can be a downside.

“Working independently definitely brings its own challenges and I sometimes wish I had someone to bounce ideas off and share in the success,” she said.

For business owners and managers, this means that encouraging collaboration between your female employees and creating a culture of positive reinforcement could boost confidence among your workers and bring a positive attitude to the company.

Send your workers to female-focussed events

To encourage collaboration among your female employees, consider sending them to events and groups for women, where they can meet like-minded professionals, learn from their peers, and give each other encouragement.

Certainly, the amount of events like this could be part of the reason why London ranked highly for hashtags that showed confidence among businesspeople. Emily Straw said: “There are always female-focused events to attend and I have personally found value in learning from the success of other women while making new friends.”

Similarly, Erin Thomas praises the community in Bournemouth too. “There are lots of women in business networking opportunities, which makes me feel right at home,” noted Erin.

“I find the small business community here incredibly supportive, positive and collaborative.”

Yet there is more that can be done than simply encouraging women to help each other. Changes within the way your business works can help too.

Allow flexible working

With many businesswomen juggling family commitments with full-time work, flexible working can be a huge support. Again, this is another thing that could explain the social media trend towards success in London. Louise Deverell-Smith agrees, adding: “I think having Sadiq Khan as our mayor of London is fantastic as he is often talking about flexible working and helping working parents – which is our focus at Daisy Chain.”

What this shows is that giving working mums room to manoeuvre will encourage them to stay in your company, which also nurtures a drive to thrive and a positive outlook on your business.

Create a social media buzz

The businesswomen we spoke to cited social media for the positive impact it has had on their careers, both for offering a platform for them to talk about their successes and to strike up a conversation with your customers.

Managing Director at Brighton Gin, Kathy Caton said: “Instagram has let us show the outside world the genuinely small-batch, craft nature of what we do, and with personality too. One of the things I love about social media is we can have direct conversations with our end customers and them with us without going through gatekeepers.”

Similarly, Managing Director at BC Beauty, Maria Lloyd, added: “We have our own Facebook group where women can interact, ask each other questions and so on. From looking at that, I see nothing but women supporting each other and celebrating each other’s successes. It makes me very proud to see!”

Empowering female employees is vital for utilising all the expertise and abilities available in your workforce. Making moves to inspire the women in your workplace to collaborate, getting them to network with their peers and helping them juggle their home life with their working life will give them a much more positive outlook about themselves and your company.


Tayyab Akhlaq

Tayyab Akhlaq

Tayyab Akhlaq is Director of women's footwear online retailer Public Desire.




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