Why Cultivating Diversity in the Workplace Matters at Justworks
Below is an article originally written by Jess Harvie, the Diversity & Inclusion Manager at PowerToFly Partner Justworks, and published on May 7, 2018. Go to Justworks' page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
At Justworks, we believe a diverse workforce creates a more vibrant workplace. Our diversity and inclusion program has opened up many opportunities for the team and the company. What are they, and why is it important? Read on to find out.
Diversity and inclusion (D+I) programs are really having a moment in tech, Hollywood, and a number of different industries around the country. Spurred by very public and viral movements like #MeToo, the importance of cultivating a diverse and inclusive culture that is fair and safe for all groups of people to work in has never been so relevant.
According to Deloitte, 69% of executives rate diversity and inclusion as an important issue for their organizations. That's great! But how do we take "diversity and inclusion" from a problem to solve, and turn it into an opportunity to make lasting cultural changes in our organizations and beyond?
Fostering Diversity in the Workplace
At Justworks, we're happy to say that we definitely don't have all the answers. In fact, it's becoming more apparent that when it comes to D+I, no one company has really nailed it. One thing we think we've gotten right so far is building the foundation for an authentic diversity and inclusion program that embraces the inherent value that having diversity in the workplace promises, and pays more than lip service to the buzzwords of the moment.
At Justworks, these are some of the opportunities we've created as part of our diversity and inclusion program.
The opportunity to be better and continual innovators.
As disrupters in a fairly old-school space, it's vital for our teams to be able to think differently and creatively. Diversity of thought usually comes with diversity of people, and we're conscious of how a more diverse team can make our product better.
The opportunity to share and use existing knowledge in a new setting.
Techniques that are already implemented in tech can be applied to drive cultural change as well. For example, "design thinking" is an experimental problem-solving process that allows product teams to fail quickly and safely. It is sometimes about being clumsy, but also about prioritizing the ability to continuously find the "true north" for product features. We've applied a design thinking approach to D+I that has allowed us to experiment with our inclusion initiatives in a safe space so we can iterate quickly.
The opportunity to show our employees we understand them.
Whether you've thought about diversity and inclusion or not, chances are your employees probably have. Millennials have been dubbed the "inclusion generation." An analysis by Deloitte revealed that millennial employees report higher levels of engagement and sense of empowerment at work when working for an inclusive organization. Investing in diversity and inclusion shows employees a commitment to making the workplace better for them.
The opportunity to create company leaders in new places.
Our employee resource groups (ERGs) have given employees that may not have otherwise had the opportunity to lead the space to do so. Our leadership team is vocal about D+I leaders getting access to the same opportunities as other potential business leaders and managers in the company. We're in the process of tailoring a leadership program specifically for D+I leaders so they feel like they have the skills, tools, and support to lead their groups effectively.
The opportunity to be thought leaders for our customers.
As an HR tech company, we are building a platform and creating content for our customers that we believe is shaping the future of work. It's important for us to create an experience for our customers that is not only an inclusive experience, but is also giving our customers the tools to be the best employers they can be.
We want to do that from a place of authenticity, and share our own learnings as a fast-growing company with our customers. Regardless of your industry, setting an example in this space will definitely encourage others to take notice. Having been named one of the Best Workplaces in Technology, we know that we lead by example in our industry, and we don't take that responsibility lightly.
Starting Small, But Being Real
Justworks, like a lot of tech startups, was created from a refusal to accept the status quo and a belief that things can be better—HR and payroll doesn't have to be boring! Or, at least, it can be easy to use.
Similarly, the heart of our diversity and inclusion program was born from our employees' refusal to accept the status quo as good enough. Our employees wanted to make Justworks an even better place to work.
As a result, our diversity program has a ground-up focus with leadership buy-in, which aims to harness our employees' enthusiasm and energy to create and drive initiatives they want to see at the company. Our focus for this year has been on making sure the people that already work at Justworks feel like they can bring their whole selves to work, and we are committed to making sure our program stays true to what makes sense to Justworks employees.
To support that focus, the initiatives we've kicked off in the last year have been largely driven by employees themselves, and have had a consistent theme of building empathy. These initiatives include an employee newsletter that profiles employees and their stories, internal panels featuring interviews with employees from underrepresented groups about their experiences in the workplace, and creating safe spaces to have real conversations without judgment.
