Unlocked: What Women in the Workplace Need


November 2, 2021

According to the World Economic Forum, women lost 36 years of progress in 2020 alone, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 36 years! That number is staggering. Despite comprising nearly half of the workforce and earning more than half of all college degrees, women still only represent 25% of executives and senior managers, hold less than 5% of CEO jobs, and occupy less than 20% of board seats at S&P 500 companies.

The overwhelming scope and complexity of this issue can feel debilitating, and as if there’s no clear place to start. But here at Imperative, we focus on the bright spots and recent research points to two areas that can make a meaningful impact: strong networks and access to coaching.

The Power of Networks

Researcher and network expert Rob Cross found that there were specific types of networks that are particularly valuable for women:

“Women fall out of the upwardly mobile category when they focus on creating closely knit networks and don’t tap broad networks to get work done and to increase exposure to important stakeholders. Recent research suggests that women who form strong and tightly knit connections with each other are more likely to achieve leadership positions than are other women (and men) as long as they also have boundary-spanning relationships.”

His analysis goes even further to further break down the different categories of boundary spanning relationships that are most impactful:

  • Emergence/Creativity Ties: Bridges across two siloed thought worlds, such as expertise domains and functions, to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas
  • Depth/Best Practice Ties: Connections between people with similar expertise—across geography, company, or functional lines—to promote depth or efficiency of work
  • Professional Growth Ties: Relationships with informal mentors, especially those who maintain accountability for network development
  • Vertical Ties: Relationships with formal or informal sponsors, who play an important role in the career trajectory of men and women
  • Sensemaking/Landscape Ties: Bridges between disparate people that enable an accurate picture of the stakeholder network relative to critical tasks.

The Power of Coaching

  The impact of coaching is well known and well researched, but a recent study revealed that while 22% of men have been given access to coaching through their employer, only 16% of women were offered similar opportunities. In fact, the study found that while men and women both gained skills from coaching, there are key areas where women grew more relative to men.

Those key areas are:

  1.  Physical thriving

  2.  Self-awareness

  3.  Inclusive leadership

  4.  Employee experience

TL;DR: women can uniquely benefit from coaching and are offered coaching opportunities less than men.

Democratizing Coaching & Accessible Networks

Access is the biggest barrier to giving women the coaching opportunities and the networks they need to thrive.  Historically, building the types of networks that are proven to be most effective for women was impossible to scale and coaching was too expensive to give to every person. Peer Coaching on Imperative’s platform makes it possible for every woman (and person) to build these powerful networks while experiencing the power of coaching.

How Does It Work?

Based on years of research and expertise, Imperative matches peers across a company for regular guided coaching conversations.

Every two weeks, peers are guided through a personalized conversation that is scientifically engineered to be psychologically safe, positive, reflective, and energizing. Every quarter, they’re matched with a new peer, building that boundary-spanning network.

Does It *Actually* Work?

Our trailblazing clients like Zillow, Hasbro, and Boston Scientific have seen these results across their organization by using the Imperative Platform:

  • Deeper Connections—89% of connections created build a meaningful and sustained relationship
  • Personal Growth—78% of employees report peer coaching made them more successful
  • Holistic Wellbeing—Employees leave each conversation with 2.4X more positive emotions

Our mission at Imperative is to humanize work and make work more fulfilling for every person.  Let’s chat about how we can bring this to life for your company: hello@imperative.com

P.S. RSVP for our live webinar with Jane Finette: author, speaker and Formerly a Big Tech executive, Jane has dedicated her life to achieving equality for women by empowering them to make a global impact about how to support women in the new workplace.

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