Empowering women in tech: Chronosphere’s commitment to inclusion and equity

A group of women in tech making a heart shape on a purple background to symbolize equity and inclusion.
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IWD 2024: Chronosphere celebrates the achievements of women while taking stock of the work we have done, progress we have made, and challenges we still face.

Gabriela Serret-Campos
Gabriela Serret-Campos | Global Head of People & Talent  | Chronosphere

Gabriela directs Global Talent and People Operations at Chronosphere, marrying people strategy with business goals to drive impactful outcomes. As SVP of People Operations at Drizly, her leadership was pivotal in the company’s exponential growth and strategic navigation through the pandemic, culminating in a successful $1.2B acquisition. Gabriela’s influence also permeates her board and advisory roles, notably with the People Ops Society, where she champions workplace culture evolution and the advancement of women in leadership. Beyond work, Gabriela loves to explore Boston’s culinary and bar scene, enjoy live music, and travel with her two remarkable children.

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Celebrating women's achievements

At Chronosphere, as we celebrate the achievements of women, it is an opportunity to take stock of the work we have done, progress we have made, and challenges we still face. In the rapidly evolving tech sector, a deep commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) is crucial, extending beyond ethical considerations to become a strategic asset. However, in tumultuous times the drive for innovation often overshadows the critical need for diversity and inclusion. 

Insights from the Women in the Workplace 2023 report highlight ongoing advancements and persistent challenges in achieving gender equality within corporate environments, especially in the tech sector. Chronosphere actively implements strategies that not only address these identified challenges but also build upon our strong foundation of inclusion and equity. To truly foster change, we need to look beyond our walls and aim to influence the tech sector at large. As such, we want to share our wins and our learnings.

Debunking myths and embracing realities

While women’s representation at the C-suite is at an all-time high (McKinsey, 2023), progress lags in mid-level managerial roles. This “weak middle” poses a significant challenge, limiting the pool of women eligible for senior leadership roles. This paradox creates an opportunity to dig in and ask why. McKinsey uses this report in part to debunk several myths about women’s workplace experiences and career advancement, offering a fresh perspective on their ambitions, the barriers they face, the impact of microaggressions, and flexible work arrangements.

A concerning trend is prevailing: despite heightened awareness and initiatives aimed at fostering diversity, women’s experiences in the tech sector are facing stagnation and, in some cases, decline. These insights are critical for companies like Chronosphere as we refine our strategies to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for all employees.

Chronosphere’s commitment to inclusion

The tech industry, lauded for its forward-thinking and disruptive innovations, still grapples with significant gender disparities. At 32%, the share of women working in tech is now lower than it was in 1984, when it was 35% with half of the women leaving tech by age 35. (Techopedia, 2023) Engagement surveys across the sector reveal a disheartening trend of declining job satisfaction among women, fueled by persistent inequalities and a lack of advancement opportunities. This is not just a pipeline issue; it’s a culture and inclusion challenge that demands strategic interventions.

Against this backdrop, Chronosphere looks to lead. Our efforts have consistently resulted in equitable experiences for our team members, irrespective of gender, as reflected in our engagement surveys. This achievement is not accidental but intentional; it is not one wide-sweeping action but the compound effect of many small consistent practices. While we are proud to have been named a Best Company for Women (2022, 2023) we are guided by the data and do not look towards accolades or awards to denote achievement. Instead, we rely on measurable progress.

Engagement & Experience Parity Across Gender 

Chronosphere demographics

*Gender is not considered binary, however the respondents for this category fall below the minimum respondent threshold to display those gender-nonconforming or nonbinary results.

Source: GPTW 100 best small, medium size companies (2023)

Strategic pillars of our Inclusion Framework

Diversified talent pipeline 

So what are some of our best practices? At Chronosphere, we begin by broadening our recruitment strategies to ensure a diverse talent pool. Utilizing blind assessments and a competency-based evaluation system, we focus on mitigating biases from the outset, ensuring that meritocracy prevails in our hiring practices.

