How to Break the Glass Ceiling: Career Development
What is the glass ceiling theory? In the field of sociology, the glass ceiling is a metaphorical barrier that keeps women and minorities from reaching upper levels of career advancement. The idea suggests that while white men are capable of easily rising to the top in business, women and minority employees at the same level of skill and experience are held back by an unseen prejudicial force—like a physical ceiling that must be broken before further advancement is possible.
How to Break the Glass Ceiling
Of course, it would be ideal if society could eliminate the glass ceiling altogether. Unfortunately, the complex socioeconomic and political issues involved make it a difficult task to achieve. In the meantime, there are a number of things companies can do to help women and minority employees continue their business development:
- Focus on employees' skills and career potential.
There is a psychological tendency to hire those who are like oneself. If the top levels of the company are made up of predominantly white males, it's important to be keenly aware of this psychological bias and try to focus strictly on a candidate's talent and potential.
- Actively work to reduce bias.
Make sure that your company gives employees a fair shake at every point in their career development. All feedback should be honest and fair. There should also be a system of checks and balances with regard to evaluation to help reduce the risk of bias.
- Improve flex-time opportunities to allow for better work-family balance.
Because women are often the most affected by the overlap between career and family life, companies should offer fair flex-time options that allow women to balance work and home life comfortably without risking their job performance (or the perception thereof).
- Crack down on discrimination among employees.
Adopting a strict, zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination against women and minorities can help to make clear that preventing these employees from advancing or having certain opportunities will not be tolerated. All claims of such discrimination should be properly investigated, and the company should stand firm on the consequences.
- Openly fight stereotypes.
Ambitious women are often viewed as being “too aggressive” while men are more readily praised for their drive. Likewise, minority employees are sometimes stereotyped as having been promoted solely to meet diversity standards. Make it known throughout your company that these are false stereotypes and work toward creating a better understanding of women's and minority issues in the workplace.
Prudential Work Uniforms Can Foster an Environment of Professionalism and Equality
To avoid the psychological assumptions and biases that can occur with an open dress code, you may want to consider providing your employees with a company-branded uniform or professional workwear featuring a logo and/or name tag. By enlisting the help of uniform companies to develop a standard look for your team, your company can help to naturally reduce biases based on the way a person dresses.
Prudential Overall Supply is a work uniform company that has been providing businesses with a variety of workwear, facilities supplies, cleaning services and more since 1932. To learn more about our custom work apparel and services, contact us today at (800) 767-5536.