Striving for Gender Equality in Both Corporate Culture and Product Development
Indeed offers multiple global employee-led Inclusion Resource Groups (IRGs)*1 that are committed to combating discrimination in the workplace. The Women at Indeed IRG has existed since 2014 and was formalized in 2016. It currently has more than 1,700 members in 20 cities across 10 countries who contribute to Indeed's product development and management. We spoke with Glenda Kirby, the Executive Sponsor of Women at Indeed, to learn more about what the IRG does to champion a culture of inclusion through advocacy for all women at Indeed.
*1. Commonly referred to as Employee Resource Groups, which are voluntarily run by employees who share specific attributes (gender, sexual orientation, nationality, race, lifestyle, etc.) and experiences. It is a bottom-up diversity promotion measure that has been popular in the U.S. since the 1970s, and is now being adopted by more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies.
Built like a Business
In early 2020, Glenda joined Indeed as VP of Client Success. Having a strong background in diversity and inclusion, Glenda was soon asked to join Women at Indeed as the Inclusion Resource Group's Executive Sponsor. From the get-go, Glenda was impressed by the IRG's thorough advocacy efforts and goals.
"Women at Indeed is like a miniature business," Glenda said. "I've known other IRGs that offer coffee mornings or focus on the networking experience—but what Women at Indeed does is different. Our goal is to increase awareness of the barriers women still face in the workplace and introduce corporate accountability, and to make Indeed the model for gender equality both in its work culture and product offerings. We also measure success and ROI by reviewing the impact our IRG is having on the business. For example, how effective is our product advisory panel at ensuring we produce accessible products? Are we attracting diverse applicants? Do people with underrepresented identities have opportunities to take on leadership roles across our business?"
Glenda Kirby VP of Client Success at Indeed & the Executive Sponsor of Women at Indeed
Some of Women at Indeed's advocacy efforts include publishing newsletters, conducting trainings and workshops for female employees, and holding mentor sessions and dialogue events with executives.
"Our hope is that the chairperson of each activity gains a platform that elevates them into future leadership roles," said Glenda.
As Executive Sponsor, Glenda represents the members of Women at Indeed at leadership meetings.
"We all have voices—it's just a matter of ensuring that everybody's listening to us and including us in the decision-making process."
Influencing Product Development
One Women at Indeed team works to make the job openings listed on Indeed as inclusive as possible by combing through Indeed job descriptions to ensure they are not discriminatory or biased. Another team was recently involved in the development of Indeed's Virtual Hiring Events to improve their accessibility.
"Initially, when the Virtual Hiring Events development team came to us, I was concerned that the final product could be exclusive," Glenda said.
We knew we needed to help our corporate clients meet diverse candidates, but most importantly, we needed to make sure the right people, regardless of gender, saw and applied for the job openings. We suggested providing resources like resume and interview coaching, as well as offering expert panel discussions for interested candidates. As a result, the product became more inclusive to everyone and encouraged applications from people who might not have applied otherwise. We really appreciate being able to work with thoughtful development teams who are open to our input."
Closing the Widening Gender Gap
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted women the hardest. Over the past year, predominantly female work sectors such as retail, hospitality, nursing, and childcare experienced heavy job loss.*² One of the most worrisome things for Glenda now is the effect this disproportionate unemployment is having on gender inequality, which had been gradually improving over the past several decades.
"The pandemic has definitely taken us back a few steps. We are going to work hard to ensure that women feel that they can stay in the workforce if that's what they would like to do."
Glenda understands that there's still much work to be done, especially when it comes to breaking down traditional, male-centric leadership strategies in times of crisis.
"The world needs compassionate leadership. Leading through a crisis is definitely not what it used to be, so traditional leadership styles may be ineffective or suboptimal. Many of us, not just women, are working at home while homeschooling or care taking. Some people are working at home alone, which can be difficult on mental wellness. Others are pregnant and thinking about maternity leave but are concerned about layoffs. I think in these cases, we can be innovative and consider opportunities that allow people to temporarily step up into vacated roles for professional growth, while ensuring women on leave still have a place here."
Looking forward, Glenda said, "We're now even more focused on creating a more equitable hiring process that includes, sees, and hears women, and in doing so helps Indeed fulfil its mission of helping all people get jobs."
2. According to an unemployment study conducted in March and April 2020 by The University of Cambridge, 17% of women compared to 13% of men in the U.K. became unemployed due to the pandemic. In the U.S., the gap was even wider: 21% of women compared to 14% of men.
Indeed Here to Help- Glenda Kirby, VP of CS EMEA & Executive Sponsor for Women at Indeed
Inside Indeed - We rise by lifting others: Empowering Women at Indeed
Indeed Company Website - Inclusion
VP, Client Success, Indeed
Glenda studied engineering at university and started her career as an engineer. She later took advantage of her technical background to launch client success teams at multiple IT companies including LinkedIn. She joined Indeed in March 2020. Based in Dublin, Ireland, she serves as Head of Client Success in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand, while actively working also as an Executive Sponsor of Women at Indeed from April 2020.