What does Diversity and Inclusion mean at Plain Concepts?
Last January we were recognized by the IAMCP (International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners) as the Global Winners of the IAMCP’s Diversity and Inclusion Challenge. As a result, we were encouraged to write about what D&I means for us, and we’d love to share it with all of you.
Diversity and Inclusion at Plain Concepts
At Plain Concepts, we believe it is necessary to have a diverse workforce but also an inclusive work culture. Inclusion is to be part of the group, feeling unique in it and being valued for your differences. Different experiences and backgrounds bring different perspectives which will contribute to newer and more diverse ideas to help solve problems and drive innovation. That is why we are now focusing our efforts on recruiting diverse professionals as well as creating programs to increase retention.
What initiatives is Plain Concepts undertaking to support this?
We initially thought that a diverse and inclusive team was who we were at the core and that we didn’t really have to focus on it, but then we realized that was a naïve approach. By listening to our team, we decided that we indeed needed to take some steps to embrace diversity and empower inclusion and that is why we created the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Plain Concepts.
As an example, last year, we organized a one-day meeting to celebrate the 50 women in our company and discuss what it meant to be a woman in STEM and what Plain Concepts could do to support them. Today, we are 63 women at Plain Concepts (19% of the total workforce), 33 of which became part of our team during 2019, which means that last year we increased the number of women in our company by 70%.
Also, to adjust to everybody’s circumstances, we make a point to increase organizational flexibility and the results have been positive, particularly for parents and caregivers.
Lately, we have been working on increasing the pool of diverse candidates. We have realized that it was not enough to post a job offer and wait for diverse people to apply. That’s why in order to be more proactive we had to carry out initiatives like some of those we have already implemented in our Seattle office, for example posting our job offers on specific job portals, which aim to connect talented women with world-class employers that respect work and life integration. Some of the websites we are using are “The mom project” and “Mogul”.
Finally, we always have and will continue to focus on teamwork and collaboration to create a company where everybody feels safe to share their ideas and is heard. We still have a long way to go and lots of different initiatives to put in place.
How to attract a diverse workforce?
As mentioned previously, we are changing our hiring process to attract a more diverse pool of candidates. We have a more structured way of conducting interviews and are choosing who to hire not only based on the curriculum but based on skills.
For this, at some of our offices, we are taking the following initiative, candidates have a couple of days to perform a coding exercise and they are compensated for their time. Actions speak louder than words and it gives us a clear insight into how the candidates think and perform. This method allows us to remove some unconscious bias and gives really good results.
Plain Concepts is currently in the process of international expansion, and we currently have offices in Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London, Seattle, and Spain, which brings people of different nationalities and cultures together. We have people of 16 nationalities in our company, therefore many of our offices and teams are made up of multicultural teams, especially the larger offices such as Barcelona and Madrid.
To help these new team members feel part of the global company, we are moving towards English being Plain Concepts’ official language. For this, all our corporate communications are done in English and we are offering free English classes to every employee who wants to. We also promote exchanges between offices where people can work from an office abroad for a couple of months.
How to motivate your team?
Our company has always been remote-friendly but with the current situation, it was more important than ever to show our support and not only allow teleworking but also flexible hours so that our team could reconcile work, personal and family life.
To reinforce our commitment to it we have recently signed the “Telework Charter“, which consists of a letter of commitment signed on a voluntary basis by companies to promote a clear commitment to the culture of flexible working and teleworking; respect for the environment, diversity and inclusion; and recognition and education on the benefits of a flexible culture.
Another initiative in which we have recently joined is called “Todos desde casa”, in which we have met professionals from various companies to offer advice and resources in a disinterested way to companies that want to start implementing teleworking.
Flexible hours and the ease of obtaining reductions in working hours or leave of absence are some of the benefits most valued by our colleagues.
What was the result?
In 2019 our turnover rate was 8% when the average in the sector is around 15%. This shows the commitment of our team to the company.
In addition, for 2 years in a row, Plain Concepts has been recognized as a Great Place To Work in Spain, thanks to something that our people value very much which is the team spirit, the good working atmosphere, the comradeship, and the horizontality of the organization.
A diverse team provides a diversity of thoughts that represent and reflect society. These different perspectives make us a more innovative company that can think outside the box.