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Three ways Envato boosted the number of women in its workforce

Broede Carmody /

Envato founders

Envato co-founders Collis and Cyan Ta’eed

Australian software company Envato has been crowned the coolest place to work for women, according to careers website JobAdvisor, just one year after releasing diversity figures it was far from proud of.

Last year, Envato revealed women made up only 7% of its engineering workforce, and 28% of its leadership team.

Today, around 17% of Envato’s engineers are women, although the gender breakdown of the company’s leadership team remains unchanged.

Envato co-founder and executive director Cyan Ta’eed told SmartCompany while the number of women working for Envato is still not ideal, she believes the policies the company has put in place have put it on the right track.

Here’s how Envato boosted the number of women in its workforce:

1. By rewording job ads

“We started small, so we did things like took a look at our job ads and asked some of the female employees what appealed to them,” Ta’eed says.

It turned out that Envato’s job ads weren’t at all appealing to women or a diverse range of candidates.

For starters, the advertisements used slang such as “coding ninja” and other phrases thrown around predominantly by men in the tech scene.

“We got a different level of candidates just by changing our job ads,” Ta’eed says.

“We changed the language in them and said we were diverse and inclusive and always open to talk about flexibility. That not only got us more diverse candidates, but it got us straight, white male candidates who were really interested in promoting diversity themselves. So that was a great starting point for us.”

2. By promoting flexibility throughout the whole workforce

Ta’eed says promoting flexibility within the team and in job ads has also been crucial to making progress in Envato’s diversity figures.

“We always had flexible working hours, but if someone came and asked about flexibility [in the past] we would meet them halfway,” she says.

“There wasn’t a real cultural awareness of how flexibility is great and how we embrace job sharing or part-time work. So now we have a lot of part-time workers in the team … We haven’t sacrificed performance in any way.”

3. By coaching staff on unconscious bias training

Ta’eed also points out that unconscious bias training is really important so that staff don’t just hire people who remind them of themselves.

Through this process, Envato’s leadership team decided it would be best to replace what it called cultural-fit interviews with value-fit interviews.

“There’s free unconscious bias research online,” Ta’eed says.

“Carry that out through your team, even if it’s an informal chat. Have a discussion so that at least people are starting to think about this stuff.”

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior SmartCompany reporter. Before this, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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