When Envato enshrined diversity and inclusion in its values, it did so on a very clear understanding: that the company, and the people within it, will thrive if we continue to champion for positive change. Our leaders reflected at the time that it was on all staff to take up the responsibility for ensuring Envato was a place where talented, value-driven people thrive; a workplace that was welcoming, respectful and supportive.
But such an approach still remains the exception, and not the rule. A recent Atlassian study revealed that while as many as 80% of the US tech sector believes diversity and inclusion (D&I) is an important issue, as many as 50% of those same respondents have decreased their participation in programs related to D&I. It’s an alarming figure when all evidence points to the number of easily definable benefits a diverse workforce provides.
So while some of the biggest tech companies in the world, such as Spotify and Pinterest, took up the mantle and shared their diversity data in 2018, we continue to be served reminders of just how many challenges exist in continuing to make the sector a more inclusive place, despite the prominence of discussion around such issues.
Below you will find a summary of both new and existing activities that showcase how Envato has focussed on its commitments to growing a culture of inclusiveness and diversity across all aspects of our people experience and levels of the company, an approach that goes beyond just focussing on improved hiring practices as we scale our business.
This is now the fourth year we’ve reported on such activities, and you can read the 2017 report here.
One of the most visible and important measures we’ve set for ourselves at Envato is growing the number of female staff across all levels of the business. There’s never been a more important time to do this, with recent studies showing that while women are entering the tech force at an increased rate, the growth is still slowing (US), even if they’re able to land tech jobs at all (UK).
“We need to ensure that the possible pipeline of female tech talent feels empowered about their career and that opportunities will exist for them if they go down this path,” said our Chief People Officer Michelle Ridsdale. “The most inspired and proactive young women who are keen to get involved in tech are often still finishing their education, so it’s still going to take time for a major shift to happen.”
In 2018, we saw an increase in female representation across the business, growing by 6% when compared to the year before. It’s worth noting that we are well aware that our current reporting has a binary view of gender, and is not inclusive of those who are gender diverse or non-binary. This is something we are seeking to resolve in future reporting on this subject.
In technical roles – be they developers, product managers or UX and UI experts – we’ve also seen an equivalent increase.
Growth in representation across all other, non-technical, roles was slower, but in line with the previous two years.
Finally, Envato’s leadership structure has never been more diverse, with this cohort of female staff growing by 7% when compared to 2017 levels.
In 2017 we launched a successful trial of a developer apprentice program targeted specifically at women wanting to enter the tech sector in a technical or development role. It was a lot of fun and we received a heap of great feedback from all involved. So in 2018, we offered it up again, with the second cohort of fantastic candidates currently embarking on their new career path.
This has been a consistent part of our inclusiveness program for the last few years, and as part of R U OK Day, we ran another two mental health awareness and resilience sessions for Envato’s people managers.
This year we partnered with Pride in Diversity to run the second round of ally awareness training. The training focused on three different aspects of being an ally, as well as the importance of LGBTI inclusion and awareness.
One of Envato’s core values is that ‘When The Community Succeeds, We Succeed’. A big part of that is partnering with industry groups, not-for-profits and tech communities of all sizes, to try and have a positive impact in the areas in which we operate. One such partnership which entered its third year in 2018 was our sponsorship of Code Like a Girl. We love watching this organisation grow as it supports more and more girls and women to flourish in the world of coding. In turn, the team at Code Like a Girl have also provided group mentoring sessions to our own women in tech at Envato.
For the third straight year, we completed an Australian Workplace Equality Index submission. We’ve found that this process gives us a great gauge on our LGBTI inclusion practices, as benchmarked against other organisations around Australia, both within our sector and further afield. While we have great engagement within our LGBTI community, we know we have more work to do in providing more consistent practices to build on that level of inclusion.
Envato is very lucky to have an active and engaged group of staff, not just in our Melbourne HQ but around the world as well. As a group, we’ve thrown our support behind major national and international awareness campaigns such as Wear It Purple Day, International Women’s Day and Pride Month.
All new starters at Envato are now asked to complete a training program on unconscious bias as part of their onboarding program. While such programs won’t solve our problems of bias on their own, we believe it’s important that we are all aware of the effect our biases can have on who we are and how we work.
The Australian Government has identified family violence as a major national health and welfare issue, with recent data highlighting just how prevalent and damaging such occurrences are. Envato has long supported the New Day Box project and in 2018 we introduced our first Family Violence Leave guideline, for any staff who experience a family violence-related challenge in their life. The guideline provides for 5 extra days of paid leave a year.
You may have seen our Chief People Officer Michelle Ridsdale talking about this issue already, but we feel like the Aussie tech sector could always do more to support parents who work in tech, especially as the number of women entering the local sector workforce increases.
Our updated parental leave policy includes:
Envato isn’t as small as it once was and we don’t always know each other well enough to know what’s okay and what’s not for someone else. We want Envato to be a place where people feel safe, heard, able to speak openly and with respect when communicating with others. Our new Safe Space Guidelines aims to ensure that as we grow, we continue to live by our values of Diverse and Inclusive, Fair Go and Tell It Like It Is.
We introduced an LGBTI demographic to the annual Great Place To Work survey we participate in every year. This has given our LGBTI community the opportunity to tell us how they feel about working at Envato, which will allow us to provide better awareness and support in the future.
Are there other areas of focus you would like to see Envato turn its attention to? Or an existing area you think we could do more in? Have your say here.