How These Companies Encourage Employees to Take Time Off
While there is some merit to the phrase "work hard to play hard," the positive impact of time away from work only occurs if employees actually use their PTO.
PTO gives employees a chance to step away from daily work demands and focus on resting and recharging. It also helps combat burnout and boost employee productivity.
Having a hard time taking advantage of your PTO?
Read on to see how our partner companies are encouraging their employees to take vacation.
"Doing your best work means being your best self. To help, Uber offers a wide range of benefits and perks, including unlimited paid vacation for many roles. Employees are encouraged to use paid time off as they see fit, whether it's to vote or attend a parent-school activity, and only need approval by their direct manager."
Learn more about Uber here.
Here's a message from Okta's CEO, Todd McKinnon:
"I talked with the company about this in a recent weekly All Hands. I discussed the changes we're all navigating & emphasized that I know how hard everyone's working. I needed to do a better job acknowledging that, showing gratitude, and (the key) reminding people to TAKE TIME OFF. This includes me! I'm taking 3 weeks off this summer to spend time with my family. I asked every employee to email me directly with their summer vacation plans. I've received about 300 emails so far, which tells me a lot of employees are still planning their PTO.
Our vision to enable everyone to safely use any technology is ambitious, long-term, and will take a lot of work to bring to life. We have a tremendous, $80B opportunity but I don't want people to be so fried that they can't finish the race. I always encourage Okta employees to be builders & owners and take responsibility for what they need, but I also recognize that it falls flat if the example set by managers and by me doesn't provide space for balance. We have to get this right to meet our potential.
We've hired a lot of incredibly smart people who work hard and care deeply about Okta. What I'm trying to reinforce to employees is that caring about Okta also means caring for yourself, and taking time off. Amazing work can't happen without rest and recovery."
Learn more about Okta here.
"The well-being of PwC's people is a top priority! The firm recently launched new "Shared Success" benefits as a way to thank their people for a year of hard work. Employees can now receive $250 each time they take a full week's vacation, up to four times throughout the year. The program has the potential to continue into the future if there is wide adoption. The firm also launched 'Fridays Your Way,' which encourages their people to protect their time on Friday afternoons this summer to focus work without interruption, vacation time, development/upskilling or volunteer work."
Learn more about PwC here.
"At Automattic, time off is unlimited. To be sure vacation days get used, we recommend that folks take at least a minimum of 25 days off every year … and encourage them to take more. In addition, we encourage folks to take a three-month Sabbatical every five years."
Learn more about Automattic here.
"Relativity has an unlimited time off policy as well as two, week-long office closings throughout the year to ensure employees have time to recharge. To make the most of time off and truly unplug , set yourself and your team up for success before you leave. Ensure you have any ongoing items in an a-sync collaborative space so that work can continue while you are away. Set your out of office on emails, slack and any other messaging platform and establish a point-person for critical activities. Then go and have fun, relax and recharge!"
Beth Clutterbuck, CHRO
Learn more about Relativity here.
"Here are three big pieces of advice when going on vacation: First, take your work chat program and email off your phone—fully delete them or you'll just want to sign back in. Next, don't put in your OOO that you'll respond to all emails the day you get back; just say that you'll begin responding. Finally, explicitly lay out the only (few and far between) reasons anyone should interrupt your vacation, but be clear that you may not be reachable, and that it should be an absolute last resort. It's OK! Things won't crumble in your absence."
Learn more about Guru here.
"To get the most out of your PTO, we suggest letting co-workers and managers know the dates you'll be out of office a week or two ahead of time. This ensures they get to you with any needs prior to your being off. Always set up your Out of Office autoreplies and adjust your IM settings to "away" or "vacationing". Lastly, STOP CHECKING YOUR EMAIL AND IMs ON YOUR PHONE! We've cut off access to email in the past for people on maternity/paternity leave, to ensure they stay focused on their leave and family."
Learn more about uShip here.
"We have an unlimited vacation policy and an internal calendar that showcases public holidays in all 45+ countries where Hopineers live and work. Johnny, our CEO, speaks frequently about how balance and making the time to rest and recharge is the best way to make sure that we're always bringing our best selves to work. These things combined mean that we are building a culture of respect around PTO that empowers people to unplug and use their time however is most impactful for them. We also have a #Hopinstagram slack channel where people post pics of their holiday activities!"
Learn more about Hopin here.
"SoftwareONE promotes the health benefits of taking time off – reduced stress, heart health, better sleep, and increased productivity. Be the best version of yourself!
Here are a few tips and tricks:
- While still in the office, practice moving your work to your backup plan. You will gain confidence in your ability to disconnect if you know that your backup plan works.
- A few weeks before your time off, add a vacation notification to your email signature. "PLEASE NOTE UPCOMING VACATION DAYS: JULY 2 to JULY 7."
- Make time off planning and preparation a part of the ongoing conversation in your 1:1s with your leader and team meetings.
- While you are on vacation, turn off your work email off from your devices. Remember that you have a backup plan and they know how to reach you in an emergency. Seriously unplug and enjoy!
- We post picture of our employee's personal interests including hobbies and vacations on our social media accounts. This encourages employees to share and pursue interests outside of work."
Learn more about SoftwareOne here.
