Cyan Ta'eed - Executive Director and Co-Founder
James Law - HR Director
Abbie Burgess - Diversity and Inclusion Advisor
Envato has launched a whole-of-company Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap for the next financial year.
The roadmap has three key areas of focus: gender diversity, LGBTI and mental health. The overarching objectives for each area include:
- Completing a submission to the the Workplace Gender Equality Submission
- Undertaking a pay-parity review of salaries across the business
- Tracking internal promotions across the company with a specific focus on women
- Review the organisation’s commitment to pride and diversity via submission to (and feedback from) the Australian Workplace Equality Index
- Implementation of mental health awareness training for managers, and implementing regular information sessions for the entire staff cohort
- Providing unconscious bias training across all levels of the business, giving employees pro-active tools to disrupt such bias
Once implemented, the Roadmap has the potential to affect as many as 250 employees across Australia but also internationally. The above program of activity is underpinned by one of the company’s core values - ‘diverse and inclusive’.
This program has been driven by the Envato board and NAV (executive) team, alongside leadership from the Director of HR, the Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, and has taken input from employees across the business. We’re incredibly proud of the passionate staff members that have lead the company’s involvement in these themes from day one, such as our League of Extraordinary Inclusiveness (aiming to bring more women into the Melbourne tech and Ruby community) as well as Out @ Envato (advocating for LGBTI issues).
The key actions we’ve implemented across our major areas of focus in the Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap include:
- Gender Diversity: tracking the number of internal female promotions; sourcing an external remuneration review of roles across the business with the aim of rectifying any gender imbalance ahead of mid-year salary reviews, and; implementation of a Women’s Developer Apprentice Program, aimed at providing a grassroots approach to boosting active female participation in development roles in the local tech industry.
- Mental Health: overseeing the expansion of our Employee Assistance Program; surveying staff across the business about the impacts of stigma in their day-to-day work life; expanding manager training tools, especially with regards to identifying employees experiencing a mental health challenge and providing adequate resources and support for this.
- LGBTI: overseeing Envato’s second participation in the AWEI and implementing new practices following our receipt of a ranking and recommendations; delivery of ‘TEDvato’ talks to entire staff on LGBTI awareness, including on the topic of being an ‘ally’.
The intent behind the roadmap was to consolidate a number of disparate pieces of work that were being done in isolation across the business. In creating a Roadmap that formalised and recognised the good work of individuals and supported burgeoning ideas, Envato aimed to prioritise the importance of diversity and inclusion as core to our business identity. As such, the approach to implement the Roadmap was similarly holistic.
Driven by the Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, the Roadmap was developed in consultation with key internal stakeholders, before being presented to the Board for review and action. Now that the program of work has been accepted, the implementation of recommendations is being rolled out across the next 12 months, supported by employee champions in key business areas. This has included the Board, who besides being vocal advocates for the Roadmap, are also custodians of Envato’s values philosophy. The Board have been transparent in their desire to have a more coordinated approach to inclusiveness across the organisation, and reward those who had been passionately working in the space already while giving them a channel to pursue further action.
One of the unique challenges at Envato is almost the lack of pushback, as by and large the employee population is incredibly kind and accepting of these approaches.
Having said that, there was some initial pushback on the focus around gender diversity; there were concerns that by focussing so much on improving support for women in tech we were contributing to ‘positive discrimination’ towards men in tech. This hasn’t been a block on progress in this area, but has provided numerous opportunities to challenge and debate the assumptions around these arguments.
As a company we have also had to guard against committing to implement a program that was beyond the scope of available resources. This has included managing staff expectations around immediate action, which has driven greater work on an employee education piece on the roll out of the roadmap across not just the next financial year, but beyond. Our communications to staff have focussed on highlighting how much of a cultural shift this is in terms of the way people view diversity and inclusion, educating people around why these issues exist and are more important than just buzzwords, and also, highlighting how other industries have managed equivalent processes. Finally, it's been important to reiterate to the Envato employee community that there is no completion date for diversity and inclusion practices; that our requirements will continue to evolve as best-practice does, requiring ongoing input and support.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and has been accepted as a welcome inclusion to the company’s core business. At Envato we believe the focus of our Roadmap meets - and in some instances exceeds - current best practices among similar sized companies, tech or otherwise. While tackling gender imbalance is a common challenge among tech companies, we are only one of two that we know of that have created an apprenticeship program that specifically targets the grassroots level of female developers, and attempts to stop the cycle of big tech companies simply ‘poaching’ these staff from each other. Similarly, our approach to mental health - while still an emerging space - has been innovative in its approach, primarily by taking it out of OHS policy and making it part of our holistic approach to working at Envato.
Luke Meehan, Senior Product Manager - Customer at Envato and founder of ‘Out Envato’
We founded our LGBTI network Out Envato towards the end of 2015, at a time where there was no formal awareness or internal leadership as to how the company could best support LGBTI staff. I lead a group of employees to work out what was needed and how we could help support the LGBTI tech community in Melbourne more broadly.
We secured some support to sponsor monthly meet ups of the community and the success of these events in bringing people together to discuss shared concerns and issues helped establish the need for expanded support for LGBTI staff as a priority, as we are now seeing with the Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap.
This Roadmap has lead to the Envato founders and NAV team talking about LGBTI needs in a much more coordinated and comprehensive way, as well as undertaking and encouraging all staff to complete LGBTI awareness training to better understand how to support and interact with the LGBTI staff community.
The Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap has been a significant step forward in recognising the specific issues facing LGBTI staff at Envato, and putting the company on an exciting path forward . The participation in the AWEI benchmarking process has helped identify areas in our policies where we were falling short and what parts of the businesses needed further visibility of the issues that LGBTI specific staff face. For example, we’ve identified that we needed to improve how we told news staff about the LGBTI assistance that was available to them.
Elizabeth Enders, Talent Acquisition Manager
0458 002 476
Central to being an ‘Envatian’ is the ability to be yourself at work and to be supported in doing so. Envato's investment in mental health and diversity initiatives has strongly contributed to making the company one of the most supportive and accepting businesses I have ever worked within. Year on year, a growing investment in terms of training and awareness has lead to a significant increase in open conversations and acceptance by staff on issues related to mental health support in the workplace.
Over the last 12 months myself and other people managers across the business have participated in a series of mental health training sessions. These sessions provided us with tools and practical strategies that gave us more confidence in having meaningful conversations with team members when they experience mental health challenges, while also helping us to reduce stigma and raise awareness of these across the whole of Envato.
Much like Envato’s approach to most things, the sessions were adapted based on feedback from us, as managers, on our preferred learning styles and adapted to Envato’s environment which encourages curiosity, as well as a friendly and accepting environment and language use - there were no stuffy academic terms involved!
These sessions - combined with access to a number of online tools, an expanded visibility and understanding of our EAP and support that other people from across the business can provide - have proved to be extremely valuable to managers across the business, myself included.
Envato is still in the early stages of developing all the metrics and assessment tools required to measure and benchmark our performance according to the roadmap. However, we will be closely watching a number of key indicators across the life of this program, including:
- Exploring a monthly reporting tool for internal promotions
- Instigating a regular review and report procedure for remuneration gaps
- Increasing our baseline AWEI ranking and action points
- Increase positive responses on staff surveys after training opportunities related to the Program
- Expand survey offerings to assess the impact of our training programs related to mental health