Unique Characteristics and Company Culture Create a Great Place for Women to Work
Women have been influential contributors at Peach State Truck Centers since the company started in 1974. In that time a lot has changed, but a lot remains the same. The combination of women who possess a similar set of characteristics and Peach State’s company culture has fostered empowerment and amplified female voices to great success over the years. Statistics show that companies that support women in the workplace tend to be more successful than their competitors because of the contributions, skills and diverse thinking these women bring to an organization. At Peach State, 20% of the employees are women, with an average tenure of more than seven years. And that’s in a male-dominated trucking industry where only 7% of truck drivers are women.
“I have been in this industry almost 40 years and at Peach State for 18,” said Peach State Truck Centers’ Corporate Controller Carol Lane. “The combination of fast-paced growth (2 stores to 11), the large volume of transactions and the intensity of change over time can become overwhelming unless you are driven by a strong passion. My passion is to make a positive difference in the lives of others which aligns directly with the culture at Peach State. This passion has been fostered by great mentors who have supported my drive to be a positive influence on those who work for me, provide accurate and timely information and develop solutions that improve financial performance for the company and our customers. I have always felt valued in my role. After 18 years, I can honestly say, I have opportunities every day to leave a fingerprint on this organization as it continues to evolve.”
A company that fosters successful women has created a culture and environment where diversity in gender roles is a non-event. Each female employee is a part of the thread throughout the organization that forms the fabric and is woven into how the company functions. These women have had the opportunity to step out of the confines of traditional thinking and take calculated risks. Rather than following a worn path, they feel empowered to create a new one. Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, has said, “If you push through that feeling of being scared; that feeling of taking risk, really amazing things can happen.” Part of being able to do that, is feeling supported by your leaders and your company’s culture.
Another aspect of how company culture builds successful women is around the topic of failure. Most women have an acute awareness of their short comings. In a study by the Harvard Business Review, researchers concluded that generally speaking, men felt confident applying for a job where they met only 60% of the qualifications whereas women only felt confident applying if they met 100% of the qualifications. This is a perfect example of women’s penchant for perfection. Further research suggests that over time, the most successful women have embraced the idea that striving for absolute perfection is a waste of time and energy and only leads to disappointment and unhappiness. Women who are empowered and supported by their company’s understanding that growth comes from failure are more likely to feel satisfaction in their day-to-day contributions.
Great companies for women to work also consistently realize an employee’s potential and are receptive to providing additional opportunities for success. Recent research also shows women want new challenges at work. On the subject of higher education, the proportion of women in the labor force who had earned college degrees has nearly quadrupled since 1970. The salary project ™ research also shows women are actively (or passively) searching for new job opportunities. The study showed that despite over 65% of respondents reporting that they are happy at work, 70% of total respondents are looking for new opportunities.
Although women in the workplace have made significant gains in the past six years, the 2020 annual Woman in the Workplace Study from McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org shows that COVID-19 is threatening to erase those gains. The trucking industry will need to remain diligent and focused on supporting and growing women in workplace roles. The report summarizes this idea by citing that the choices companies make today will have consequences both for their organization and society for decades to come.