How did Envato continue to build a diverse and inclusive organisation in 2020?
Envato’s inclusion and diversity focus for 2019 could be summed up as ‘better together’, as staff across the business generated new energy and focus in forming working groups that tackled key inclusion efforts. The work of our [email protected] and Mental Health Inclusion groups was particularly exceptional, building strong foundations for consistent advocacy and inclusion efforts in those domains. Heading into this year, we were hopeful these groups would be the platform for bigger, more widespread impact across Envato’s global community…and then the pandemic hit.
Like everyone, 2020 upended many of our plans and forced us to think quickly about how we could continue to deliver our planned inclusion initiatives. And as we swiftly realised, a dramatic change like a global pandemic puts a weight of an additional cognitive load on people, so suddenly – but unsurprisingly – working groups such as our wonderful [email protected] team were feeling stretched.
With our number one priority being the wellbeing of our global team, we turned our focus to investing in mental health and wellbeing initiatives to better support people through the challenges we have all faced during 2020. From seminars with resilience expert Audrey McGibbon to social connection activities like ‘coffee roulette’, to offering parents activities to keep house-bound kids entertained…our program catered to everyone!
Outside of these targeted programs, the last 12 months has seen Envato make further improvements in gender balance across all position types in the business which we’ve added details on below.
In 2020 our team in Mexico also took a big leap forward with their inclusion efforts, engaging a D&I consultant to provide training and education and diagnose potential areas of focus for improving inclusion. And following the long term success our [email protected] team has had in Australia, our Mexican office now has a team working in parallel to promote and advocate for inclusion for our LBGTIQA+ folk in Guadalajara.
Finally, we ended 2020 on a high as we proudly watched two more women graduate from apprentice to Junior Developers and have warmly welcomed two more women into the Envato Apprentice Developer Program for the next year.
This year, we’re expanding the gender metrics we’ve shared with the aim of painting a holistic picture of our commitment to improving gender equity at Envato globally. We have also included data on our inclusion related engagement factors, something we monitor closely and use to guide where we focus our efforts each year.
Overall our gender balance has continued to improve, however, there is still a lagging imbalance in promotions and our manager cohort. These metrics will support us as we refresh our gender equity strategy – which will focus on improving talent acquisition and promotion processes.
As part of our Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap, we’re committed to using inclusive gender demographics. This means our language might change slightly from year to year to stay in line with what’s considered best practice for inclusive data collection.
We continue to track pleasing gains in our inclusion metrics, gathered annually as part of the Great Place to Work survey. And while we’re happy with the last four years of improvement, our 2021 strategy will be focussed on finding ways to improve our efforts towards gender equity and inclusion.
For the fifth year in a row, we submitted Envato to the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), a non-profit organization who provide a benchmark and survey in relation to inclusion for the LGBTI community.
The submission requirements changed this year, moving Envato into the ‘Small Employer’ category. This accounts for the significant 11% increase in our overall results, as the new category is much better suited to the types of initiatives we can deliver at Envato.
We led a renewed emphasis on mental health and wellness this year as we worked to support our people in the move to a fully remote work environment through the pandemic. And as we’ve all learned throughout the year, while there are many benefits to the flexibility fully remote working creates, it also brings with it a string of additional challenges that can place a heavy burden on mental and physical health.
Our “Supporting You, Supporting Others” program offered a range of initiatives that supported Envatians at an individual level and at a leadership level, some of which we’ve mentioned below.
Audrey’s keynote offered practical, well researched and empathetic advice on finding resilience in challenging times. It was so well received that we had to get her back for additional sessions to work through everyone’s questions.
We put an additional four employees through Mental Health First Aid training to continue to build on the supportive presence we’ve created through the Contact Officer program over the last year. Alongside this, we made the implicit explicit and specifically called out that employees could use their personal leave for mental illness reasons as well as physical illness.
On top of the programs above we ran a number of other activities to assist Envatians during various stages of lockdown, including:
Our longest standing business-wide sponsorship with Code Like a Girl continues for another year. With female-dominated industries facing unprecedented job losses due to the pandemic, Code Like a Girl’s strategic goal of reducing gender inequity through tailored education and services is even more critical.
In the face of the pandemic, CLG launched Australia’s first Tech School for women, which supports absolute beginners through industry led 10 week coding courses. We’re proud to support Code Like a Girl to continue to improve their efforts to empower and enable women and girls to be equal creators in building for the future.
As part of Mental Health Month, we launched a gratitude campaign where every Slack post in our #today-i-am-grateful-for channel was converted into $1 for the United Project. Over the month, we raised $305 towards their program to support front-line mental health services, advanced mental health research and innovation programs.
Our team in Mexico designed t-shirts for pride month and donated all funds to a local charity called Yaaj, who work towards promoting, protecting and guaranteeing the human rights of the LGBTIQA+ community.
