August Newsletter for the Utah Women & Leadership Project at Utah State University.
100 Companies Championing Women: An Analysis of Best Practices for Utah Companies
Research confirms that many Utah women are not thriving in their workplace environments. With the current talent shortage and the rising expectations of workers today—and for the state to continue to see economic success well into the future—Utah’s workplaces must create cultures that better support all Utahns.
Many state leaders boast that Utah is at the forefront of innovative and awe-inspiring economic opportunity initiatives, with accolades that include the best-managed state in America, the best economic outlook, and the best state to start a business. However, for the past eight years, Utah has been ranked as WalletHub’s worst state for women’s equality, ranking 48 out of 50 in “workplace environment.” This includes disparity in income levels and share of executive positions.
Study BackgroundTo address the complex challenge, in 2022, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, the Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP), and the Cox–Henderson Administration partnered to launch a one-year initiative titled 100 Companies Championing Women (100 CCW). It was part of the Inspire InUtah campaign’s mandate to support women in the workplace at all levels, including entrepreneurs. Specifically, the 100 CCW highlighted businesses around the state that have incorporated family-friendly policies and practices and have implemented programs that improve recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing women employees and leaders.
This research and policy brief represents a culmination of the 2023 100 CCW campaign and provides an analysis of the quantitative and qualitative best practices collected through the nominations. Because of the success of this year's campaign, nominations will open again in August 2023 for a second-year campaign.
- Sectors/Industries: The 100 companies represent a variety of sectors and industries, including marketing, healthcare, insurance, nonprofit, technology, finance, retail, manufacturing, and arts.
- Counties: Salt Lake County, 55%; Utah County, 25%; Davis County, 9%; and other counties throughout Utah, 11%.
- Total Employees: Fewer employees than 24, 31%; 1,000 or more, 23%; 25-49, 13%; 100-299, 12%; 300-999, 11%; and 50-99, 10%.
- Length of Operation: 16 years or more, 51%; 4-8 years, 24%; 3 years or less, 13%; and 9-15 years, 12%.
Overall, the most commonly noted family-friendly policies and women-focused initiatives included: flexible work hours and location, 90%; remote work, 87%; pay equity efforts, 84%; Utah companies working to diversify their managers and leaders at mid- to senior levels, 80%; and paid family leave, 76%.
The least-selected policies and initiatives included: tuition reimbursement, 10%; return-to-work programs, 19%; childcare support, 21%; job sharing, 21%; and part-time work with benefits, 26%.
For the “Family-Specific Policies and Benefits” specifically, the ones collected included: paid family leave, 76%; back-to-work maternity support, 68%; unpaid family leave, 66%; adoption and fertility benefits, 34%; and childcare support, 21%.
- Childcare remains a top concern for women who are employed in Utah. All organizations that offered childcare support believed it was critical today to recruit, hire, retain, and support employees.
- Flexible work was among the top three benefits selected, with 90 companies surveyed offering flexible work hours. In addition, 90% of the companies provided flexible location work options for at least some employees. Just over half the organizations provided professional development aimed specifically at women.
Other efforts to support women in the workplace included implementing practices and policies for pay equity (84%), and providing tuition reimbursement (10%).
- Family-friendly policies and developmental programs to advance women are linked to improved recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing women at all levels.
Summary & Recommendations
Analyzing the benefits, policies, and practices of the organizations recognized as the 2023 100 CCW provided a sampling of what Utah businesses of all sizes are doing to support employees and their families. By highlighting businesses around the state that have incorporated family-friendly policies, as well as implemented developmental programs to advance women, the 2023 100 CCW initiative has provided information about best practices that companies—large or small— can consider.
- We recommend that all employers compare their current offerings to see how they align with the list of family-friendly policies and women-focused initiatives found in the report. Of course, it is important to remember that this study includes only 100 of tens of thousands of companies operating in the state of Utah.
- Although each entity is unique in terms of challenges, opportunities, and resources, there are opportunities for all Utah companies to create more inclusive workplaces for women by being thoughtful about ways to support all employees and their families most effectively. Since workplaces also include public entities (e.g., local and state governments, schools, and universities), we also encourage these entities to do the same.
- State legislators should also consider research-based public policies that will help Utah have more family-friendly workplace environments.
When businesses consider organizational-level strategies, initiatives, and programs, including family-friendly practices and policies that support all employees and help them thrive, Utah can increase the representation of women in businesses around the state, which is important to ensure more women and their families can thrive. Strengthening the impact of women can strengthen Utah’s economy and communities.
To learn more about the best practices of 100 Utah companies championing women in the workplace, read the full brief.