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The importance of gender parity, and how your Utah business can make it better

While Utah has a reputation for being a great place to work and to start a business, there is one area in which some improvement is still sorely needed. When it comes to gender pay parity, there’s much ground to be made up. Recently, WalletHub ranked Utah as the worst for gender equality over the course of a number of years.

In an American business climate where representation of women in executive leadership has been growing — up 24 percent in the last year, according to business development firm McKinsey and Co.— now would be a great time for Utah business leaders to make a change. Otherwise, that less-than-stellar reputation this area may lead to less diverse business growth and sustainability.

A recent article on the Utah Business website goes into some detail on how companies of any size can help foster better parity, and it goes beyond just the basics and takes concerted effort. In the end, the positives will outweigh any challenges.

Innovating and transparency are important building blocks

The author of the Utah Business article is Maggie Kruse, the VP of People Strategy for the Utah computer applications company Nav. She talks about a recent roundtable in Utah featuring business leaders who shared several options for progressive actions to foster gender equality, such as resource groups, mentorships and daycare support. While Kruse agrees these are important, she also considers them basics that every business should have.

“Consider the message you’re sending,” Kruse writes. “Is offering daycare the best way to tell a professional woman you value her…or might she read into it that you think her primary role is to have kids? Where’s the appeal to all the women who don’t have children? … What about men? So often women get more parental leave than men; how are you helping men show up at home to connect more to their families?”

Kruse suggests ideas that go beyond traditional solutions, or that at least use what’s already available for its intend purpose. To that end, there’s the regular pay parity audit that many organizations make a high priority — except many employersoften don’t share the results with all employees. A broader release of that information would be a great first step to change perceptions.

“It’s important that the women in your workplace know that their salary is on par with male colleagues,” Kruse writes. “Trust and transparency go hand-in-hand when you are trying to make significant and long-lasting changes in the workplace.”

Getting everyone on the same side of the issue

It’s also important to truly showcase the women that work for your business. One way to do that is to properly represent the true customer demographics to which you cater.

“Too often in this state, a company says that it is promoting women, but then every picture it posts is of an all-male leadership team, sales force and engineering department,” Kruse writes. “You have to have female representation at every level of the organization.”

Another benefit of this approach is in recruiting. If more prospective and talented women see that your company represents them, they may consider your company above others that don’t project that image.

“No one wants to join an organization where they are the first of their kind, responsible for forging a path for others,” Kruse writes. “They want to look around and know that they are surrounded by others like them.”

When it comes to bolstering the offerings you currently have, one clear effort in the right direction is addressing parental leave. Kruse suggests that equal parental leave for men and women is a must, and that bending rules around traditional work schedules for both parents is a plus.

The good news from Kruse’s perspective is that progress is being made. She notes that more men are also getting involved in identifying and seeking answers to gender parity, and that leadership should encourage dialogue to make even more progress. Don’t just look inward, either, she suggests. What are others outside of your company doing to ensure gender parity? What can you learn from them, or what can you share with others?

“We’ve got some great organizations and events that are trying to draw awareness to this subject,” Kruse said. “If Utah companies don’t start working together to combat Utah’s bad reputation in the gender parity space, we are never going to win as a community.”

Ways your Utah business can benefit from free checking

First Utah Bank is a committed member of our community. We are here for you as a business owner to support you with managing cash flow and financial positioning so you can focus on other initiatives, like addressing gender parity. First Utah Bank offers solutions and choices to fit a variety of business needs, and we are confident we have an option for you if your business qualifies. For instance, if your business averages fewer than 100 ACH checks and debits per month, free business checking can be a way to maximize your time when it comes to these important facets of running a business.

The free business checking program at First Utah Bank includes unlimited debit card transactions and deposits, and there’s no minimum balance requirement. Free mobile and internet banking is part of the package as well. You can also rest assured that our free business checking program is FDIC-insured to the legal maximum.

If free business checking isn’t quite the right solution for your needs, there are other options including a commercial checking account that is good for higher transaction volumes and also gives you an earnings credit allowance based on your balances.

First Utah Bank can be your hometown solution for all of your business banking needs, giving you more time to concentrate on making the culture at your business the best it can be. Learn more at our business checking website, or call First Utah Bank at 801-308-2265.