We’re incredibly proud to announce Xero has been named as one of 380 companies worldwide to be included in the 2021 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI). This is the second consecutive year that Xero has been included in this index, and we’re thrilled to be one of just 13 companies headquartered in Australia and New Zealand to be included. This positive result shows we’re on the right track with regards to our diversity and inclusion journey.
The index measures gender equality across five pillars: female leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, sexual harassment policies, and pro-women brand. To be considered for the index, we completed a survey to demonstrate our achievements and progress, and were awarded a score of 100% for transparency.
Gender equality, and diversity and inclusion more broadly, is an integral part of Xero’s culture, so we’re thrilled to see our commitment in this area is being globally recognised. We continue to adapt and grow in this area, so it was pleasing to see our overall score improve on the previous year, and Xero was ranked above both the index average, and the technology sector average.
Fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce
At Xero, we place the utmost importance on fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it ensures our people thrive, and it reflects the diverse needs of our customers. As at 31 March 2020, 42 percent of our employees were women, and under the guidance of our Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, we constantly strive to maintain and improve our efforts in this space. Some areas we have improved recently are below.
We’ve made life easier for our new parents
In September 2020, we updated our parental leave policy, allowing all primary carers to receive parental leave payments that are equivalent to 26 weeks, and partners up to six weeks of paid partner’s leave. We’ve designed these benefits to support gender equality, meaning they are available to permanent employees globally, regardless of gender identity, how they become a parent, or how long they’ve been with Xero. Our updated parental leave policy also includes a flexi-return option, allowing those returning from parental or partners leave to choose how they would like to return to work in the first two months.
We value inclusive leadership
As we continue to build an increasingly diverse workforce at Xero, we are working to ensure all Xero people leaders are supported to manage diverse teams and capture the potential that comes from inclusion. To do this, we are equipping leaders with an understanding of what inclusive leadership means and how they can create an environment that is highly inclusive of all aspects of diversity.
So, we’ve developed an inclusive leadership training program for all our people leaders. The pilot program ran successfully late last year and we will be rolling this out across our global business during 2021.
We’re making our offices more inclusive
We understand that championing gender equality also means ensuring that people with a range of gender identities feel welcome and included at Xero. This is why we have created designated all gender bathroom and shower spaces in our Wellington office to ensure we’re providing inclusive options for our transgender, gender diverse and non-binary employees and guests. We plan to continue this initiative in as many of our offices as possible.
We continue to invest in women in tech
We are invested in getting more women into the tech sector and key areas of our business through a number of initiatives including sponsoring and supporting events and coding camps for girls and women in tech; graduate and internship programs; and championing the development of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers through various programs.
Creating a culture of belonging
In order to reach our full potential we are creating a culture of belonging, in which people can bring their whole self to work. That’s what inclusion means to us: valuing, respecting and celebrating the differences that make us human. That’s why we’re committed to acknowledging, respecting and celebrating all the ways our people are different – including (but not limited to) gender identity, sexuality, disability, ethnicity, culture and nationality.
Some more examples of the ways we create and encourage a diverse and inclusive work environment are on our website.
Xero isn’t the only company that is expanding our efforts around this important issue. Organisations are increasingly recognising that if they wish to experience the business benefits of diversity, they need to cultivate a culture of inclusion. This is evident in the growing number of organisations included in the Bloomberg GEI, which has increased from 325 in 2020 to 380 in 2021.
I’m so proud that Xero is part of this important corporate movement, and we will strive to be recognised for many years to come.