"Our recommendation is to truly unplug when you are on vacation. Even our CEO takes vacations, so we encourage all of our employees to use their PTO as needed. LogMeIn offers Unlimited PTO (we call it MeTime) to give our employees the flexibility to take time off without worrying about how many hours you've accrued. We respect each other's time off, so if we see someone has an out-of-office message or a "PTO" emoji on Slack, we think twice about pinging them and don't expect them to respond until they are back in the office."
Learn more about LogMeIn here.
"Plan ahead but not to the minute! Know where you're going and where you're staying but leave some time to explore and do things on a whim.
With BlackRock's Flexible Time Off, employees can take as many paid days off per year as they need to relax and recharge. Plus, through the Perks at Work program, employees can find travel inspiration as well as take advantage of discounts on car rentals and hotel rooms – so they can more fully enjoy their time off."
Learn more about BlackRock here.
"At Raytheon Intelligence & Space, we offer a competitive paid-time off program and encourage our employees to take time off to rest and recharge – which our employees embrace."
"A great tip for making the most of your time off is to communicate to your teams early that you will be completely unreachable and actually be unavailable – turn off the phone and email! Be fully present with your family to unwind and relax in the time you have together."
- Amber Kreceman, principal engineer, Raytheon Intelligence & Space
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies here.
"Time off is crucial to a healthy work-life balance. At Lockheed Martin, our Paid Time Off program includes hours that are awarded at the beginning of each year, in addition to hours you can earn, to spend how you like. Enjoy using your hours for vacation, doing community service, taking care of personal business—pretty much anything you want. Remember, taking time to rest and rejuvenate is essential to better wellbeing. We also offer a variety work schedules, from night shifts to Fridays off to remote capabilities. Your role's business needs, and your leader can help you determine the possibilities."
Learn more about Lockheed Martin here.
"At MongoDB, we support our employees by offering a flexible PTO policy to encourage employees to take as much time as they need to recharge. We offer benefits like Headspace and our discount and perks program to help our employees relax and have peace of mind as they vacation.
We suggest employees plan for PTO as early as possible and identify colleagues as point-person for backup so they can feel comfortable not checking in during their time off. We also recommend planning something fun for the end of your first week to help avoid the post-vacation blues!"
Learn more about MongoDB here.
"Here at Clarus, providing good work life balance and adequate PTO are key pillars of our culture. Taking time to refresh and renew is important. We provide an adequate amount of PTO and we give all new hires all of their PTO upfront.
See our PTO benefits below:
- 15 days of vacation, roll over up to 5 days
- 5 days of sick time
- 2 floating holidays (can be used at any point for any reason)
- Close every Friday at 2pm (Don't need to make up the time)
- Generous paid holiday schedule. Includes that we're closed between Christmas and New Year's."
Learn more about Clarus Commerce here.
"At Equinix, our efforts in service to the company and customers have wide-ranging impact. We are encouraged to find balance by taking time to unplug and enjoy doing the things we love outside of work. We have an internal social channel to post, share, and celebrate the vacations and time away we treat ourselves to. This year, Equinix implemented a two day company wide shutdown knowing it's a little bit easier to recharge when your colleagues are also shutting down. We have a collective responsibility to create a culture where actually taking PTO is welcomed and embraced."
Learn more about Equinix here.
"To help our employees make the most of public holidays we provide adjacent additional paid half-days off, company-wide. Many will take this opportunity to dip into their personal PTO allowance to extend what was an extra long-weekend into a full week (or more!) vacation. The longer break definitely encourages our employees to fully unplug from work.
We believe in encouraging employees to utilize their PTO and share best practices on how they find their balance. Different departments have developed creative ways to encourage this too. For example, employees on the US Regional HR team who used 5 consecutive days of PTO and then shared a picture of their time off were entered into a drawing to win a gift card. Here's one of the entry photos!"
Learn more about Munich RE here.
"At SoundCloud, we value taking time away from work and believe it's essential to mental health and overall wellbeing. We stress the importance of taking opportunities to rest, reset and encourage time off by having our leaders lead by example. With this strategy, we have created a company culture that encourages and normalizes the use of PTO. We have found success in categorizing our PTO into specific areas such as vacation, learning and development, or volunteering. This ensures our employees use their vacation time for themselves, free from any work distractions."
Learn more about SoundCloud here.
"At Netskope, we offer unlimited PTO to our employees and encourage them to utilize this time for themselves as needed. We have even launched a Global Wellness Day initiative in which our company observes our newfound holiday a few times a year, so all our employees can enjoy a day off to focus on mental health, spend time with family and friends, or just relax and refresh!"
Learn more about Netskope here.
"Veracode offers employees a generous 'take what you need' vacation policy. In each of the last two years, our CEO has provided employees with Summer Recharge Days, two paid days off in recognition of the passion and drive our employees demonstrate every day. We encourage employees to fully take their time off with family and friends doing whatever brings them joy so that they come back to work refreshed and energized."
Learn more about Veracode here.
"Vacation time isn't just getting away from work, it is about refueling and reenergizing. As easy as devices make it to check emails, it's essential to unplug. Use the time to reflect on past experiences, the challenges you've overcome and recent successes – and celebrate them! Focus on your own well-being, spend time with your loved ones and don't let thoughts of work distract you from being present in the moment."
- Gretchen Kelly, Vice President Enterprise Communication & ERP/HR Systems at Spectrum
Learn more about Spectrum here.
