In recent years, several tech companies have gained notoriety by failing to address cultural issues until they start making headlines. HighGround, a Chicago-based employee engagement startup, wants to take a more proactive approach.
“Creating a gender-balanced workplace has been a priority since the early onset of our company,” said chief customer and technology officer Anjoo Rai-Marchant. “Our CEO’s mission and vision has been to create a diverse workforce and to make sure everyone feels engaged and that their input is meaningful.”
Rai-Marchant said her company’s workforce is 40 percent female, with women making up 28 percent of the tech team. That compares favorably to companies like Google and Facebook where women hold 20 and 19 percent of all tech jobs, respectively.
“We would love to get to 50-50, and in some departments we’re already above that,” said Rai-Marchant. “We want to get to a place that’s reflective of society.”
Rai-Marchant said HighGround has processes in place to to ensure hiring decisions are determined by merit and not influenced by unconscious biases. One of these is an assessment test that everyone interviewing for a tech role takes, while others are more organic in nature.
Rai-Marchant said these organic initiatives include leaders checking each other’s biases and working to create an environment that recognizes everyone's voice and contributions.
Having a gender-balanced workforce is a laudable goal in and of itself, but Rai-Marchant said HighGround’s bottom line is also seeing tangible benefits from its policies and practices.
“A diverse workforce brings diversity of thought,” said Rai-Marchant. “We’re getting a multidimensional point of view instead of a homogenous one. That impacts every part of our business, and that’s proven by the stats we have.”
Those stats include a user count that has grown sixfold over the year. HighGround’s platform is used by companies in 52 countries — a number the company says will hit 84 by year’s end.
Image via HighGround.