We definitely have a way to go with our own diversity goals, like the idea to make Justworks as diverse as NYC. But, we've started with simple, low-cost, employee-led initiatives that have already had an impact on how our employees feel about each other and coming to work.
Tackling diversity and inclusion is no doubt an enormous challenge. But, our approach is that small steps leads to greater strides. You don't have to change the entire system all at once to make things better, especially if you embrace the opportunities of diversity and inclusion as a long-term business strategy.
This is the first in a three-part blog series about building our diversity and inclusion program at Justworks. In our next posts, we'll be doing a deep-dive into applying design thinking to our diversity initiatives and how to build a grassroots D+I Program at a startup.
A Look At The Challenges They've Faced & How Their Companies Support Them
We know that the ratio of women to men in software engineering is overwhelmingly low. Scroll through just about any company's roster on Linkedin and see for yourself. It's depressing.
If you're not in the mood to engage in that little experiment, just check out this PwC study that found that only 15% of employees in STEM roles in the U.K. are women, and that women hold a mere 5% of leadership roles in the tech sector.
However, we also know that diversity is the top priority for 78% of talent leaders. This is good news for us, because our goal at PowerToFly is to close these gender gaps as quickly as possible - and the more companies that get on board, the faster we can do that.
We partner with companies that are not only committed to diversity and inclusion, but to fostering a sense of belonging for underrepresented candidates once they accept job offers.
In the meantime, we know that the struggle for many women and other minorities in tech is still real, and that being a woman in this male-dominated industry is no cake walk. That's why we invited women engineers at some of our partner companies to share their experiences in their own words.
They shared some of the biggest challenges they've faced as a women in tech and how they overcame them, as well as why they feel supported and enjoy working at their current companies.
We hope reading about these experiences will make other women in software engineering realize they're not alone in the challenges they're facing, and that there are lots of companies making strides to better support women in tech. We also hope that reading this will inspire more companies to follow suit, especially given that women leave the tech industry at twice the rate of men.
Hats off to these 7 women and to the companies that support their work:
What's the coolest thing Promptworks does to support women engineers?
"One of my favorite things about Promptworks is how all the female engineers support each other. Having an amazing group of colleagues to lean on, vent to, and seek advice from has been vital to me. As soon as I joined the engineering team, I felt immediately part of this amazing family of women who also have my back."
—M.K., Software Engineer at Promptworks
Want to join Promptworks' team of Women Engineers?
- Senior React Native Engineer
- Senior Software Engineer
- Contract Software Engineer
- Software Engineer
- And more
More about PromptWorks:
Promptworks builds custom software for companies by creating amazing technologies that help achieve their vision.
Monthly work-from-home flexibility, Collegial atmosphere with family-style lunch twice a week on us, ergonomic work stations including seated & standing pair programming stations, 100% company-paid medical, dental, and vision insurance, 401(k) plan with company matching and more!
Why did you choose to work at Yelp?
"The best thing about Yelp is the culture. I had an amazing interview process which reflected how much Yelp values their employees. Once I got through, I received a welcome card from my team and AWE group and I still feel very loved at Yelp. Also, I love the people! They are very smart and innovative and Yelp gives us all the freedom to vent out our creativity."
—Supriya, Backend Engineer at Yelp.
Want to join Yelp's team of Women Engineers?
More about Yelp:
Yelp engineering culture is driven by our values: we're a cooperative team that values individual authenticity and encourages "unboring" solutions to problems.
Medical, dental, and vision insurance - 100% covered for Yelp employees, 401k program with company match, parental program: Bright Horizons, mother's rooms, paid baby bonding leave, well being and stress management resources, and more!
What's the biggest challenge you've faced at Ubiquity6 and how did you overcome it?
"One of the personal challenges I've dealt with at Ubiquity6 is imposter syndrome, which was definitely amplified by working with so many incredible engineers. Thankfully, my team is really supportive and I have been able to take ownership over some important projects. The combination of getting great constructive feedback while framing my mindset towards improvement has really helped build my confidence as an engineer."
—Robyn, Software Engineer at Ubiquity6
Want to join Ubiquity6's team of Women Engineers?
More about Ubiquity6:
We work with the design, infrastructure, and game engine teams to help guide the user through complex workflows involving spatial mapping, dynamic code loading, and game engine orchestration. Our challenge is to tie together all the different pieces of technology in a way that feels seamless to the end user.
