Where it all began
When I co-founded WORK180 in February 2015, I saw a broken job process, especially for women*. After the years I spent working in the IT sector, I had first-hand experience of both the employers who were committed to supporting everyone (where I thrived!) and those that advertently favoured men.
It struck me that as a job seeker, I had no way of truly knowing which employers genuinely wanted me there for who I was, and what policies and initiatives they had which aligned with my needs.
This also rang true for my co-founder, Valeria, who after years of being a single parent of a son with a disability, needed employers who would provide flexible working opportunities. Valeria would often get to the final interview stage and raise her needs, only to be told the employer wouldn’t accommodate them. If it wasn’t for some progressive and supportive employers, Valeria wouldn’t have had the opportunities that she deserved and the employers wouldn’t have had an incredible employee!
People often ask, “why the name WORK180?” The 180 represents the power flip from the employer to the job seeker. Our view at WORK180 is that it’s not just candidates that should be sending in their CV, but employers need to show us their credentials. We provide predominantly women with a place where they have access to a directory of pre-qualified employers, who are committed to transparency and driving equality. We showcase their policies (even the ones that need improvement – it’s all there in black and white). Candidates value the honesty over perfection, real employee stories and their available job opportunities.
Our new purpose
5 years on, WORK180 has grown into a global platform across Australia, the UK and is launching into the USA in 2020. Our qualification process of employers and ongoing guidance of policies has driven an incredibly rewarding amount of social impact. WORK180 Endorsed Employers are improving at least 1 policy or benefit at an average rate of 1 every 3 weeks. This includes everything from the improvement of parental leave policies to make them gender-neutral, implementing domestic violence support, improving access to flexible working for all employees (not just mothers) and becoming equal pay ambassadors.
Our original mission was two-fold:
- To become the #1 job platform for women by 2022
- To set the global standard of what a great employer represents
For Valeria and I, these mission statements never quite encapsulated what we were striving for with WORK180. Particularly around being the #1 job platform, because of its ambiguity. That’s why, at our recent whole of company conference, we revisited our mission, which is now, our purpose.
WORK180’s purpose is:
To empower every woman to choose a workplace where they can thrive
It was absolutely amazing to announce this to the WORK180 team. We didn’t quite know what to expect, but everyone felt passionate and connected to this purpose, even to the point where there were tears!
There are some keywords I’d like to highlight in our purpose statement.
Empower every woman
WORK180’s advocacy extends beyond just gender. Depending on the region, our criteria shows:
- If the organisation has targets for cultural and linguistic diversity in leadership
- If they report on the pay gap for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic employees
- What employee resource groups are available, such as for LGBTI colleagues
- Is there support for cultural and religious events?
In addition to the criteria, we also showcase how these policies come to life by sharing employee stories. Some of our most popular stories in the last quarter have been focused around working dads, mental health and disability.
The phrases “find a workplace” or “join a workplace” just simply didn’t speak strongly enough to the 180 flip. On our site, women are empowered to see the important information before they apply for jobs. We often receive comments by the employers that we work with around how engaged and serious the candidates are that come through the WORK180 platform. That’s because they’ve done a pre-qualification on the employers they can really align themselves to.
Many words were discussed, but thrive really stood out as the one that aligned the most with our purpose. It’s not just about surviving in a workplace, as so many of us have, it’s about thriving in the workplace. When you’re thriving, you are succeeding and no matter what it means to you to succeed, that’s how we want every woman to feel.
As our 40 people strong team (and growing in AU and the UK!) strive towards our purpose, we are proud of our innovations and increasing social impact.
Most recently, for example, we introduced the Feedback Loop. The Feedback Loop provides candidates with a voice. Every time you apply for a job through the platform, you can now anonymously share your feedback about your experience. We’ve already seen employers improve their recruitment processes because of the feedback we’ve been able to provide.
In terms of policy screening, we are soon going to be showing whether the employers have support for women going through menopause. This really speaks to how WORK180 supports women at all stages of their careers.
Our global ambitions will also see us launch into the US in 2020 (if you’re interested in joining one of the flagship employers for the US, you can reach out here.)
I’d like to thank our incredibly driven team for being such amazing people to work with and their passion for WORK180’s purpose. I’d also like to shoutout the WORK180 Endorsed Employers (view AU and UK), who are at different stages of their equality journey, but all committed and continuously driving positive change. I’m truly excited about the future!
*by women we mean all women (trans, intersex and cis), all those who experience oppression as women (including non-binary and gender non-conforming people) and all those who identify as women
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