What Women Want

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My husband, Ray, who works at the Denver Children’s Hospital, recently sent me this article from Carrie Vaughan, leadership editor with HealthLeaders Magazine. I think there are parallels in children’s ministry. So why not learn from this for women volunteers and staff?

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More than 80% of the people who work in healthcare are female. Only 9% of women who work in the healthcare industry are very satisfied with their work/life balance, according to a recent study by the Studer Group. On average, "women said one time per week that they have to make a decision where they feel they are deciding between their family and their job," says Quint Studer, founder and CEO of the Gulf Breeze, FL organization. "That is a sobering statistic."

Nearly 8,000 women took the survey, including nurses (23%), administrators (22%), physicians (2%), and other healthcare positions like therapists and lab personnel (53%). Studer says the top three things that impacted work/life balance were:

  1. A supervisor that’s supportive.
  2. Professional development.
  3. Concierge services.

(As healthcare leaders seek to find ways to improve their female employees’ work/life balance, maybe we in children’s ministry can learn from them.) Of course, improving the work/life balance for women is no doubt a puzzle for many male-dominated executive teams. But the solutions don't have to be complex—there are steps organizations can take right now. Here are six:

  1. Listen. Women don't want to be told what to do. They want to be asked for input, says Studer. For example, rather than telling women how you are responding to a challenge, consider saying, "Here is what is happening, what do you think?"
  2. Connect with women on a personal level. This may be a Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus issue. Healthcare (and the church) is still dominated by male C-suites that have created workplace cultures that are comfortable to them, says Studer. This may mean keeping personal and professional relationships separate. The problem is that many women want to work for someone who cares about them on a personal level. Studer says senior leaders need to create a culture that’s best for everyone in the organization, not necessarily the environment that’s most comfortable for them.
  3. Make sure systems and tools work. No one wants to come to work every day only to encounter inefficient and ineffective processes. It's frustrating to have to work longer hours because systems aren't operating correctly. It’s the senior leaders' responsibility to ensure that their employees aren’t wasting their time working around problems.
  4. Involve women in the hiring process. Women understand that teamwork is crucial in healthcare. As a result, they want to be involved in hiring their coworkers. (Boy! I wish this one was used more!)
  5. Ask women what concierge services they want. You may be surprised what you discover. They may want help finding the right daycare, or homecare for family members, or getting oil changed in their car, or dry cleaning. Meet with your employees to find out what services would really benefit them the most.
  6. Be flexible. It's hard for healthcare organizations to offer flexible scheduling options if they have staff shortages or high turnover rates. But flexibility is an important component to attracting future healthcare workers and retaining the staff members you already have, Studer says. For example, if you work with a nurse who suddenly has to cut back hours, often that nurse will eventually return to work full-time.

 

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About Author

Christine Yount Jones

Christine has more than 26 years of children’s ministry experience. She is the Executive Editor of Children’s Ministry Magazine, has authored many books and articles on children’s ministry, and serves as Group’s Children’s Ministry Champion. She’s responsible for development and innovation of new resources.

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