"Work life balance is an integral part of our Culture Code which defines how we work. Autodesk offers discretionary time off (DTO) for U.S. salaried employees, and three weeks of vacation for hourly employees. Additionally, employees get the "Week of Rest" from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day as paid holidays. And what better way to truly take time off and disconnect from work than to be eligible for a six-week paid sabbatical every four years of continuous service. We realize there's a strong correlation between stress, mental-health, and burn out. Therefore, we encourage all our employees to take time off to rest and re-charge."
Learn more about Autodesk here.
Here's their advice for making the most of your time off — and some insight into the ways they help their employees enjoy their R&R:
"How to make the most out of your time off:
- Get familiar with your company's PTO policy
- Plan your time off for the year and request it in advance
- Don't use all of your PTO at once, spread it out throughout the year to avoid burnout.
- Delegate responsibilities, overcommunicate with the team before going on PTO to avoid coming back to a lot of work.
What we offer:
- 15 days of PTO
- 10 paid holidays
- Additional leaves and flexibility based on circumstances
- Expectation of 100% work disconnect during PTO
- Easy and transparent PTO approval process
- Visibility into others' upcoming time off"
Learn more about Unstoppable Domains here.
"Time off is an essential part of self-care. Taking time away from work helps people recharge, catch up with family and friends, prevent burnout and increase productivity.
Having a plan and coverage helps you have as much peace of mind as possible while away. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time and lean on your team for help.
Despite best efforts, you might not finish everything you want before your time off, which is ok. Create your out-of-office coverage plan. Your plan should list critical tasks, determine/assign who on your team can cover and support them, and adding an out-of-office for your email and slack. Partner with everyone listed in your plan to ensure they understand the coverage plan, work, and how they are helping.
Lastly, make sure your peers, team, and business partners have access to and know about your coverage plan. Your plan should provide the current state of the projects/work and the point(s) of contact while you are out of the office. If you're diligent about making preparations before your time off, you can rest assured that essential/critical work is being completed. Enjoy your time away!"
- Andrew Cho, HR Manager
Learn more about OfferUp here.
"At Moody's, we know that it is essential for our employees to be able to take time off and recharge, especially after a particularly difficult time for everyone during the pandemic - managing to both deliver in our jobs and take care of ourselves and family. Our people managers are encouraged to specifically support our employees to ensure they feel comfortable taking time off and we encourage our leaders to role model the same. At Moody's, we foster a supportive and collaborative work environment, and this continues when our colleagues have planned time off to relax, spend with family or friends, or go on vacation and travel where safety permits!"
Learn more about Moody's here.
"At JW Player, we want you to be at your best and avoid burnout. So, we offer an open PTO policy to our full-time US Employees! While out on PTO, we encourage you to unplug from work so you can relax and be back online feeling refreshed. The best way for you to do that would be to:
1. Let your manager know of your time off in advance.
2. Prep your teammates for handoffs while you're out.
3. Block your calendar so people know not to contact you.
4. Set up your auto-reply on your email so people know who they can reach out to in your absence."
Learn more about JW Player here.
"CSL knows the pandemic has added stress to employees' lives, so the global biotech is encouraging wellbeing. This year CSL provided Wellness Days as additional time to recharge. Companywide benefits like Summer Fridays and Winter Holiday Shutdown allow employees to take time off without fear of returning to a mountain of emails. Some sites also offer a Summer Shutdown week. But the most important thing they do is foster a culture that prioritizes taking PTO. All people leaders are asked to role model by taking – and talking about – their PTO, and address factors that prevent team members from taking time off."
Learn more about CSL here.
"Karat offers flexible time off benefits and 18 weekday holidays, including two longer break periods (Summer Break and Winter Break) so everyone can truly reap the mental and physical benefit of time off. The extensive holiday calendar also means we're off at the same time and encourages everyone to actually unplug.
Tip: Lead by example. Taking time off is difficult when you know others on your team are still working. Giving the team coordinated breaks helps people reduce the anxiety that comes from others picking up the workload."
Learn more about Karat here.
"Last year we learned how effective days are to improve morale and combat burnout, so we're proud that we had introduced "Recharge" days--an approach that aligns with our culture and philosophy of putting people first. We've recently introduced additional recharge days to be a company-wide holiday at least once a month for the rest of the year and next year. We've leaned into the magic of when most of the company has the same day off and making sure we take care of our people."
Learn more about Lattice here.
"One of the biggest keys to making the most of your time off is fully disconnecting from work. This requires having good systems in place and a high level of trust within your team. Strong systems allow teammates to easily step in and support your work while you're away, which in turn helps build trust among colleagues. If you feel supported by your team while you're out of the office, you're more likely to fully unplug and then happily return the favor when a teammate is away, allowing them to do the same."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
"Maintaining a healthy work-life balance has been especially challenging with the impact of the global pandemic. In a recent video to employees, Invesco's President and CEO Marty Flanagan encouraged employees to take their vacation time, emphasizing the importance of rest and self-care.
Taking a vacation, even a "staycation," is proven to help increase work productivity up to 31% while also helping stimulate a more positive frame of mind. That's especially critical given the added stress of COVID-19. Not unplugging from the office to take time off time creates burnout, fatigue, and can impact your health and personal life."
Learn more about Invesco here.
"GameChanger offers teammates unlimited vacation time because we know how important it is to refresh and recharge. To encourage our teammates to take vacation, we make it easy for them to plan with a simple process to request the time off and by providing the team support needed while they're out. Additionally, though we have many paid holidays throughout the year, we empower teammates to use vacation time to recognize or celebrate any holidays outside of our list. GameChanger also provides the opportunity to work remotely, which makes planning your next adventure even easier."
