Striving to be the best in DE&I – our focus continues into 2023

5 min. Read

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) is a value we prize very highly at Intent HQ and to demonstrate its ongoing importance, we have extended our partnership with Women in Tech for 2023. Following on from our award success in 2022, we have also entered this year’s Best Business Awards because we continue to build on our achievements and believe our People Strategy sets us apart from other tech companies. Here’s why:

Over the past 3 years, we have embedded our vision to be fully inclusive and the support we offer to all employees through the DE&I team ‘Connect with Intent’ really is outstanding. We don’t just say so ourselves, other organizations are also acknowledging what we’ve achieved. Women in Tech is a good example, we won their Best Tech Employer award last year for our proactive approach to inclusion & are proud sponsors of this year’s awards category “Best Tech Employer 150-500 employees”.

Team to support inclusion initiatives quadruples

Intent HQ’s original Diversity, Equity & Inclusion team of 4 people was first conceived in 2020 and this work has evolved to become a powerful and differentiating strategy featuring a wide range of initiatives to support this. Still staffed by passionate volunteers, the D,E&I team at Intent HQ has since quadrupled in size.   

Initially, to improve our team diversity and attract more women, we reviewed our attraction and recruitment strategies, implementing the following new policies:

  • Gender decoder tools for job adverts filtering out gender biassed language.
  • Encouraged hiring teams to utilize diverse interview panels for a fairer and unbiased selection process.
  • Briefed recruiters to supply a diverse range of candidates, including women. 
  • Anonymized candidate data on our ATS to avoid unconscious bias. 
  • Advertised on ‘Joppy’ job board which anonymizes candidate applications. 
  • Rolled out Unconscious Bias training for managers. 

Male: female hires almost at parity

Women in Tech has also helped us to recruit more women, because our partnership includes access to their CV database of outstanding female applicants. All this has had a very positive effect on the ratios of male:female hires within Intent HQ. At the start of the programme in 2020, only 25% of hires were female, almost doubling to 47% in 2022.

This work continues. So far, in 2023, we welcomed our first female Machine Learning intern, enhancing her package to pay above average and supporting this highly talented young woman as she starts her tech career. Two new female Sales Professionals have also joined our Global Sales Team taking the split from 0% to 22% women.

Freedom to ‘be yourself’ at work

Recruiting more women is, in some respects, the easy part, it is more challenging to provide an equitable and inclusive working environment for everyone to thrive in. We want all our employees to feel supported, encouraged and free to be themselves at work. We want them to develop personally and professionally, and we want to retain their skills in the long term. To ensure this can happen, we implemented the following initiatives:

  • Reviewed our family leave policies to ensure they are fit for purpose. We always encourage candidates to ask about these during the application stage and they have! Our flexible and hybrid working models are highly valued by our teams. Employees have personal lives and commitments that we aim to accommodate as an inclusive employer.
  • Gave across-the-board cost of living (COL) salary increases in April 2022 (in addition to annual increases). We did this because we didn’t want any employees worrying about how increased living costs would affect them and their families. This was especially important for our female colleagues as research by Legal and General shows women are more vulnerable to the COL crisis.
  • Launched support and awareness initiatives such as Oliva mental health support and Menopause webinars.
  • Re-launched our mentoring scheme to encourage ongoing personal and professional development and retain our diverse team. Over 17% of our employees have now signed up for mentoring, including junior and senior women.
  • Created cross-functional development opportunities for female team members to widen access to other roles. For instance, in 2022, we offered a 6-month secondment to our Junior Project Manager into the Marketing team, and in January 2023 she joined the team permanently.
  • Ensured equal access to other developmental opportunities and promotions. In January 2023 we completed a new round of promotions and among this group; 83% were women, promoted into challenging roles like Senior Product Owner, Principal Machine Learning Engineer and Associate Data Scientist. 
  • We continued to hire women into senior management roles as well as more junior positions. In 2022 we welcomed women into Engineering Manager, Agile Delivery Manager, Sales Operations Manager and VP of Finance. We also created 3 new internship opportunities for young people entering their careers, 2 of which were awarded to women. 

Letting tech skills shine through

Facilitating these successes has involved some important recruitment process changes behind the scenes. When we hired our amazing female Director of Data Science, we also changed how we conduct our technical skills testing. Now we do this in phase 1, so that candidates have a chance to demonstrate their skills first (in their own time) and then have a face-to-face interview. We made this switch because, statistically, women find it more difficult to convey their potential during job interviews and we wanted tech skills to shine through. Since making this change, we have identified a lot of highly talented women, with 42% of new data scientists joining the team last year being women.

Our work with Women in Tech continues and they remain a very important DE&I partner to us. Most recently, we co-produced a webinar providing tech career advice to prospective new industry entrants. Many of our employees (women and men) volunteered to share their experiences of being part of IHQ, which demonstrates how content they all are.

Engagement and team pride is on the up

Seeing the results of our efforts has been hugely rewarding and engagement surveys show that employees feel it too. An amazing 80% agreed with the statement “I’m proud of the progress my organization is making on issues related to fairness, diversity, and inclusion.” In our January 2023 DE&I survey, 98% of employees said they are “treated fairly and with respect”. Overall, our employee engagement score improved from 66.5 to 69.85 from May to December 2022.

We are very proud of all these achievements, but we also recognize that being a leader in DE&I is an ongoing journey. For the rest of 2023, the Connect with Intent team will be working hard to continue building on all these new developments. Wish us luck with our Women in Tech award entry!

Find out more about our company values, here.