This morning Becca and I went to a breakfast briefing on diversity. I’m not usually up for breakfast events as I’m grumpy in the morning but I was interested to see if there was anything different being said after hearing Dave, our COO speak at a diversity meetup last week. There were 3 speakers on the line up; each covered a lot of the stuff that is often discussed at these events like “your team makeup should reflect the makeup of society” and “put yourself in a situation where you are in a minority and you’ll understand how it feels”. All very valid points and great things to be reminded of but not necessarily anything new. They also slipped in a few stereotypes and assumptions, for example a girl will feel excluded amongst a group of guys if they talk about football (Becca and I both raised our eyebrows at this) or that we need to hire more female designers (6 out of 8 of our digital designers are female- we almost have the opposite issue). The main focus of the event was gender diversity and in my mind when we talk about gender diversity we should talk about exactly that- and not simply focus on whether women are adequately represented.
Anyhoo..a nice point came from Mike Islip CEO at Digitas Lbi, he talked about helping women come back into work after having children and told us that Digitas has just signed its 1st term-time only contract. Now that I’ve heard Mike talk about this type of contract, it seems like common sense and a bit daft that it isn’t a more of a common occurrence (maybe it is and I just don’t know about it). I could definitely see Red Badger considering offering this in future if someone needed it, hats off to Digitas for leading the way.
I listened to a lot of the talks and kept thinking it was all a bit unnecessary; and then during the discussion panel my feelings were summed up nicely by one of the audience members. Maybe the point is that it’s not about focusing on gender diversity after all; instead we should focus on being a good and responsible company. Simple as that.
At Red Badger we don’t need to make rules about things like only having meetings scheduled from 10-4 and banning emails from 8pm - 8am because we have a culture where we talk openly about important things and we respect each other. We don’t expect colleagues to respond to emails in the evenings and if there is someone who needs to work certain hours due to child care (or any other legit reason actually) we talk about it and make a plan that works. We like each other and recognise the contribution each of our colleagues brings to the company so why would we want to exclude someone or disregard their childcare responsibilities?
I am aware that we are a company of 70ish people (& 1 dog) at the moment and already we are finding we need to formalise our stance on more things as we grow. However, we are also very focused on maintaining the culture we have worked hard to foster and which I would say has led to us organically building a team which is very diverse on many fronts.
There is space for one or two more friendly faces on our team. If you would like to join us check out our vacancies here and get in touch so we can talk about the important stuff.