Learn more about GameChanger here.
"ServiceNow is taking a fun and innovative approach to ensuring employees focus on their health and well-being every week with "Recharge Half-day Fridays". The world pandemic has put a spotlight on employee health and well-being and the need for a better work/life balance. ServiceNow leadership came together to introduce this program as a collective way for every employee worldwide to carve out much-needed time to recharge and refocus themselves and their families.
Running from the first week in June through the first week of September 2021, the program has been wildly popular and offers a great way for employees around the world to share the creative ways they are using their time, including some examples below.
- Taking up sketching and improving tennis game
- Spending every Friday afternoon attending music lessons with daughter
- Sharing sushi every Friday with a friend
- Working on renovations to backyard garden
- Having a swim with new ServiceNow swags!"
According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.
That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.
As we reflect on recent events and how they fit into a much larger history of discrimination, we're also taking time to celebrate and acknowledge the many achievements of the AAPI community.
We asked several of our partner companies what they're doing to honor AAPI Heritage Month at work, and we were inspired by the range of responses, covering everything from campaigns to #StopAsianHate to educational events on AAPI history.
Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
Empowering authenticity - LogMeIn
"Our theme this year is AIM to Be Real. We are embracing our new company values and celebrating those who bring their authentic selves to work, who help create space to celebrate diversity of thought, and who give back to the API community. Our Asian ERG, Asians in Motion (AIM), is hosting several events: a discussion about bringing your authentic self to work with Jerry Won (Dear Asian Americans podcast); a refugee-led virtual cooking class; ERG Movie Club discussions featuring Bollywood films, and a virtual volunteer event where we will offer career development mentoring for young women across Asia."
Learn more about LogMeIn here.
Educating on current events — Raytheon Technologies
"Raytheon Technologies is honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with an enterprise-wide global town hall event – Real Talk: Building CommUNITY Together. Organized by the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) employee resource groups across the company, employees will share their personal experiences and discuss ways to support Asian American Pacific Islander communities. The event will also feature prominent leading advocates from renowned civil rights organizations to provide insight into the national context surrounding recent events. We will also feature AAPI employees internally and on our social media channels."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies here.
Encouraging awareness, growth, and learning — Moody's
"Moody's is encouraging awareness, growth, and learning during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with the following activities, led by our Multicultural Business Resource Group and DE&I team:
- Weekly newsletters featuring AAPI employee profiles and cultural resources
- Video screening and small-group discussions supporting #StopAsianHate
- Cultural panel discussion featuring employee stories
- Professional development activities
- External speakers speaking about Asian leadership"
Supporting professional development — Freddie Mac
"Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Freddie Mac – Together, We Are Stronger
Freddie Mac supports the professional development of Asian and Pacific Islander employees while promoting an increased awareness of the value they bring to the organization and our local communities. Our InspirASIAN Business Resource Group is hosting various activities throughout the month such as:
- Personal development session on empowerment led by a coach from our Employee Assistance Program.
- "Stop Asian Hate" lunch and learn geared toward discussing the hurdles facing the AAPI community.
- Fireside chat about racial injustice with leaders from our InspirASIAN and ARISE (employees of the African diaspora) BRGs."
Fostering inclusion, learning, and belonging – Nestlé USA
"At Nestlé USA, the Pan Asian Network (PAN), one of our many employee resource groups that support our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiatives, will host a variety of events to honor and acknowledge Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. These activities will foster greater inclusion, enhanced learning, and belonging for the AAPI community. PAN will highlight women's development in Asian cultures, Asian leadership and what their culture means to them, culinary innovation of Asian cuisine, intersectionality of LGBTQ+ and Pan Asian community, as well as an enhanced learning watch party of the PBS movie 'Asian American.'"
Learn more about Nestlé USA here.
Promoting cultural literacy – Relativity
The Community Resource Group at Relativity
"For Relativity, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an opportune time to not only celebrate the rich AAPI cultures represented within our company, but to also foster awareness and allyship amidst the current rise of AAPI hate. RelAsians, our internal community resource group, has organized a few activities for May: a book club focused on AAPI heritage—because we feel it's never too early to gain cultural literacy, a weekly spotlight on AAPI Relativians, and a virtual event that takes attendees on a tour through an Asian grocery store, introducing native vegetables and staple ingredients for traditional home-cooked Asian recipes."
- Contribution from Neha Pant, Sr. Performance Engineer & Angie Ocasek, Sr. Specialist, Partner Enablement – Co-Chairs of the RelAsians Community Resource Group at Relativity
Learn more about Relativity here.
Creating transformative experiences – Facebook
"At Facebook, our APIs employee resource group's mission is to create transformative experiences for all APIs at Facebook, Inc through key cultural awareness and engagement highlighting the API community. To kick off APIHM, we will host a series of events and conversations for the community and its allies designed to support the API community around the theme, The SUM of Us, including:
- Letting Others In: a mindful discussion series that privileges intersectional voices, storytelling, feedback, and vulnerability as tools for building empathy and inclusion amongst organizations.
- Racial Healing Learning Session: specific to the API Experience focused on naming of experiences and emotional responses, understanding the body's responses to racial trauma, what the audience can do in the moment for self-care, and long-term strategies to overcome the effect of the traumatic experience.
