This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter. It’s about creating a more gender-balanced world – whether it’s through grassroots support or global activism. Gender balance isn’t just a desire anymore, it’s an expectation. At Xero we want to be pioneers in achieving this, because through balance we get challenged perspectives, empowered employees and a stronger sense of community.
Xero encourages us all to blaze our own trail, take ownership and do beautiful work. It’s what enables our employees to do the best work of their career and be part of rewiring the small business economy. Putting employees at the heart of our strategy is what enables Xero to continue to grow at rates higher than most global tech companies. We want to continue changing the game for women both within our business and in our communities.
Our workplace culture
Diversity and inclusion should be a key priority for any business. We’re committed to hiring the best person for the job – regardless of gender, age, sexuality or race. This has led us to have a globally distributed senior leadership team comprised of 50 percent women, and a board consisting of 43 percent women.
Our diversity of locations and people lets us do more, meaning we can look at issues and come up with solutions through a multitude of lenses and perspectives. It’s important this is reflected in our values because if you don’t believe in your business’ values, you’re not going to get change. We’re committed to developing a culture and environment where everybody working at Xero feels like their personality, perspective and backgrounds matter, and are embraced as much as everyone else’s.
A few years ago, we teamed up with Dignity, to provide free sanitary products in all of the female bathrooms – so no woman will be caught out at work. Dignity is a social enterprise, whose business model is buy one give one. So, for all the sanitary products used here at Xero, the same amount is given to girls in low decile schools around New Zealand. By using and supporting Dignity, we hope our women will feel more supported at work.
It’s heartbreaking to know that some girls have to miss out on school because they don’t have the sanitary products to enable them to be comfortable while they learn. This can lead to hours of valuable education they miss out on. So we’re glad that we can play a part in making this more accessible to them.
We have an unwavering focus on encouraging more women into tech and helping them to flourish once they get here. We know this starts from when girls are young, which is why we actively support, and host events and community groups that are focused on giving young girls the opportunity to learn about tech.
From workshops run by GirlBossNZ around the country, which teach young girls invaluable interview, public speaking and confidence skills, to Spirit & Soul panel events where girls and their parents can hear a series of lightning talks by inspiring females. We also host Shadow Tech Days where young girls come in and experience a day in the life of a Xero. We also encourage our employees to sign up to mentor for the Mana Tangata program.
Xero is also proud to have supported the Dress for Success foundation last Christmas – an organisation that empowers women by providing them with networking opportunities, tools and professional attire to help them succeed in business.
Internally, we offer the Mentorloop programme to our employees – closing the loop on encouraging women to get into tech and helping them flourish once they succeed in getting here.
We know that gender equality is only a small piece of the diversity puzzle, and that’s why at Xero we love celebrating what makes us all unique, every day. Diversity is a priority for us – both internally and externally. So by making sure all of our employees feel empowered and respected, we want this to flow on to the way our partners, customers and ultimately the wider community feels.