Generous PTO, flexible work hours, work-from-home, remote positions, medical and dental benefits including family coverage, and more!
What's the coolest thing Verisign does to support women engineers?
"Verisign has been extremely warm and welcoming. Your opinions and ideas are heard irrespective your gender and position in the company. Verisign has a Women in Technology group which organizes monthly workshops and seminars, encouraging women to participate and demonstrate their skills. It is attended by the entire company and not just women. The company is full of empowering women who constantly motivate you to break the stereotypes and fulfill your passion."
—Shreyashi, Software Engineer at Verisign
Want to join Verisign's team of Women Engineers?
- Senior Engineer - Information Security Compliance
- Mid-level Software Engineer
- Sr. Infrastructure Software Engineer
- And more!
More about Verisign:
Verisign, a leader in domain names and internet infrastructure, enables internet navigation for many of the world's most recognized domain names.
Medical, dental, vision and prescription plans, traditional and Roth 401(k) with company match, basic life insurance, optional life insurance for employee, spouse or child(ren), home and auto insurance and more!
What’s one of the most impactful things One Medical does for women engineers?
"I recently attended a fireside chat with Sheryl Sandberg who pointed out that while there are increasing programs aimed at bringing women into technical roles, there aren't as many women being promoted. One of the most impactful things I see that One Medical does is actually hire and promote female engineers into both senior engineering roles and engineering management roles. Not only are they being promoted, but there is noticeable support before, during, and after the promotion. Growth and learning is a big part of the culture here, and I am excited to take part in such a fulfilling company."
—Vanessa, Data Engineer at One Medical
Want to join One Medical's team of Women Engineers?
- Senior Software Engineer (Fullstack)
- Principal Software Engineer (Fullstack)
- Staff Software Engineer (Fullstack)
- And more!
More about One Medical:
One Medical builds amazing end-to-end solutions to connect patients and our care team in new and innovative ways.highly collaborative environment, not only will you be partnering with designers and product managers, you'll also be sitting shoulder to shoulder with the doctors and nurses who deliver care daily to One Medical patients.
Top-notch dental, vision, and health insurance, paid parental leave, PTO, paid holidays, and sabbatical at 5 and 10 years
401K Match, One Medical membership for you and your family and more!
What's the coolest thing Fair does to support women engineers?
"Gender equity is a big thing at Fair. I once received a Fair-branded jacket that didn't quite fit right in the sleeves and waist. I tried to return it, but my boss wouldn't hear of it, citing Susan Fowler's leather jacket incident. Fair immediately offered to cover the jacket alteration costs for myself and other women in the company. I'm grateful to work at a place that values and includes its female employees as much as Fair does."
—Michelle, Lead Software Engineer at Fair.
Want to join Fair's team of Women Engineers?
- Senior Software Engineer - Search & Discovery Team
- Senior Platform Engineer
- Support Engineer
- And more!
More about Fair:
We are looking for highly motivated engineers interested in delivering the next level of innovation to product search and discovery at Fair. You'll be designing and implementing new search features and the systems behind them, including the integration of natural language processing, heuristics, and machine learning systems used to generate and rank search results. You'll work with microservices on AWS, multiple languages, and a great engineering team with a fun culture.
Equity incentives, 100% coverage of medical, vision and dental premiums for employees and their families, 100% paid parental leave for 4 months, 401(k) retirement plans and free lunch 5 days a week for every employee and more!
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
"Coming from coding school, my background was not in computer science nor did I graduate from college with a degree in engineering, so it has always been a bit of a struggle to build myself up. I remind myself that everyone is going through a learning process. I have spoken to my mentor about having imposter syndrome when I first started working at Yelp. He let me know that even he has moments of imposter syndrome. It is easier to relate to somebody when you hear that they are going through the same struggles as you and it's a good reminder that nobody is here to judge you. I think it's great that even when you mess up you don't have to be worried about getting fired. Yelp has a very supportive environment. In times of adversity I try to calm myself down and realize that everyone makes mistakes and tries to learn from them to be better."
—Julie, Full Stack Engineer at Yelp.
Scroll up or click here to learn more about Yelp & how to join their team.
Want to see more great roles at companies committed to recruiting more women in software engineering? Check out our job board!
A Look at Fidelity's Approach to Women's Career Growth and Engagement
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