Our mission at WORK180 is to raise organizational standards so that all women can choose a workplace where they can thrive.
As the Social Impact Lead for WORK180, it’s my job to work with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Account Management team, and help our Endorsed Employers stay true to this mission, and become diverse and inclusive workplaces.
Why WORK180 matters
If you’re anything like me, you try to spend your time and money on products and organizations that align with your values. Even if it’s something as simple as picking the products with “recycled materials” written on the packaging when I’m at Coles or Woolworths supermarkets (both WORK180 Endorsed Employers by the way), because sustainability is something I personally value a lot.
And just like the “recycled materials” message, the WORK180 endorsement badge is how I identify organizations that are genuinely invested in gender equity. Organizations invested in making their workplaces more equitable, and where women can thrive and grow their careers in a meaningful way. As an insider, here are my top three reasons why I trust the WORK180 badge and believe you should too:
1. Organizations must earn the WORK180 badge.
We’ve all seen (and cringed) at the tokenism and performance some organisations make of allyship; think of those people and organizations who posted black squares on their socials in 2020. Yet isn’t it funny how they seem to invest in, promote and hire the same over-represented demographic of people every other day of the year?
Organizations with WORK180 need to do more than making a statement of commitment to earn their Endorsed Employer badge. They need a record of proven investments in gender equity to pass our minimum benchmark, which we screen and review through our endorsement check. To date in 2021, 50% of organizations that submitted an endorsement check, failed our benchmark.
For those that fail, we offer complimentary policy resources to start implementing positive outcomes for the women in their business, so they might join us in the future. Splunk is an excellent example of an organisation that implemented life-changing benefits for its employees with the support of WORK180 resources. In early 2020, they increased their primary parental leave from 1 week to 18 weeks – at full pay. Now they proudly bear the WORK180 Endorsed Employer badge for all to see.
The organizations you see in our directory have put in the work, passed our endorsement check, and made some investments in gender equity. Every Endorsed Employer has a benefits page that provides transparency on the programs they’ve invested in to promote gender equity. Transparency also goes both ways – we use anonymous feedback to advocate for women with our Endorsed Employers. Every woman who applies to a role via WORK180 can leave anonymous feedback about the recruiting process which we then share back to our Endorsed Employers. This encourages them to continue to learn and earn their endorsement as employers of choice for women.
2. A focus on continuous improvement
We have a lot of work to do to make our world more equitable. That’s why WORK180 doesn’t just give our employers a badge and disappear. We meet regularly with our Endorsed Employers to provide them insights and resources on the best practice DEI programs globally to keep on improving the quality of their workplace experience for women. We tailor our advice for our Endorsed Employers because every organization is on their own journey. This helps us ensure the change we are driving is meaningful.
Equally, we listen to our network to understand what will support them the most in their careers. For example, our CEO, Valeria Ignatieva, was approached by a father who follows our network a few years ago. He shared he and his wife’s heartbreaking stillbirth experience and how their workplace’s lack of supportive policies made everything so much harder. His organization’s parental leave did not extend to stillborn babies. This meant that after going through one of the most challenging experiences of their lives, they were expected to go back to work.
Our DEI Account Managers started speaking with our Endorsed Employers about extending their parental leave to parents of stillborn babies. We partnered with the Stillbirth Foundation in Australia to establish a registry of employers that offer equal parental leave for families of stillborn babies. The Stillbirth Foundation registry has grown from 3 companies in 2018 to 58 companies today. Over 1,000,000 employees are now covered by this policy.
This is just one example of the many changes WORK180 continues to advocate for. On average, a WORK180 Endorsed Employer improves a benefit once every two weeks. This is the type of movement and continuous improvement you expect from employers committed to becoming better workplaces.
3. Authentic storytelling to make the world more equitable
Working directly with our Endorsed Employers, I’ve found that many of our employers invest time and money in meaningful projects to empower women. However, there’s no way for people outside the business to know the fantastic work they’re doing!
I’ve had Endorsed Employers tell me that humility is one of their core values, so they don’t want to appear like they’re patting themselves on the back when they still have so much work to do. It is lovely that we have Endorsed Employers so committed to improving their business. However, these hidden initiatives need to be surfaced so women can identify the organizations making meaningful contributions to women’s careers.
Women deserve to see the complete picture of what it’s like to work for businesses. That’s why WORK180 regularly releases interviews with women that work in our Endorsed Employer’s organizations. Having a written policy is one thing; seeing how they empower women to live better and thrive in their workplaces is a whole different story. These interviews give us insight into how the policies we promote can translate to lived experiences.
The way we spend our time and money influences the way organizations behave. By choosing organizations that align with our values, we encourage them to continue to act in a value-driven way. That’s why I value organizations that have the WORK180 endorsement badge. I trust the badge because a commitment to continuous improvement is at the heart of all WORK180 endorsements.
Look for the WORK180 badge the next time you’re looking for an employer committed to gender equity.