Like expert panels, our experienced professionals had views and wisdom to give, and we are sharing some of their thoughts in the hope that they might be useful for others.
So, if you’re looking for insight into how women are shaping the cutting edge of the global payroll and HR landscapes, take a few moments to explore the views of some of our activpayroll team members..
Advice to career starters..
Starting with advice our panellists would give, will give, or have given to their daughters at the start of their careers, there was a clear theme across both sessions – be confident in yourself.
Do not let anyone put you down, always believe in yourself, don’t be deterred or diverted from pursuing the path you have chosen.
And do not worry too much about being what you feel you are supposed to be or how much you think you should earn – focus on working on things that really suit you, choose the career that will fit you best.
As our panels talked about careers and careers advice it was clear that in their experience everyone needs help with careers and finding their way – this is not just an issue for women.
Mentoring, coaching, guidance all matter in a career regardless of gender.
On being yourself..
Having said you should follow your path, our panels recognised the challenge of dealing with other people’s reactions to you being you – the need to avoid defensiveness and to understand that others views and pushbacks are usually not personal. And whilst our panellists were clear - don’t take things to heart – they also understood that sometimes in a career you will need to confront things, call out bad behaviour, say when something isn’t right.
Not taking things personally, whilst sticking up for yourself as a person, is a tricky balance to strike.
Experience has also told some of our panellists that they could have been more confident, more fearless, earlier in their careers. They could have expressed their opinions more clearly, more often even amongst dominant people. A key lesson: there are no wrong opinions, and you should never be afraid to say something.
On raising children..
One other theme emerged around the topic of our children – not about when they start their careers, but as they are growing up. The advice was to raise your kids to know they are equal, to treat others equally regardless of gender, to be respectful, and to treat others as they would want to be treated. And don’t let prior gender stereotypes – like male jobs and female jobs at home, or societal expectations – drive your own expectations on your children.
Just in case there were any lingering doubts – raising children is not “a mother’s job” which the father “helps with” – it’s both their jobs.
On being superwoman..
Our panel asserted that you can successfully be a parent and build a career; maybe at activpayroll we are lucky, but the sense was that you do not have to choose between work and family. In the same breath, our panels also acknowledged that there is a limit to what you can achieve and keep yourself safe – wanting to be superwoman, or believing that you need to be superwoman, or feeling guilty when you are not superwoman - can be a recipe for disaster and you have to know when you are taking on too much.
Have her back..
We talked in some detail about what colleagues of every gender could do that would contribute to further #BreakTheBias. In acknowledging a lot of progress in the professional workplace – and a sense that biased people are now in the minority, outliers not the norm – two things came through strongly. Firstly, have her back.
Give her confidence to know she has your support when she needs it.
And secondly, be really conscious of your impact, and judge yourself not by your intention but on what you actually do, say, and reinforce. If you intend to be a supporter, make sure your words and your deeds are coherent with your intention.
Changes to come..
Our panellists also felt that there are more changes in the workplace that would be welcomed: two things were highlighted. Firstly, women’s health – especially around periods, reproductive health and menopause – is still something of a taboo in the workplace but would usefully be more acknowledged and incorporated into how we work. And secondly, the need for more chances to be taken by putting talented women into roles that are maybe not seen as traditional or recognised paths – a little more thoughtful risk taking would be welcome.
Our panellists were like everyone at activpayroll, regardless of gender: smart, thoughtful, courageous, supportive, a bit bold and a lot insightful. At activpayroll we are proud to have had a female CEO who founded and built the company, and proud now as the new leadership team build on that legacy and create our future with our amazing professionals of all genders throughout the world. We hope very much that these thoughts from just a few of our brilliant people will be useful or at least, food for thought.