Building a More Inclusive Future in Tech18th April 2019
The past year has been filled with ugly headlines. Prominent men and powerful companies have been exposed for horrendous acts of harassment and assault. One of the worst things about all of these revelations is that for years, a culture of willful blindness and enablers allowed these predators to operate without consequences. Women were systematically victimized, marginalized, and maligned.
These headlines are not an aberration. Our society has a terminal social disease, and we are at a crossroads. We can either aggressively fight this disease and create a healthier society, or we can die. There is no middle ground.
One of the places this issue is most evident is in the tech industry. There are not enough women in tech, and the women who do work in tech have to fight too hard just to be safe, to be heard, and to be treated fairly.
Making #MeToo a Launch Pad
The #MeToo movement of yesterday’s headlines is a shocking reminder of just how widespread the issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault are in society and the workplace. I believe the best reaction to this movement is to tell women, “I believe you. I am ready to be the change we all want to see in the world.”
It is not enough to say we agree there is a problem. I want to use the #MeToo movement as a launch pad for the tech workplace of the future. This involves taking five steps to make sure our workplace is the best place for women in tech.
These are the five steps I am taking to build a better workplace as a starting place at DreamHost:
- Create a healthy workplace culture
- Shatter traditional workplace barriers for women
- Understand and reconcile any past failures at my workplace
- Bring more women into our tech space
- Create higher accountability
Making a workplace that is welcoming to women makes us a stronger company, a more profitable company, and one that serves the needs of our customers better than ever before.
Related: 30 Ways to Be an Ally for Women in Tech in 2019
Creating a Healthy Workplace Culture
We spend one-third, or more, of our adult lives at work. The workplace must be a space that is not only safe for everyone but is also a place that makes everyone happy. At DreamHost, we have created a work culture that celebrates the joy of work. It is not a perfect workplace. But we support each other and are united in a set of common goals.
We have also created a culture in which employees are able to live balanced, healthy lives. This means flexible work arrangements, providing employees with healthy food options, and encouraging everyone to be involved with their families and communities.
Our culture promotes the virtues of hard work, empathy, and teamwork. We know that DreamHost only succeeds when our employees feel safe and have the freedom to achieve their dreams. It is not only a labor law, but it is beginning to reach further beyond into social culture at DreamHost; harassment or isolation of any kind is just not tolerated.
Shattering Traditional Workplace Barriers
The first step in creating a better work environment is to work daily towards shattering the glass ceiling and all the other barriers that have limited women’s advancement and participation in the tech industry. These workplace barriers include things such as lack of mentoring, lack of women in leadership, tolerance for sexual harassment, toxic work cultures, lack of flexible work schedules, and failure to actively recruit women into the industry.
The key to having more women working in the tech sector is to do a better job of hiring women at every stage of the pipeline. As the industry gains more women in senior management positions, there will be a marked increase in women at every other level.
Shattering these workplace barriers requires a deep commitment to the goal of bringing more women into tech, a firm belief that having more women (and people of difference) in tech is good for the business, and it requires actively creating a culture that is welcoming to women. We have ensured that pay is equal for women as to men with people in the same position leveling up experience, education, and ability.
At DreamHost, we have set ourselves apart from the toxic culture so prevalent in tech companies. We have a deep philosophical and business belief: The more women and more diverse people we have working with us, the better our company can serve our customers. It is an ongoing movement, and we are ecstatic to embrace it into our culture.
Understanding Past Failures
Technology is a forward-looking industry. But when it comes to creating a welcoming environment for women in the workplace, we cannot ignore the failures of the past. Currently, at DreamHost, our workforce is only 23 percent female. Sadly, this percentage is higher than at a great many tech companies.
But it is not high enough.
We recognize that we have not done enough to actively recruit talented women at every level of our organization. This has been one of our failures.
We are working hard to make sure that women at DreamHost don’t have to work twice as hard as men to receive half of the recognition. We are creating a vibrant, inclusive, and healthy workplace culture.
Our team is not only proud of the quality of our work, but the way our work is accomplished. Here at DreamHost, we choose to actively break from elements leading to toxic tech culture and have expanded our recruiting outreach efforts to bring more women into the company.
Related: Fixing Tech’s Gender Gap: 10 Questions with Author Therese Huston
Bring More Women into Tech
It is no secret that there are not enough women in tech. The reason for this difference is simple: tech has not been welcoming to women. DreamHost is working to change the entire industry by being a model of how to cultivate a positive workplace culture.
However, culture alone is not enough. We are also actively recruiting women for positions at all levels. We are making sure that, instead of finding barriers to career advancement, women discover a network of mentors dedicated to helping them accomplish all of their goals.
We know that as women become more visible at our company and throughout the industry, more young girls will have the role models and mentors they need to choose technology as a future career. This will not only help DreamHost or the tech industry as a whole in the future, but it will also help the entire world.
We like to focus on the positive at DreamHost. However, we also know we cannot gloss over the reality that no matter how great of a culture we work daily to build internally, the culture in our society can be toxic.
Just like most companies, we have a policy in writing. DreamHost does not tolerate any type of discrimination or harassment. We have strict policies and procedures in place to protect our employees. We refuse to knowingly allow anyone at any level to bully, threaten, harass, or assault anyone else. But more than that, we are working to make it taboo in our culture by addressing unconscious bias.
We are working on building a better future with technology. This is why we got into tech. But to make the kind of future we envision, we need many more talented women (or any marginalized groups) not to be afraid to work in tech. The work is too important and too exciting to allow a toxic culture to keep the best and brightest minds from being fully engaged. In my workplace, we may not be perfect, but we recognize and are committed to a better future; one that is inclusive of women and anyone of difference.
If you are looking for a stimulating tech career in a positive environment where all differences are celebrated, come and join us. DreamHost is always looking to add new exceptional members to the team.
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