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International Women’s Day: Being bold is in our DNA

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Happy International Women’s Day! At Xero, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate all the incredible women who work hard everyday to ‘Be Bold for Change’ – this photo shows just one of them. It’s also a chance to stop and reflect on all the cool things we’ve achieved in terms of encouraging more women into the tech sector and Xero. We’ve been really committed to this for some time now and although we know there is still lots more to do we’re definitely heading in the right direction.

A few of our great stats:

At Xero ‘changing the game’ is part of our DNA so ‘being bold for change’ comes naturally to us . We have seen some positive change, particularly in the last few years, of women across the business globally. Our executive team are 50% women, and 40% across all our people. We are also above the industry average in a number of areas, including product and platform, where a quarter of our staff are women (compared to the industry average of 15%). Getting more women into the technical side of our business is a key priority for us and we are making great headway.

Why is diversity and inclusion important at Xero?

Here are just a few of the reasons:

  • Accepting and treating everyone equally and with respect is what our Xero #human value is all about.
  • We need to reflect our diverse customer base to ensure we build products that speak directly to them.
  • It’s a social imperative – our people will be more engaged, motivated, high performing and happy.
  • Diversity rives better business outcomes by leading to greater innovation, economic performance, and shareholder value (McKinsey’s research highlights that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers).

What’s our approach?

We have an unwavering focus on encouraging more women into tech and helping them to flourish once they get here. However, we have never taken a ‘tick the box’ approach, or believed that setting hard targets is the answer. For example: we have always made the decision to recruit and promote people based on merit rather than reaching quotas, as we know that our success as a business relies on appointing the best people for the job. We just need to be sure that there is no bias, conscious or unconscious, at play when we make ‘merit-based’ decisions.

Our approach, therefore, has been to focus on proactive strategies that will ensure we continue to lead the way in the tech sector when it comes to gender diversity. This is reflected in our Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan for 2017 which includes a heap of great stuff we are rolling out globally.

Here are just a few of the things we have in play:

  1. Ensuring diversity and inclusion, as a strategic business priority, led from the top.
  2. Having a global approach to flexible working.
  3. Diversity and inclusion training for all Xero staff (including unconscious bias training).
  4. Strengthening the number of women leaders we have across the business.
  5. Ensure our employer brand reflects the importance of diversity and inclusion at Xero and we attract from a wider talent pool.
  6. Bolster ‘women and tech’ initiatives and events globally (e.g. Code Like A Girl, Tech Girl Movement, League of Extraordinary Women’s Tech Formation: Run the World conference etc.)
  7. We’re going to appoint a Global Diversity and Inclusion Manager to drive our focus and initiatives forward.

Beyond gender…

Finally we know diversity is a broad concept, but we have actively chosen to put particular attention on gender at the moment. Our vision for Xero is much broader than just referring to people in terms of categories (e.g. gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality etc.). But rather we want to develop a culture and environment where everybody working at Xero feels like their personality, perspective, slang, background, and stories matter and are embraced as much as everyone else’s. Only then do we all have the opportunity to truly flourish. Cheers to that!

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