We are excited to announce that we are gearing up with Chargebee’s summit by women for everyone — EmpowHER’22, featuring women in technology, on April 20, 2022.
Last year was our first chapter, designed and executed for an internal audience — women of Chargebee. We had a lot of exciting sessions and power-packed roundtables covering topics ranging from finance to the art of negotiation, overcoming confidence gaps, navigating workplace politics, and more.
We decided we’d open the event to everyone, given its huge success this year. The event’s theme is “Pandemic Realities and Opportunities,” and we will be deliberating this with more global speakers, more insights, more perspectives, more energy, and more time unpacking limited beliefs.
Not a One-off Event
Women-friendly work environments and gender parity in pay and leadership representation have been issues companies have been trying to address for years. The pandemic only increased these challenges and reversed some of the progress that had been previously made.
Some articles called the fallout as Shecession and the recovery process Shecovery… And with good reason. According to Deloitte’s Women @ Work global survey, women’s satisfaction with work-life balance in the tech industry has dropped to 32% from 70% pre-pandemic — which sounds contradictory to our belief that working from home would improve work-life balance. From productivity to mental well-being, satisfaction dipped by double digits.
Chargebee has been actively adapting to these seismic shifts in how we fundamentally operate. Over the last several years, we have been having conversations about what success would look like for the women at Chargebee, the pandemic notwithstanding. A lot of smaller initiatives have culminated into what is EmpowHER today.
Facilitating Changes Systemically
We have been cultivating a culture that allows every person to be their authentic selves.
We try NOT to treat diversity as a checklist.
We continue to focus on a culture of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging, not because it is a “nice” thing to do. But because it is imperative we do it; it makes business sense. And it does not stop with increasing the number of women at Chargebee. It also means being invested in their growth, enabling them to climb their career ladder while flourishing outside of work. That means ground-up changes to policies, creating safe spaces at work to have difficult conversations, enabling a learning environment with training sessions on core competencies, as well as on general interest topics, and more.
It has not been easy, but we have been seeing steady progress. In 2018, women comprised only about 28% of the total employees, and less than 5% were in leadership positions. In 2020, that increased to 28% women out of the entire workforce and 12% in leadership positions. Today, we have about 32% women, 30% managers, and 15% in leadership positions—small but steady increments.
What makes the women at Chargebee tick? I asked around and got some interesting answers:
Driving fundamental changes has been inherent to building a diverse work environment
“Without having to forcefully achieve gender equity (as a mandate at this stage of growth), it’s part of the DNA, and that’s one of the reasons to have such strong women leaders at Chargebee.” — Sindhu Nagarajan, Migration Engineer.
“Chargebee has done this by investing in empathetic leadership who are cognisant of team’s needs and foster career paths based solely on an individual’s expressed interest and potential, irrespective of the gender.” — Nandhini G S, Lead, Customer Solutions
Inclusive policies have been an essential factor for equal opportunities
“For women to succeed, no one needs to give them any additional avenues/opportunities. All we need is the same opportunities presented to any other gender. In that sense, I like how Chargebee doesn’t discriminate while hiring or promoting. By having transparent policies on working from home, flexible timings, inclusive leave policies, etc., Chargebee helps women (with more personal commitments). And since these benefits are open to all, there is no judgment or a feeling of being biased for any particular gender.” — Pooja Sriram, Lead, Brand Marketing.
“Last year, we rolled out our global parental leave guidelines (26 weeks paid maternity leave and 16 weeks leave for non-birthing parents, including fathers and those who choose to adopt or foster a child, along with child care assistance). They provide equal opportunities in the workplace and fairer gender relations within the family, irrespective of what each country legally mandates as the minimum. It has helped new parents take advantage of this special time to bond with their child in this exciting phase of their lives!” — Archana Karthik, Senior Manager, People Success
Career progression to leadership positions is a ‘natural order of things’ for women
“I think women and women leadership in Chargebee is a “natural order of things.” The fact that we don’t drumbeat about “Women in Leadership,” says a lot about how empowered we are.” — Sukanya Kuppuswamy, Director, Implementation
“When I applied to Chargebee, I found more women in leadership positions than in the other organizations I was applying to. It’s a catalyst to see more women in leadership roles to aspire to get to the top.” — Sindhu Nagarajan, Migration Engineer.
You can’t grow if you have no place to go — leaders listen and trust you to do the right thing.
“At Chargebee, everyone is open to feedback from the top-down. There is a conscious effort to pay attention, listen, trust, and empower. Given our scale and growth rate, having different voices heard means every voice needs to be represented. I can find and create opportunities for people without going through a singular channel, which may not necessarily represent everyone in the organization. And the leadership trusts you with these decisions.” — Penny Desatnik, Director, Corporate Communications.
“My biggest takeaway and icing on the cake is that most people are willing to unlearn and learn things that they may not have been aware of, which helps feel heard and safe.” — Shreya Srikumar, Senior Solutions Engineer.
It’s been a consistent effort to get this far. From intimate employee-led L&D sessions, fireside chats, power hours that focus on learning new things outside the realm of work, managers’ training, support groups on Slack to knowledge sharing series — we find ways to be supportive of each other’s growth and provide a space to get to know and learn from each other.
We know we have some ways to go. But today, we pause and reflect on how we can act and EmpowHER tomorrow. Meanwhile, if this resonates with you, check out our careers page for more opportunities at Chargebee.