- Bystander Training/self Defense Workshop"
Learn more about Facebook here.
Extensive and exciting programming — 2U
"At 2U, Inc. we'll be honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with extensive and exciting programming coordinated by our employee-led Asian Pacific Islander Network (APIN). In a year marred by exceptional challenges APIN has centered activities around the ameliorating themes of joy, culture and wellness. Be it delighting in a ukulele mini concert, reading an interview highlighting an API coworker, winding down after too much screen time with a somatic healing session or engaging in a panel discussion with API tattoo artists, we have a packed month ahead with opportunities to support oneself and the API culture! Follow along @Lifeat2U on Instagram for more!"
Learn more about 2U here.
Amplifying voices and educating others – Smartsheet
"During APAHM, the API at Smartsheet community will be hosting several events and activities to educate others, amplify AAPI voices, and celebrate the AAPI community! We plan to kick off the month with a documentary viewing and discussion to learn about AAPI history, and hope to share personal stories from our AAPI employees throughout the month. We'll end with an opportunity for the community to celebrate itself by gathering together for fun and games, while eating food from local Asian-owned restaurants."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Rising together in sports and culture – NBA
"For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, APEX is proud to present a multitude of celebratory activities, headlined by an NBA Family Virtual Town Hall and, with the NFL and MLB, an Asians in Sports & Culture Symposium themed "Together We Rise" featuring prominent Asian personalities from the sports world. We are also launching a PSA with an NBA star, honoring Eid-al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, offering a bystander intervention training led by AAJC, and – because the celebration wouldn't be complete without food – hosting a sushi making class for our members."
Learn more about the NBA here.
Creating courageous conversations – Commvault
"This May, we are celebrating all our Asian/Pacific Islander employees, not just Asian Americans. We will spend the month learning about and celebrating the diverse cultures of Asia through weekly events and activities led by our Multi-Culture ERG. Vaulters and external guests will teach us the history of practices such as yoga, origami, and Asian cuisines. We will also discuss topics like the rise of hate crimes against Asian people and the recent spike in COVID-19 in India. These activities and courageous conversations will engage our workforce and create support for our Asian and Pacific Islander communities around the world."
Learn more about Commvault here.
Honoring history through virtual events – Collins Aerospace
"Collins Aerospace supports our AAPI colleagues not only in May, but all year. Our parent company Raytheon Technologies hosted a virtual Town Hall last month to provide a safe space for open dialogue about recent events targeting Asian Americans in the U.S. In addition to this entity-wide event, our Asia Pacific ERG at Collins is hosting events that educate and honor the importance of Asian Pacific American history such as virtual Lunch & Tours spotlighting South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and India; and Thoughts & Support sessions. Site-specific events include virtual cooking class, and viewing PBS docuseries Asian Americans."
Learn more about Collins Aerospace here.
Highlighting new perspectives – MongoDB
"MongoDB will share daily historical facts, highlights of Asian American pioneers, and perspectives from our AAPI employees in a dedicated Slack channel. We will also be providing access to an Asian Pacific American Heritage Month webinar, organizing a trivia night, and holding Processing Together sessions for our internal AAPI community due to recent hate crimes happening across the globe. These sessions are a safe space for employees to share their stories and sentiments of what it is like as an Asian American in America today. (Read MongoDB employee Monica Lu's story about being an Asian American woman in tech here.)"
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Spotlighting diverse communities – Bumble
"At Bumble, moments like heritage month celebrations are often our anchor to ensure we are spotlighting diverse communities. In alignment with AAPI Heritage Month in May, Bumble is rolling out a series of thoughtful programming to encourage internal education and around how to support the Stop Asian Hate movement and better serve the Asian community globally. The lineup of initiatives include:
- BuzzWord DEI Discussion Series with featured guest speakers: This conversation will focus on the Asian community within the context of larger cultural issues such as dating app experiences, fetishization, masculinity, and representation.
- Bumble will be inviting employees to join a virtual Vietnamese coffee-making class. Created in partnership with Phin Bar, an urban brew-bar that offers Vietnamese-style steeped coffee combined with house-made ingredients, Bumble hopes to facilitate a deeper cultural learning and community bonding experience for the team.
- Bumble will also be activating channels across social media and our product to educate our community about bystander intervention and raise awareness around the importance of supporting the Stop Asian Hate movement."
Engaging in daring conversations – Procore
"In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in May, Procore recently organized an internal event to recognize and support the AAPI community. The event was hosted as part of our ongoing internal speaker series, 'Daring Conversations & Allyship,' to create space for an open dialogue around diversity, inclusion, and belonging. All employees were invited to tune in as employees from our AAPI communities shared their unique experiences, addressed anti-Asian hate, and discussed actionable ways to support our AAPI community."
Learn more about Procore here.
Taking action to foster change – SeatGeek
"This month the POC ERG will be meeting and hosting different activities to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This includes creating a safe space to discuss current events, and what actions our communities can take to foster change, sending out a newsletter which will highlight the Asian community in every aspect, and lastly, we will be hosting a guest speaker.
We hope with these planned activities and meetings, we can highlight, and uplift the Asian/Pacific American community, as well as bring awareness to the horrible ongoing attacks they are facing."
Learn more about SeatGeek here.
