When we first announced that I was to be the new CEO of Secret Source, I was so focused on, you know, becoming a CEO, that it honestly didn’t occur to me that I was a woman CEO until I saw some of the lovely comments on my post. Obviously, the reality is that I am still a rarity, especially in tech.
At Secret Source, we’re proud of the fact that 36% of our employees are women. We want to have as diverse a team as possible because we know that it will improve performance, and for me personally, it’s much more enjoyable to work on a team with other women.
For this year’s IWD, I’ve been thinking about what we do at Secret Source to recruit and crucially, retain a diverse workforce.
Number one is our culture. Secret Source was set up with one simple goal. To create the best place to work in the Canary Islands and we do that by focusing on employee happiness. We’re fanatical about it, it drives everything we do.
An important part of that is championing Psychological Safety. A few years ago Google did a multi-year study called Project Aristotle to find out what the most important quality in teams. Of the five key dynamics of effective teams that the researchers identified, psychological safety was by far the most important. The Google researchers found that individuals on teams with higher psychological safety are less likely to leave and they’re more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their teammates.
Psychological safety is part of the everyday vocabulary of Secret Source and we think about how to improve it all the time. Everyone in the company has a 1to1 every week with their manager and this is a safe space to talk about anything that might be bothering them and we focus on building strong relationships with our clients so that team members feel comfortable asking questions and giving ideas.
Secondly (and this is something I’m really proud of) we are open and transparent about how we reward and promote our employees. Transparency about pay is a key way to close the gender pay gap. When we created our professional development process, I wanted to make sure that all of our employees were rewarded fairly for their hard work, not just the ones who ask for it.
It starts with our professional ladder. This is a scale that defines what a junior, intermediate or senior developer is. We associate a salary range with each level of the ladder, so you know that if you are a level 12 developer, you will be paid roughly the same as another level 12 developer in the company. This professional ladder forms the backbone of our professional development process, we use it to review employees every 6 months and place them on the ladder and it forms the basis of their goals for the next 6 months.
Finally, when Nayra Padrón Lorenzo joined us as HR Manager last year, she made some improvements to our recruitment process to try to remove as much bias as possible and attract more women.
We actively look for women by collaborating with Adalab – a women only bootcamp. We also collaborate with AdaLovesDev – a non-profit organisation focused on empowering women in Software Development. We’ve delivered free training to help women feel more prepared to perform at interviews.
We make sure women are represented and featured in our marketing campaigns so potential candidates know they will be welcomed here and women in the company are involved in every recruitment campaign, hiring decisions and as many interviews as possible.
I know we still have work to do. This year, we want to strengthen our relationships with local organisations to attract more female candidates and we’ll also be delivering unconscious bias training to our staff as we continue to work to #BreaktheBias.