Inclusion and Diversity in our Workplace

SkillLab’s team has been growing quite a bit in the last couple of months. As our numbers grow, so does our diversity, and we are paying special attention to that. Becoming a more diverse team is important for us for three reasons:

  • SkillLab has a multicultural and global client network and user base, spanning across more than 30 countries. To best serve our users and customers, we need a team that reflects this diversity.
  • An inclusive work culture increases employee engagement, ownership and motivation, because people have a place where they belong.
  • A lot of academic research found that having a team with diverse perspectives leads to better business results in the long run; even though decisions can take longer and the team needs to navigate uncomfortable situations in the short-run.

SkillLab’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan

We formed a working group to explore what diversity and inclusion means for SkillLab. Our Diversity and Inclusion Plan aims to ensure that we foster a work culture that prioritizes and fosters inclusion and builds on diversity as a strength. 

Different diversities in our team

There are many different types of diversity, such as gender, culture, age, religion, and socio-economic. In SkillLab, as the team grew, cultural diversity increased organically. As our team continues to grow, we are focusing on further increasing our cultural diversity to fairly represent our customer and user base. Currently, our team cultural composition looks like this:

Cultural diversity in December 2022

Another type of diversity that we are specifically focusing on in this stage of our diversity and inclusion plan development is gender. Currently our team is composed of 46% self-identified female colleagues, and 53% self-identified male colleagues. As the team grew, this gender imbalance was also a result of the fact that the founding team only included one female co-founder.

Especially in comparison with our cultural diversity, we are aware that we need to improve our gender balance, also in terms of diversifying beyond the binary categorization. This imbalance is even bigger in decision-making forums, among the team leads and the board members.

Gender balance - December 2021

Gender balance - December 2022

Always improving ourselves

At SkillLab, we have two rounds of feedback per year, which includes a reflection on work wellbeing and team satisfaction. Feedback results show high satisfaction in general, especially when it comes to team effectiveness and leadership. However, we also identified some areas of improvement, and we currently focused on acting on three of them:

1. Improving our gender diversity: at the time of writing this post, SkillLab's team comprises 46% of self-identified women, and 54% self-identified men. This is above average, as a common ratio in tech companies is usually 30-70%. We will continue to pay special attention to additional challenges that underrepresented groups face, and continue improving our gender diversity.

2. Having more diverse decision makers: Our current decision making body (the team leads and our advisory board) is currently the least diverse. Gender diversity especially  needs to be represented in decision making forums. Increased diversity in decision-making in various aspects will be crucial as our workforce and business are also becoming more diverse.

3. Becoming a more family-friendly workplace: SkillLab has quite a young team. In addition to our colleagues that already are parents, we have more and more people that are either becoming parents very soon, or are planning to become parents. By improving our parental leave support and support to parents in general we are additionally supporting our gender balance goal, as child care traditionally falls on women, and further increases the gender inequalities in the labor market.

New Year’s resolutions

Based on these improvement points, we formulated three actionable goals that we want to achieve by the end of 2023:

1. Achieve 40% non-cis male team participation at SkillLab.

To achieve this goal, we have focused a lot on our hiring process in particular. We have formed a hiring committee which makes sure that the candidates we are talking to meet different colleagues from different teams and different backgrounds, so we minimize the unconscious bias in hiring. In this committee, we include at least two non-cis male participants for all the positions that we have open.

For everyone involved in the hiring process, we organized an unconscious bias training. Based on the learnings, we structured our interview questions, and added reflection questions for the hiring committee on unconscious bias.

We are actively targeting diverse job candidates when reaching out to potential candidates via LinkedIn or other job platforms, and we work with recruitment platforms and agencies that work with diverse candidates.

We also revisited the language of our vacancies, making it more gender aware, and attracts more non-cis male applicants.

2. Achieve a more diverse leadership (board and team lead positions) that reflects the diversity of SkillLab’s team, user and client base.

As part of this action plan, we want at least 50% of the candidates that are formally interviewed for any open executive position, either as a team lead or a board member, to be non-cis males and/or a part of any other group that is currently underrepresented within the company decision-making bodies.

Also in this selection process we will include at least 2 participants that are non-cis males and/or a part of any other group that is currently underrepresented within the company.

Additionally, we will organize a coaching workshop with an external professional to support our team leadership in how to lead diverse teams. Through our personal development budget, our team leadership also has individual access to coaches and mentors to further strengthen their leadership skills.

3. Make SkillLab a more family-friendly workplace for all parents.

We want to first and foremost understand our employees’ needs when it comes to parenting and family matters, and based on their needs put a supportive policy framework in place.

We have and will continue to have one on one calls with our colleagues that are either becoming or are parents to explain our policy, and discuss how SkillLab can support them.

As we set out this plan and goals for 2023, we will keep checking in with our whole team to ensure that the plan is working for everyone, and that it addresses our actual needs. One of the essential pillars of this plan is the involvement of our whole team, which is why we will continue to actively involve everyone in the activities. This way we enable everyone to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive workplace in which we can all feel safe, and be the best version of ourselves.