By Ken Burdick
When I reflected on this post for Women’s History Month, I began to think about our WellCare female associates, who represent more than 70 percent of our associate base. We are proud of our predominantly female workforce as well as the presence of three women on our executive leadership team. But, we know that it requires far more than representation to engage our associates and keep them for the long-term.
While Congress declared March as Women’s History Month more than 30 years ago, only one in 20 CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are women – that’s a mere 5 percent. And yet, women now comprise 60 percent of all college graduates and more than 50 percent of the U.S. workforce. This year at WellCare, we intend to diversify our board of directors with more female representatives because we know having more women at the table enhances the dynamics and discussions – just as it has on our executive leadership team.
The questions remain – why the disparity and why should companies make advancing women in the workplace a priority? Research indicates companies that promote and engage women can expect better financial performance and results. But what the numbers don’t demonstrate are the intangibles women bring to the table from diverse viewpoints to unique problem-solving capabilities. Focusing on women isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s one of the most critical steps we can take to achieve our vision.
WellCare has created policies to help advance workplace equality. Paid maternity leave, flexible work schedules and an active women’s resource group are all ways we’ve worked to make our workplace one that is desirable for our female associates. And we’re proud that some of those efforts were recognized when WellCare became one of Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” for 2018, a first for us. We are making progress, but we know there is still more we can and will do in the future.
To our female WellCare associates and all women in general – we appreciate your leadership, diversity of opinion, and extraordinary contributions – not just this March, but every month throughout the year. Please let us know how you are celebrating women in the workplace in the comments below.
Kenneth A. Burdick is the CEO of WellCare Health Plans.