A gal pal of mine forwarded "11 Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees" from 1943 that was reprinted in Savvy and Sage. The article is meant to give largely male supervisors direction on how to use women to their best advantage on the job during World War II. The gist of the guidance is to treat women with kid gloves and give them plenty of time each day to keep up their appearance, e.g., apply lipstick. You can see it here.
Many of the tips are hilarious but interestingly, some hold a few kernels of truth that apply even today.
Here are my 5 Tips for Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees:
1. "Get enough size variety in operator's uniforms" - Pick any and all kinds of women. Women now make up more than half of college graduates and largely control the purse strings at home. A team without a woman on it is lacking the perspective of half the world.
2. "Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods every day." Honor the many responsibilities that women shoulder. Women, even the single ones, are often the ones called on to handle all things family-related and household-related. Take a tip from the accounting industry and give them the flexibility to get their job done in a timeframe but not necessarily chained to a desk.
3. "Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women." Treat women as you would anyone else on the job. That also means if you're inviting colleagues to grab a game of golf, don't assume the women won't want to join. There are a number of accomplished female athletes in the workforce—for many of whom "handicap" is only a low number.
4. "You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology." Make sure the workplace is accommodating of women, even if you don't employ many of them. I was struck by a recent Ted talk given by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook where she related attending a meeting at a private equity firm and no one knew where the women's restroom was located in the office. Signals that a woman is welcome are half the battle.
5. Finally, "Never ridicule a woman—it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency." That's as true today as it ever was and incidentally, a good tip for getting efficiency out of anyone.
For tips to getting more efficiency out of Alicia, see www.aliciamorga.com.