Organizations of women within a company can boost the bottom line of the company as well as support the women employees, according to the Financial Women’s Association, an organization designed to support women in financial and other industries.
Known as Women’s Internal Networks (WINs), these associations of women within companies have grown over the past decade, according to the FWA, which talked with human resources directors at 21 large financial companies. The association also surveyed 583 women employees and released the results during a webinar on Tuesday.
“The surprising finding is that WINs can have a positive impact on the bottom line,” said FWA Executive Director Jennifer Openshaw. “Businesses may view them initially as a socially responsible initiative when, in fact, successful ones are idea generators and can be profit-producing for business areas.”
Human resources and diversity leaders from the companies told the association that WINs increase interaction among female employees, creating synergies that can play an instrumental role in advancing business objectives. The networks also increase employee engagement and reduce attrition, they say. Thirty-nine percent of the women surveyed say their firm’s WIN is a factor in staying with the firm.
For women employed by companies that do not have a women’s network, 77 percent say they would join if their organizations had one. Forty percent of women feel men should be allowed in the networks to gain perspectives from the women, but 60 percent want to keep the networks as a safe place for women alone to interact.
According to the FWA, women’s networks need to also promote external networking opportunities and focus on job education rather than personal topics.