There are many ways for a company, and the HR department in particular, to promoting equality and a healthy work culture that comes with it. This article was written in collaboration with Volo’s HR team to better convey our company’s stance on achieving workforce diversity and our constant strive towards fair employment practices.
Starting off on the Right Foot with Recruitment
Our efforts in setting the right tone for gender equality at Volo begin with the candidate selection process. We are mindful of the prevalent hidden or explicit bias women face during the interview process, be it in the form of interview questions or interviewer attitudes.
“To me it doesn’t make a difference if the CV I am holding in my hands belongs to a man or a woman. What I care about is the candidate’s knowledge and experience. This is why we have technical interviews in IT — to objectively assess a candidate’s competence.
We abstain from questions about the candidate’s personal life, marital status, and children. None of that has anything to do with the work they will be doing,” says Alla Manoli-Rolinskaya, HR Manager of Volo Ukraine.
“We are also very mindful about hiring people who will fit in well and further contribute to our inclusive and engaging culture,” adds Stella Hovhannisyan, HR Manager of Volo Armenia. “We have a saying here — ‘Volo Style.’ What we mean by that is when a person embodies our company values. Sometimes we are in a position where we have to reject a qualified candidate, when we feel that they do not correspond to our ‘Volo Style.’”
Having the Right Mechanisms in Place
Our company has clearly defined career paths for all employees, which is beneficial on so many levels. Not only does it give all our employees a sense of job security and professional fulfillment, it also contributes to female career progression on a more global level. Achieving gender equality is more than just about approaching a more or less equal ratio of men to women in the company. It’s about ensuring that women hold positions of power, play an active role in decision-making, and have a feeling of influence and belonging.
Ensuring a Positive Environment
Some of the top barriers for women working in STEM are the difficulty of adapting of male-dominated environments and the resulting confidence issues. In fact, according to recent research, 32% of women leave their jobs within one year because of a hostile work environment that makes them feel marginalized.
This is why we work so hard at creating and maintaining an inclusive work culture, where everyone feels safe to speak up and share their ideas. “The professionalism of all our employees, the fast-paced decision-making, and the homey atmosphere make Volo a really special place to work,” adds Alla.
Improving Retention by Supporting Working Moms
In Alla’s words, “As a woman, I’m all too aware of the fact that you should be prepared to put in twice the effort in order to prove that you are a qualified professional. Most of us have gone through some terrible ordeals at our previous jobs, especially post-maternity leave, so we have a rich ‘lessons learned’ experience to draw from.”
“We understand the struggle women face with regards to balancing their responsibilities at home and at work. It’s no surprise that many mothers feel overwhelmed and decide to leave their jobs after giving birth. This is why we work together with them to make the transition as smooth as possible. Each case requires an individual approach, so we sit down together and come up with a plan of action that is most comfortable for all involved, be it an extended maternity leave, the opportunity to work part time, or working remotely until they are ready to come back on board full time,” says Stella.
Dedication from the Top
To have any meaningful and lasting impact, attitudes and decisions about issues like gender diversity have to come from the top down. Volo is lucky to have a caring, progressive, and proactive top management in that regard, who do everything in their power to create a global, inclusive culture at Volo, where leaders thrive and everyone feels engaged.
There are many concrete ways of achieving this feat. According to Alla, “Encouraging women to participate in various tech conferences, trusting them with new projects and tasks, developing career paths, giving regular constructive feedback, building an atmosphere of trust, transparency and respect — these are all ways to improve the gender imbalance and encourage more female participation in tech.”
Promoting gender equality is certainly not without its challenges, but with the right amount of dedication and perseverance, companies can benefit from hiring amazing women in tech roles and beyond. We believe that, although it may take time, making a commitment to champion diversity, doing our best to eliminate bias in the hiring process, and having the right mechanisms in place to promote the growth of women’s careers will make our company a more forward-thinking and exciting place to work.