Our Envato Foundation is working towards a future where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have equal opportunity in achieving success through education and employment.
To support this vision, the Foundation partners with charitable organisations that focus on opportunity creation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Over the past 12 months the Envato Foundation has commenced a new partnership with Smiling Mind, bringing our total charity partners to 5 with a total of $1.4 mil committed over six years. In addition to Smiling Mind, we have continued to financially support Ganbina, Yalari, ILF and Indigitek.
Earlier in the year we also made the decision to support the Bushfire Relief effort with a one off donation of $10,000 to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.
While in Mexico, we continue to support Cres Estipac, a high school focussed on educating indigenous youth in a way that will assist them to support and transform their communities. See more of our partnership with Crest Estipac here.
This year we donated $114,000 to charities supporting people and communities struck hard by the effects of the pandemic. These included:
Like most organisations, as we moved to a fully remote work environment we had to reconsider the way we held events to acknowledge important days throughout the year. While we started strong with a number of events over March, we had a little mid-year, before we brought a host of virtual events to in the last part of the year!
This year’s International Women’s Day theme was #eachforequal and we used the opportunity to acknowledge that true inclusion doesn’t leave anyone behind. Our IWD lunch focussed on how the intersectionality of gender and other diverse aspects impacts people’s experiences of equality.
Our guest speaker, Emily Fox shared her story and facilitated a panel discussion with two of our own Envatians, who each had their own unique story to share.
Our team in Mexico ran a full week of presentations and workshops to raise awareness about current issues facing women in Mexico and around the world. As part of this, the team created t-shirts for employees to purchase and donated all proceeds to a local charity- “Parvada” who do community work with women who suffer from poverty, especially those living in informal settlements.
Harmony Day focuses on cultural respect for all with an ongoing theme of ‘everyone belongs’. This year we were inspired by some heartwarming stories of united communities through the COVID-19 pandemic and we used this as an opportunity to cultivate a culture of connection to our fellow Envatians.
We asked people to share something they cherished from their culture and its history. It could have been anything – a song, dance, folklore, jokes, a photo in their cultural outfit, a story from their childhood… One of our employees from Brazil shared some insights from his culture:
In the state that I am from we have the largest cashew nut tree in the world and the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. My favourite food from my culture is Tapioca, a typical Brazilian dish made with tapioca starch/flour. It’s commonly eaten as a breakfast dish or light meal. Tapioca has its origins in the northern states of Brazil, but it’s widely found all over the country.
Daniel Lucas, Natal, Brazil
As we were just in the midst of our first lockdown, we kept acknowledgements simple this year with a post on our #all-company Slack channel to celebrate transgender people and raise awareness about the struggles they face in Australia and throughout the world as well as encouraging people to use the day to take some time to learn more about gender diversity.
Our first remote morning tea was for Reconciliation Week, where we heard from Trina Raye and Laura Stirling at the Indigenous Literary Foundation (ILF). The ILF is one of our Envato Foundation partners and their purpose is to make a difference to the lives of Indigenous families by not only gifting thousands of new culturally appropriate books – with a focus on early literacy and first language – but also in running programs to inspire the communities to tell and publish their own stories. At our first fully remote morning tea over 200 Envatians heard from Trina and Laura, who shared insights about the ILF purpose, bringing its mission to life with stories and results.
Wear it Purple Day is a national day to raise awareness for LGBTI people, especially young people, across Australia with a simple message: you have the right to be proud of who you are and that they are seen and supported. Each year, we use this day to invite people to wear purple at work and with everyone remote this time around, we all shared our photos on Slack in support!
To celebrate and to help dig into some of the complexities and misinformation around the bisexual community, we ran a morning panel, hosted by Ellie Watts from Pride in Diversity, alongside three of our own Envatians. The event was a huge success with many of our team letting us know how much they learnt from and were grateful for the open sharing of stories and experiences from our panel.
Our wonderful Mental Health Inclusion working group put on a range of discussion forums including a roundtable event and Slack threads that offered space for people to share their stories and experiences.
Improving inclusion and diversity efforts is something that is never “finished” and often, it can feel like we take one step forward and two steps back. The pandemic has amplified that feeling this year, but overall, we’re proud of the work we’ve accomplished – in particular the support we’ve provided every employee through the unique challenges each has faced within “covid normal”.
With fresh perspective, our focus next year will be to continue building on the great work our working groups have achieved across mental health and LGBTQI+ inclusion and advocacy. Alongside this, we’ll turn our attention to our gender equity strategy which will support us to guide further equitable design improvements in our recruitment, promotion and retention space. While passion and our inclusive culture may have got us to where we are today, it’s the continuous improvement of our practices that ensures Envato’s commitment to diversity remains consistent and true.