A recent report by Compass, a provider of reporting and benchmarking software, noted that Chicago is the leading city the world in terms of startups founded by women. (Yea Chicago! And kudos to Nicole Yeary of Ms. Tech and 1871’s WiSTEM).
However, in general, women still hold less than 25% of total jobs in technology. At MotherG, our numbers are better: 33% of our work force is comprised of women in various positions including systems engineering and operations.
We know that creating a diverse workplace improves performance. We know it is important to create a work environment that reflects the communities in which we live and work as opposed to an office place of “sameness.” It leads to increased innovation and creativity and broadens access to varied insights and experiences. When employees don’t feel left out – i.e. I am the only (fill in the blank) -- they are more engaged and vested in the company and its success.
As such, we are actively recruiting, retaining and promoting women at MotherG. Here are tactics we use that other companies can adapt:
1. Affirmative Action Program
Have an affirmative action program to recruit women and minority groups and set percentage goals. We train our management team on the importance of our affirmative action goals. This encourages them to spread the word about internal job openings to women in their own social networks.
2. Network, listen and learn
Diversity and inclusion are very important to MotherG, so team members regularly attend diversity career fairs and diversity networking events to source for women.
3. Be family friendly
We provide flexible start and finish times; if it’s easier for someone to work an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. work shift or a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift, we’ll let them have that flexibility. This makes it easier to find qualified women during the recruiting process and keep them here.
4. Be family friendly, part 2
We recently introduced unlimited PTO after the first year of service at MotherG. This gives our employees the flexibility they need to attend to family needs.
We often host our own or participate in external group activities and team building programs. This encourages fun, informal interaction between people who may not normally do so in the office or within their own social circles. Understanding and getting to know others from different backgrounds eliminates communication barriers and fosters productive workplace relationships.
Creating a strong company culture is vital to our success. Part of that is creating internal programs and resources benefiting employees and supporting efforts in which they are interested.
It has been proven that companies with diverse staff and employees at all levels outperform those with more homogenous offices. Adopting programs and policies, setting, measuring and meeting goals will boost employee happiness, engagement, resulting in lower turnover and ultimately, a stronger bottom line.