Uplifting and inspiring the community – Okta
"Okta's People of Color (POC@Okta) ERG is planning to commemorate AAPI Month with a series of fireside chats and iconographical facts posted internally in the #poc and #all diversity Slack channels! These chats will feature Dion Lim of ABC7 News and Comedian/Actor, Ronny Chieng. We will conclude the series with a partnership with Pride@Okta featuring supermodel, TED speaker, and transgender advocate Geena Rocero. The goal of this series is to educate, uplift, support, and inspire! The Okta leadership supports its AAPI employees, customers, and community."
Learn more about Okta here.
Empowering cultural diversity and leadership – Quip
"Salesforce will be celebrating through multiple virtual events, such as a leadership panel on the power of cultural diversity, a tea tasting, a tai chi class, a haka workshop, and more! Members of the Quip team have also compiled an extensive list of resources to support AAPI communities, including ways to donate, take action, and learn more."
Learn more about Quip here.
Focusing on lived experiences – Mindbody
"The Mindbody United ERG focuses on a different heritage or history each month, with May devoted to Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This ERG seeks to provide a platform to both celebrate and learn together. This will manifest in two ways: As a newsletter and a Zoom meeting. The newsletter will feature contributions directly from team members, while the meeting will feature Assembly member Evan Low as our speaker. It is our goal to focus on the lived experiences of the AAPI community, address discrimination, and how to chase after the part of the world we can make better."
Learn more about Mindbody here.
Promoting harmony and unity – T. Rowe Price
"T. Rowe Price is aware and appalled at the recent spike in hate crimes against the Asian community. In response, the firm will center Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month efforts around harmony and unity, in alignment with the Hawaiian value, Lōkahi – Forward as One. To share best practices, successes and areas of opportunities, T. Rowe Price will co-host a Leadership Panel on Asian Leadership Challenges with Baltimore Asian Connect, a consortium of Asian business resource group leaders at local corporations. The firm will also host a book club and restorative listening circles for Asian American associates and their allies."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price here.
Celebrating Asians globally
"May is Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month. Although traditionally a US celebration, at Autodesk we are celebrating Asians globally. The Autodesk Asian Network is hosting Innovative Leaders, including Lori Mukoyama and Jonathan Zee. Lori Mukoyama is redefining experience-driven design globally at Gensler. Jonathan Zee has an extensive portfolio of buildings that are helping to shape cities around the world at Goettsch Partners. Lori and her husband Jonathan combine design, architecture and engineering in their work while simultaneously manage a family together during this pandemic. This event is hosted by AAN, as part of a monthlong series of APA Heritage Month events."
Learn more about AutoDesk here.
An T. Do was recently visiting her cousin in San Francisco, California for all of 40 hours. In that time, she made two full cakes and several dozen perfectly executed French macarons.
"I told my family, 'You won't be seeing me for a while!' and packed up what I could for their freezer," says An, smiling.
The web analytics team lead for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA, is used to accomplishing a lot in a little amount of time.
With less than two years under her belt as a full-time employee at the Agency, An has already been promoted to team lead, taken on the role of co-lead of their Asian Pacific American Council (APAC), and coordinated the logistics of a large in-person event for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this past May.
We sat down with An to find out how she makes it all happen—and importantly, how APAC has worked to be there for Asian American employees during a year of unprecedented racially-motivated attacks.
Driven to Serve
An says that public service is in her blood. As a first-generation American with a Vietnamese father and grandfather who both completed military service, An knew she wanted to follow in their footsteps by giving back. She did her undergraduate degree and master's in network engineering, and worked as a network administrator for various government organizations.
After doing logistics management for the State Department, she got a role as a contractor at NGA, figuring she'd be there for a while as she finished her grad degree. But a few years in, she realized that one of her customers could modernize how they delivered maps and imagery to international partners by moving from a local database to cloud migration.
She wrote a proposal, including her own research and calculations, and it was approved. For three years, she managed towards a successful migration. It was then that An realized she wanted to work as a full-time employee at NGA—and in a different subject matter.
"I'd done the network aspect. I did the system engineering. I really enjoy dealing with methods of data, and seeing it come to fruition, so I figured, let's see what opportunity NGA has as a data engineer. I put my name into the hat without really thinking that I would get it," says An.
She did get it. And two months later, she was promoted to tech lead, managing an entire team.
Determined to Lead
When An started as an NGA employee, she ran into a challenging coworker.
"I realized I needed to be able to be organizational savvy, as well as tech savvy and political savvy, because now my role was not just as a contractor, where you're given specific goals to tackle; I needed to be a better leader, who could manage that kind of situation and be successful at it," she says.
That need for community and support drove An to join APAC, NGA's employee resource group for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
At her first meeting with that group, she met APAC's co-lead. He was serving food for everyone, and she was shocked—and impressed—to see such servant leadership.
A few months after joining the group, that co-lead stepped down. An raised her hand to take his place.
That was in February 2020. A month later, the COVID-19 pandemic began, and anti-Asian racism exploded.
"I have two elderly parents who take daily walks, and I had to wonder if I needed my parents to curtail their normal routine," says An.
Other members of APAC shared their concerns with the group: they found themselves looking over their shoulders, wondering if a violent attacker was near; they struggled to focus on work the day after heavy news coverage of more violence. They wondered what kind of support NGA could provide them.
An and her co-lead focused on a three-part response strategy: listening, providing resources, and advocating. Here's what it looked like:
- Listening: "I had to learn to ask people I work with, 'How are you today? Versus how are things going. I emphasize the 'you' part because that gives them a chance to open up and discuss how they're feeling," she says. APAC started sending emails that served as open forums for anyone who wanted to share their thoughts, fears, or reflections.