Equitable promotion and development

One of the most significant barriers to women’s advancement is the ‘broken rung‘ at the first step up to management. Addressing the ‘broken rung’ directly, we have instituted transparent promotion cycles and a culture of continuous development. Our approach facilitates an open dialogue around career advancement, enabling all employees to pursue growth opportunities. We track who is up for and who receives promotions by race, gender, and age. Leveraging a lens of intersectionality, we can uncover gaps and challenges faced by specific demographic groups. 

After instituting these practices, we found that we are challenging the concept of this broken rung; last year we had a 10% promotion rate, promoting women at 15% compared to men at 8%.

Promotion rate by gender identity 2021, with an emphasis on inclusion in the tech industry.

Christine Exley, professor at Harvard, notes post conducting a research study on self-promotion and gender that ‘Women systematically provided less favorable assessments of their own past performance and potential future ability than equally performing men’. In response to this long-known trend, we disproportionately encourage women and other historically marginalized groups to leverage our coaching benefit (open to all employees) to help them shape their narratives in regards to self-evaluations and developmental discussions.

Integrated workLife initiatives

While often considered table stakes, benefits that are tailored to your employees and anchored into your values can make a difference when looking to attract talent and can support retention efforts. Upon Roe v. Wade being overturned, we enhanced our benefit offerings to include a new family planning benefit – financial support for adoption, IVF, or termination, as well as covering expenses if travel is required to access necessary medical procedures due to new state restrictions.

This, coupled with a gender-affirming care benefit and a generous parental leave policy (regardless if this is a birth parent or not, and parity for maternity and paternity), showcase that we are not just ‘checking the box’, but truly care about fostering an equitable experience.

Echoing the McKinsey report’s findings that ‘most employees say that opportunities to work remotely and have control over their schedules are top company benefits, second only to healthcare, we recognize the universal value of workplace flexibility. With team members in 18 different countries, and US team members across 26 states, a remote-first approach is just how we run our business. We have a couple of offices and have opportunities for people to leverage co-working spaces to not only accommodate but champion the need for flexible work arrangements, contributing to a more inclusive environment that values output over presence.

Interestingly, McKinsey found that “For women, hybrid or remote work is about a lot more than flexibility. When women work remotely, they face fewer microaggressions and have higher levels of psychological safety.” This study challenges us to question if we have reaped benefits in regards to the female experience given remote-first has always been part of our culture as Chronosphere truly started to grow into a business in the early days of the pandemic. 

A map showing the locations of chorus around the world, highlighting the inclusion of women in tech.

Early adoption and proactive use of people analytics

For many companies, analytics – specifically people analytics – is something to invest in once the org has reached a critical mass to ensure statistically significant data. I advocate for early adoption; my point of view is neither prevalent or popular with most in the People Operations function. Waiting until the “right” time often leads to extensive audits and data corrections, consuming valuable resources. 

By incorporating people analytics when Chronosphere was sub-100 employees and only had a couple of anniversaries under our belt, we have been better equipped to establish a baseline and track data to better spot trends. In the People Operations/Human Resources world, especially in startups, the HR tech stack is often disparate with systems and platforms that do not communicate nor integrate with one another. This approach helped us build around these obstacles to create a comprehensive look at our people – our greatest assets. While we are small, oftentimes we may not have enough representation to see trends from an intersectionality approach, yet we are still able to validate or challenge our approaches and gain insights which over time we can then use for comparison.

Bottomline, an early and strategic investment in people analytics has enabled us to track, measure, and understand the nuances of our workforce dynamics. This data-driven approach allows us to make informed decisions, spot trends, and continually refine our strategies to ensure equity and inclusion.

Looking ahead: ongoing learning and continuous Improvement

Chronosphere’s journey toward greater inclusivity and gender parity is ongoing. There is no silver bullet, just a continued commitment to listen, test, and learn. The insights from McKinsey and other industry reports serve as valuable benchmarks and learning tools as we strive to enhance our practices, not just for gender equality but for inclusion and equality for all, especially historically marginalized groups.

As we mark International Women’s Day, we reflect on our progress and recommit to fostering an equitable and inclusive workplace. By challenging industry norms and embracing data-informed strategies, we can cultivate a culture of inclusivity and pave the way for a more equitable future in tech. We aim to be the model for DEIB in the tech sector, and while there is a long road ahead, we believe that with commitment and consistency as a collective group, Nothing is Impossible.

IWD 2024 #InspireInclusion

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