How measurement and accountability powered the growth of Women in the Workplace at NextRoll

For the 4th consecutive year, we are proud to be included in in McKinsey and Company’s Women in the Workplace study, helping companies advance diversity in the workplace. At NextRoll, one of our core values is to hire great people and help them grow, which is why we are excited to be featured as a company putting their commitment into action in this report. I want to provide a more detailed look at how we’ve been able to move the needle in creating a more diverse employee population. 

The Corporate Pipeline

While the study shows that companies have made progress in growing the number of women in leadership over the past five years, there is still a “a broken rung” internally – meaning women are slower to advance to management positions in comparison to their male counterparts. I am proud to say NextRoll has been working to address this issue since 2016, when we launched our first cohort of Women in Leadership (WIL).  

The six-month WIL program consists of monthly coaching workshops focused on key management skill sets including how to grow your network, how to boost your personal brand and visibility, how to influence regardless of authority, and how to engage mentors and sponsors. During the course of this program, WIL participants also engage in an executive speaker series and monthly team building activities to help them grow their network within the organization. 

This year we had 20 women participate in the program – our largest cohort of the WIL program to date – and celebrated their graduation and achievements last month at our HQ. The participants brought our executive team, their direct managers, and peers through the program learnings and explained how they have been applied in a dedicated graduation session. They also made their recommendations to the leadership team on how to continue to support women at NextRoll and gave feedback on enhancements to make to our next program. Since launching the program we have increased the number of women in people management positions to 40%, up from 27% in 2016, and look forward to growing that number in the coming years.

The Culture of Work

The Women in the Workplace study highlights that companies “need to invest in creating strong cultures” to reach true equity. The three factors noted for creating strong work cultures were equal opportunity and fairness; a safe, respectful workplace; and work-life flexibility. At NextRoll, we truly believe our culture sets us apart from other companies. For the past five years, we have conducted an internal Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) survey to measure how our employees feel about our culture.  

Some highlights from our 2019 survey revealed that:

  • 82% of employees felt that people from all backgrounds have equal opportunities to succeed; a 10% increase since 2016.

  • 89% of employees feel respected at NextRoll, 7% above the benchmark.

  • 82% of employees felt we have a safe and supportive environment to have open conversations about diversity and inclusion; a 7% increase since 2016.

  • 87% of employees felt the company enables them to balance their work and personal life; 10% above the industry benchmark.

While we are proud of our gains, we also know that there is a lot more work to be done to ensure every employee population has the same level of positive sentiment about their ability to succeed in the company. We actively use the data from our surveys to inform and improve our employee engagement programs. For example, our 2018 DEI survey revealed only 67% of underrepresented minorities (defined as Black, LatinX, Native American), felt they could be successful at the company, compared to 88% of the overall employee base. In an effort to address this gap, we partnered with Strive, a San Francisco-based learning and development partner, to create a leadership development program for underrepresented groups.  Our intention is to increase the diversity of our senior leadership team, similarly to the way we have increased the representation of women over the past few years.  

Commitment to Diversity

The Women in the Workplace report discusses how companies need to take action on their commitment to diversity. The key recommendations are setting and sharing diversity targets and metrics. At NextRoll, we have a DEI Core Committee dedicated to setting annual and quarterly goals to positively impact how we hire diverse talent and increase the sense of inclusion, belonging and equity for our employees. Our DEI Core Committee is cross-functional with members from engineering, finance, marketing, operations, people, product, sales, the executive team, and leaders from all six of our Roller-led Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).   

Our 2019 hiring goals to increase the representation of women in our organization are as follows:

  • Increase hiring rate of women in people manager roles to 50%.

  • Increase hiring rate of women in new business sales roles to 40%.

  • Increase hiring rate of women in tech roles to 25%.

 Our Talent Acquisition team reports on the diversity of their pipelines based on gender and ethnicity throughout their recruitment cycles.  These reports allow teams to track the candidate pool and provide accountability to leaders across the organization to build diverse pipelines of talent.

Over the past few years, we have also been diligently working to evolve and standardize our interview process in an effort to eliminate bias and increase diversity in our hiring process.  We have a standardized set of interview questions for each member of the interview panel that they ask all candidates in addition to providing behavioral-based interview training and unconscious bias training for. We have also removed whiteboarding from technical interviews, to help ensure the hiring process is equitable for all candidates. In addition to trying to increase women in technical roles, we are actively trying to attract and hire women in new business sales roles. We have already been using a number of tools and partnerships to help us attract more women (including helping to make our job descriptions more gender equitable using Textio), and this year we doubled down on our efforts, creating a national partnership with Women in Sales Everywhere (WISE) to help engage and grow the next generation of sales leaders. 

Consistent with our core value of transparency, we also annually update our employee metrics and share them internally with employees and publicly on our website. 

We invite you to follow us along the journey as we strive to make our company as diverse as the communities in which we live and work. If you are interested in being part of our company and want to make in impact, join us.