Werk wants to help women find work flexibility without penalization
- Anna Auerbach and Annie Dean co-founded a company called Werk whose mission is to allow women to work flexibility without being denied advancement opportunities. “It’s time for us to demand a work environment that is not designed for our failure but for our success,” Auerbach told Fast Company, referring to how women's careers are often derailed when they take time off to raise families or leave the workforce entirely and later return.
- Werk's main offering is a job board that's been operating since February, says Fast Company. Employers pay to post openings on the site, and job hunters pay $48 to access the job market. Each opening must offer flexible work hours and allow employees to leave the workplace on short notice, if necessary. Also, employees must have advancement opportunities, including promotions.
- According to Fast Company, Werk has 150 hiring partners and has so far handled 4,000 job applications. The firm is expected to grow with venture capital funding from women-focused investors.
Women's careers are often derailed after they take off time to raise a family or care for family members. Auerbach and Dean want to reverse that long-term trend for women. And through Werk's job board, female job seekers can find employers who value work flexibility and also are committed to their advancement. Employer commitment is critical; more companies are considering flexible work schedules a recruitment necessity, but a commitment to women's advancement underscores their value to the workplace.
Workplace trends come and go, but one has held steady: employees like flexible work schedules. A CareerBuilder poll of 3,696 full-time U.S. employees found that 61% of the respondents think the traditional 9-to-5 job is a thing of the past. Employers who don't offer flexible schedules stand to lose out on recruiting top talent to employers who offer flexibility.
Studies show that women still struggle with trying to balance personal responsibilities without jeopardizing their careers. One study found that men who requested flexible work schedules were considered productive and committed to their work. By contrast, women who requested flexibility were thought to be asking for fluid work schedules just to attend to family matters. Furthermore, men's requests were granted 70% of the time, compared with just 57% for women.
HR can monitor practices that are discriminatory and enforce no-tolerance workplace policies. HR managers can see that requests for flexible work schedules are neither accepted or denied in favor of one gender over another. They also can review how managers select employees for advancement to ensure that women aren't being unfairly passed over.