- Providing resources: An and her team communicated that NGA provided a slew of resources, including counseling, monthly meetings, speakers, reminders about mental health and sick days, and access to the AAPI network in the greater intelligence community, for anyone who needed help. "It was about enabling them to feel their voice being heard and showing there are efforts put in place to help prevent any uneasiness with the discrimination that was happening outside of the workforce," she says.
- Advocating: On a personal and professional level, An believes in advocacy. "The more you have these hard conversations, the more you open and educate people about what being AAPI means beyond the model minority myth...unless you become an advocate, this is not going to go away," she says. For example, An took it upon herself to be extra friendly to people she interacted with in public, even when that was difficult because everyone was wearing a mask. "I made sure to show more kindness to people, even through my eyes; that was a bit outside my comfort zone, but I definitely make that effort," she says.
As important as An knows her work with APAC to be, she acknowledges that it's not easy to heal from the threat of violence and experiences of everyday racism. "I don't know if I'll ever be able to go back to the pre-pandemic comfort level," she says.
Finding Inspiration to Keep Going
An didn't meet her APAC co-lead in person until this May, well over a year after becoming an advisor to the group. They were working together on a big event for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
"It hit a little closer to home for a lot of us," she says of this year's celebrations. An signed up to be the logistics manager of the event, and found herself designing a speaking panel that was the agency's first all-Asian-American-decent panel. It also included the first rear admiral of the Navy of Vietnamese descent, who was the event's keynote speaker.
"We could not have asked for a better keynote," An says. "He addressed the community about the events that had happened, saying, 'It's real. What can we do to make sure that not equality but actual equity gets taken care of?' and 'It doesn't matter what your heritage is—you're American first.'"
The event was the highlight of An's tenure at NGA, she says, and she knows she's not the only one who felt the power of coming together as a community.
"I got an email from a coworker who had been in federal service for 38 years. She said that was the most honest, genuine address that she ever had experienced in her career," says An.
An wants to pay that feeling forward, and has one last piece of advice for anyone considering stepping up and becoming a leader in their own organization: "Be more willing to take part of the change that you believe in, even if it scares the heck out of you. I definitely never expected to be where I am now, but I'm so glad that I raised my hand."
💎 What does a recruiting process with "diversity at work" in mind look like?
📼 Press PLAY to hear some insights from a recruiter at Procore into what it's like to work at a company that encourages diversity. Cynthia Griffin, Senior Talent Operations Specialist at Procore, shares some tips and tricks to stand out in the recruitment process at Procore.
📼 Diversity, inclusion, and belonging are at the forefront of Procore's recruitment efforts. They work to mitigate unconscious bias, address microaggressions, and implement training on leading inclusively during challenging times. Plus, they hold community round tables and listening sessions to amplify the voices of underrepresented employees and nurture the ecosystem of employee resource groups.
📼 Diversity at work is one of the main focuses of Procore's recruiting process. Don't miss Cynthia's valuable tips on how to prepare for your interview with Procore. During your panel interviews, the company has a set of standard behavioral questions and stages that will cover both technical and leadership skills. This will help them identify the qualities that will make you successful at the job. As Cynthia says, "take us on your journey". Think about your past experience, whether it's professional or personal. The recruiting team really wants to understand the journey that you've been on and where you might like to take your career in the future.
The Importance of Encouraging Diversity at Work
Optimism and ownership helped define Procore from their beginning stages. Their values are ingrained in daily operations, from how they run meetings to the ways the team communicates with each other. "It's at the core of who we are, how we lead, how we grow, and how we continue to hire".
📨 Are you interested in joining Procore? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Cynthia
Cynthia is an experienced recruiter with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. Skilled in Coaching, Sales, and Applicant tracking systems, she's a strong human resources professional who graduated from Ventura College.
More About Procore
Procore Technologies is building the software that builds the world. We provide cloud-based construction management software that helps clients more efficiently build skyscrapers, hospitals, retail centers, airports, housing complexes, and more. At Procore, we have worked hard to create and maintain a culture where you can own your work and are encouraged and given resources to try new ideas. Check us out on Glassdoor to see what others are saying about working at Procore. Our headquarters is located on the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean in Carpinteria, CA, with growing offices worldwide.
Sarah Mogin never used to like writing open-ended essays in school. She found herself much more motivated by tangible problems.
Calculus had some of those—she never had trouble with her math homework—but when she was in school she never envisioned just how much she could incorporate that love of solution-finding into her daily work, much less that she would have a career as a developer one day.
"I've always gotten a lot of motivation out of solving complex problems of any sort," says Sarah.
After college, Sarah made a big move to New York and found herself in a job working at a digital marketing agency. From there she began to gain a better sense of the pathways to new opportunities that existed in the digital space and took the steps she needed to make a significant life switch.
Now, as an Associate Tech Director at design and development company Work & Co, she's able to work on a diverse set of projects and apply a creative lens that makes use of all of her past-life knowledge.
We sat down with Sarah to hear more about her career switch and what advice she has for other people with non-tech experience who are looking for ways to make the most of all they know.
Taking risks to capitalize on opportunities
When Sarah first moved to New York, she got into digital marketing via a $10-an-hour Craigslist ad. With plenty of opportunities to learn practical skills like search engine optimization, social media marketing, and writing online press releases, she came up the curve quickly.
