- Men want to support women but don't know how, a new Fairygodboss survey unveiled. When asked if they wanted to help women advance in the workplace, 87.5% of the 400 men surveyed said yes and 12.5% said no.
- The majority of respondents (56%) cited the biggest obstacle to helping women advance was being unsure of how to help. Other barriers were "there are not enough women in the workplace" (24%), "women don't seem to want my help" (20%), "I'm afraid I'll face backlash" (17%) and "women can be difficult to work with" (12%).
- The respondents said the best thing they could do for women was to advocate for them (39%), mentor them (31%), promote them (13%) and hire them (12%). When asked what women could do to make it easier for men to be allies, nearly half the respondents said "tell me how I can help" and 28% said "communicate with me more."
Employment experts have routinely encouraged men to ally with women and help them thrive in the workplace. Such a partnership requires a commitment from men that goes beyond buzzwords, bumper stickers and buttons, Duane Morris Partner and Managing Principal Jonathan A. Segal told attendees at the 2018 Society for Human Resource Management annual conference. Segal asked men to "be affirmative partners" and "to stand up and speak out" when they see sexism in the workplace.
Employers and HR have a role in aiding men who want to help the women in their organizations succeed. This role includes training employees on equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws and enforcing anti-bias and anti-harassment policies, according to an HR Dive opinion written by NAVEX Global VP Ingrid Fredeen. In the post-#MeToo business world, employers also may need to be frank with men in addressing their possible fear of risk in mentoring or even interacting with women, she wrote. Employers must communicate with their employees about the standards of behavior they expect, and enforce those rules when they're broken, Fredeen said.
Women can take a cue from men in the Fairygodboss survey by telling men how they can help and asking for the promotions or raises they think they've earned and deserve. HR may encourage these alliances through mentorship, sponsorships and diversity and inclusion initiatives.