Why do we celebrate Women’s History Month? If you ask me, women deserve a lot more than one month of celebration ?
Don’t get me wrong, women in the workplace have a long way to go before they are equally represented at the top, according to McKinsey. Companies are hiring and promoting more women into senior leadership positions – but those numbers aren’t budging for management positions. And of course, not every woman has the privilege to lead in an organization. For example, McKinsey found that women of color represent only 5% of the 26% of women you see in senior leadership. There are too few examples of women from other walks of life too. I’m sure many of us have never worked with a leader with a visible or known-invisible disability.
To change this, we need to take a deeper look into how women in their unique identities show up at work. Many of us often look around our meetings and Zoom calls and only recognize one or two identities represented.
That’s not good enough.
My role at Drift is to change that. It won’t happen overnight, and I won’t be able to do it on my own, but in honor of Women’s History Month, I wanted to share with you a few of the different ways our team is working to support women.
1. Saving a seat at the (interview) table
To make sure we’re fairly considering women – at the entry-level all the way to leadership – we’ve committed to conducting in-person interviews for at least two people from underrepresented groups for every role we hire for. Don’t worry, these days we’re doing all interviews over Zoom.
2. Partnering to provide more opportunities
We’ve also partnered with organizations like Girls in Tech so that we can help level the playing field for women and girls through mentorship, professional development, and talks from industry thought leaders.
3. Asking our team what they care about
We don’t decide what’s important to women. We ask women what’s important to them. It’s the reason our team was able to create an employee resource group for women. This ERG formed based on the interest and initiative of our team members. In fact, all of our ERGs are encouraged to tell Drift what’s on their mind and where they need support.
As I’m writing this post, one example really shines through as something worth celebrating. This year on International Women’s Day (we celebrated on March 9), our women’s ERG took over one of our weekly all-company meetings, Monday Metrics. All presenters during the meeting were women and the content was thoughtfully put together to centered around women. I’m talking right down to the slides, GIFs, quotes…everything. Leaders from every department of the company getting up to share updates on the state of the business and critical metrics. Not something you see everyday, but our team made it happen. Talk about empowering ?
4. Seeking feedback and actually responding to it
Our people team takes feedback very seriously. We measure employee sentiment by team and tenure, but also by background, so we are able to better understand how women specifically are feeling. But we don’t ask for feedback and then leave it to be forgotten in a Google doc. We take action. One thing that’s been working for our team has been to set up quarterly feedback loops with leaders to talk about the data and create specific actions in response.
5. Reporting on our progress
I’m proud to say we celebrated the end of 2019 for having grown representation in our senior leadership to 39% women and 11% underrepresented people.
There’s plenty more work to be done. But I’m a firm believer that small changes today can lead to monumental changes tomorrow. And that, my friends, is all the reason I need to celebrate ?