"I wasn't super passionate about those things, but I appreciated having a job and concrete tasks, so I dove in," she says. After a few more years there, she had started a PR department, written training documents and marketing materials, and hosted webinars and seminars.
"It was just kind of a time in my life where I kept saying yes to things and experimenting. It was a way to keep learning," says Sarah, who realized that she wanted to continue her learning in more formal ways, too, like going back to school.
Having spent some time honing her skills in communication and social media, she realized she wanted to tap more deeply into other aspects of the digital space. She had long had an interest in web development and programming. "I didn't have a class on it in high school. I didn't know anyone whose parents were programmers," she says. "I had some hesitancy about making the change, but I wanted to have a skill and combine what I could do naturally with someone teaching me an advanced skill or trade."
So she took a risk and left her job and enrolled in a 12-week coding bootcamp.
Dealing with imposter syndrome
The bootcamp ended up being a great decision, says Sarah, but that wasn't immediately apparent. Finding a new role coming out of her training was tough. She filled out 100 job applications and found that many companies didn't want to take a chance on someone with a non-traditional background. "They just didn't understand that I was this well-rounded person with a lot of skills already but now had added coding, and I was good at it," she says.
Eventually, Simon & Schuster bit, and Sarah got her first official role in tech, coding in Ruby on Rails (and enjoying free books that came with the job).
After she'd gained enough experience there and when it came time to leave that company and look for something new, though, Sarah was daunted by having to prove herself all over again.
She wanted to work somewhere that could meld strong creative and design foundations with technology, thinking a job like that would fit her interests and abilities well. When she heard about Work & Co, she knew it was the place for her—but wasn't sure if they would agree.
"I liked that there was a defined focus on products and experiences, that everything they built was intended to be an enduring product that people could use every day. To me, that was going to be fun to work on. But, in addition to being a tech outsider, I was also an agency outsider," she says. "I had only worked in-house."
Sarah ended up getting a job offer from Work & Co, which was open to her self-taught background. Without a ton of code samples under her belt yet, she started as a developer but quickly moved up with team members around her acknowledging that she was at a higher skill level than they initially thought.
She was able to take on a range of complex projects, in sectors ranging from education to nonprofit to retail and on products that span websites and CMS platforms to e-commerce and chatbots. It's been seven years since she made the switch and today Sarah is not only still a hands-on developer with a diverse toolkit, but she's also an award-winning technology leader and mentor to other employees.
5 tips for making a career switch work for you
Sarah kept—pleasantly—surprising her team. From being able to lead client projects (leaning on her digital marketing agency experience) to knowing how to hire new team members, she was able to lean into the skills she honed in her past roles and make an even bigger impact.
Here's the advice she has for other people looking to do the same thing:
- Recognize that as a career-switcher, you're bringing much-needed updated thinking. "Even when I was a new engineer and sometimes thought of myself as an imposter, coming from a bootcamp, I had a more up-to-date engineering background than some of the other developers," reflects Sarah.
- Be confident about what you bring to the table. Sarah says her past experience has allowed her to confidently volunteer for new roles and to share her opinion. "I have context from my prior life that can be helpful," she says. "It's good to have those skills in your back pocket in addition to what people are just expecting you to have as an engineer."
- But start with crushing your main job first. "It's easy to get excited about initiatives like helping to recruit or leading meetings or events. I really love doing those things, but you have to make sure you're doing your day-to-day responsibilities really well," says Sarah. "It's a lot easier for people to invest in you if they already see your success."
- Manage up by taking initiative. "Sometimes people have trouble relinquishing control or figuring out how you can help," says Sarah, who recommends just getting started. "Rather than proposing an idea to someone, you can show them something you've already put together. Instead of saying, 'I want to write a post on our company blog,' you can say, 'Here's an outline for a post.'"
- Pay it forward via recruiting. "I wanted to be involved [in hiring] right away because as someone who had just broken into the industry, I wanted to help people like me, or even people different from me, but who felt like outsiders for any other reason," says Sarah. "My experience has taught me that there are a lot of different ways to get to where you need to be as a good engineer. At the end of the day, it's just about whether you can do the job, and less about where you came from or what you've done before."
Only 4% of companies that say they value diversity consider disabilities. Even fewer include learning and thinking differences.
While neurodiversity is a concept that is gaining more awareness, many employers have still not fully grasped the importance (and benefits) of understanding neurodiversity and how to effectively incorporate and retain neurodivergent individuals in their organizations.
This document is a follow-up guide to a conversation PowerToFly held in August 2021 with Managers, HR Professional, and Organization Leaders about Supporting Neurodiversity in the Workplace, and its purpose is to continue the conversation and give actionable steps toward inclusion. We will be focusing on ways to create an inclusive hiring process —from application to interviews—and how to support and empower neurodivergent employees at work.
This guide is broken into four parts:
- Neurodiversity explained: helpful definitions and vocabulary that will help you more accurately speak about neurodiversity in the workplace.
- Types of neurodiversity: details about different neurocognative conditions, and the strengths they present, as well as the struggles that individuals with each condition may face in the workplace.
- Accommodating neurodiversity: advice on best practices when it comes to hiring, retaining, and evaluating neurodiverse talent.
- Reflection and resources: questions that will help you reflect on your organization's inclusion practices and additional references on the topic.
Download the full guide here or check out a preview below: