Putting women first: Shaping your employee benefits

Alex Hill shares his experiences of shaping a better work place following insights from employees.

Alex Hill

Co-Founder and ECD SHARE Creative


It’s a fascinating and challenging time to be in employment and to be an employer.

We’re living in a more conscious world that quite rightly demands greater equity, equality and opportunity, and working in a post-covid era that demands a more hybrid, flexible or remote work style.

As we collectively progress into this new world, staff are feeling its subsequent challenges - particularly women.

Whether it’s prejudices, pay-gaps, or parenting, historical norms are being disrupted, and employers need to show up and make sure their female team members are better supported, empowered and set up in their roles, and their lives - but it’s easier said than done.

Here at SHARE Creative we’ve always been committed to supporting our staff, and set out a benefit programme built on respect, responsibility and trust. Things like unlimited holiday, cultural events, training and a transparent, open door culture gave our team the chance to ‘enjoy the journey’ with flexibility and encouragement - while being heard.

However, as we went to celebrate International Women's Day this year, we saw we needed to dig a little deeper.

Women make up 48% of our team, and rather than put out a token post just ‘sharing our support’, we saw we needed to actually double down on our ambition and truly get behind them by better understanding and acting on their needs.

So, we sent out an anonymous survey.

We invited brutally honest answers and feedback on a range of topics, from past experiences in employment and SHARE, to maternity and fertility needs, laid out to help us understand how we can best support them.

The results were telling, and supremely informative.

One of the first topics of our survey was to understand barriers to our female team’s careers, both at SHARE and in other roles.

Top priorities included seeing more female role models across our industry, as well as feeling heard and respected by male colleagues (particularly those in more senior roles), and balancing confidence with imposter syndrome to develop professionally.

We were pleased to hear that our female staff believe that women and men have the same opportunities for progression at SHARE, felt safe in the workplace from any threat of harassment, and got the right support - but as a board we’re continuing to make sure our structure, culture and management style keeps improving by engaging outside workshops, offering increased training and inviting external female first mentorships.

From this, we also saw the importance of equality to our female staff, and what they expected from us when it came to gender splits, pay, and diversity.

While we were perceived to be doing well on all points, we set out to further improve by reassuring staff on our processes and policy, updating them on what steps we take to ensure equal opportunity, and inviting involvement in hiring.

The next big theme to appear was parenthood and maternity. We saw a mix of answers that spanned everything from simply wanting more policy information to concerns about the impact on their career.

From the responses, we decided to delve into our then-maternity policy, and take action to make it even more robust. While we did offer statutory maternity leave before the survey, we have since updated this to now include improved maternity and paternity leave; fertility leave; miscarriage leave; and increased support for single parents and adopting parents. It’s also been on our minds to have workplace childcare, but while this isn’t an imminent need for our team just yet, we are planning ahead.

Finally, we were able to receive wider feedback on the policy processes, what to do in times of harassment, and even got suggestions on how to improve in areas like ‘nights out’.

These suggestions gave us a chance to improve our process, remind our team of what to do and who to talk with, and are inspiring ongoing updates.

Overall, the response to the changes to our benefits have been overwhelmingly positive, and mark one of the many ways that at SHARE, we actively value our team and continue to do so.

While we’ve updated other benefits too, by listening specifically to the female members of our office, we were able to take action to make them feel more empowered and supported on their journey with us.

For other businesses facing similar challenges, we think the solution is pretty simple: listen, and adapt.

Guest Author

Alex Hill

Co-Founder and ECD SHARE Creative


Alex Hill is the Executive Creative Director & Co-Founder of intelligence powered creative agency, SHARE. With over a decade of experience in the social, technological and data led advertising, he has helped some of the world’s biggest brands find true value in the ever-evolving media landscape with a host of award winning, innovative and future facing strategies, campaigns and transformational plans.

Related Tags

Women Diversity/Inclusion