As part of our Role Model Campaign, centred around International Women’s Day 2023, we interviewed companies that are making an effort to ensure diversity and inclusion within their organization. For this article, we interviewed Tanya van Wilgenburgh, Chief of People & Culture at Seenons. Seenons is a tech company that strives for a waste-free world. By creating a tech platform to connect all the players in the waste chain, Seenons aims to accelerate the circular economy, and they help businesses produce zero-waste by creating connections amongst different players in the waste chain. According to Tanya, a company “stands and falls with a good culture” and that’s why she is here to tell us about culture at Seenons, and to inspire others with Seenons’ initiatives towards gender equality within the workforce.
Balance it out
Ensuring a safe culture at Seenons happens in many ways, one element being gender equality. Even though the company is relatively new, equality has been incorporated in company policy since the beginning. This is unique, as startups’ focus is often just to “get it started”. However, “being sensitive to equality from the start really brings the balance into your organization”. Further down the road, this will lead to the representation of multiple perspectives, better and more creative ideas. But be careful, says Tanya, as a pitfall for companies is to have a balanced workforce overall, but not in each department individually. As a growing company, it is highly important to build up all teams equally: “from business, to customer relations, to board room”.
On all levels
In their road towards gender equality, Seenons implements inclusion measurements in all aspects of their business. This ranges from smaller details such as having a .com website instead of .nl, to bigger decisions like using English as the main language in communication, which allows all nationalities to work together. The company has a flat communication style, meaning all employees are encouraged to share their opinion, from intern to manager. In order to increase team cohesiveness, out-of-work initiatives are organized, such as cleaning around the building together. All these different factors ensure that employees feel heard and treated equally, which is exactly what Tanya is aiming for.
But, where do we find diverse team members?
Recruiting a diverse workforce can be challenging, especially for a tech company. “When advertising job listings, 90% of the candidates are men”. Unfortunately, there are not yet enough women in tech, and this needs to change. That is why Seenons is participating in this year’s Role Model campaign portraying Stephanie, one of their frontend engineers. Stephanie is not the only role model at Seenons: 40% of their workforce are women, a percentage that many (tech) companies can only dream of. They achieved this by including their desired gender ratio as a factor in the hiring process. This mix of perspectives enables an inclusive culture, a culture that makes for happy employees. This is important, because “without people you have no team, you have no company.”
Diversity from the get-go
From the beginning, Seenons aimed to be an international company and advises other companies to communicate that way as well. By treating everyone like your target audience, people from all backgrounds feel welcome and included in the organization. “You want to position yourself as a company that everyone can join”, not only for potential future employees, but also for partners. In the end, when partners don’t identify with your company mission and the message you are bringing about, how are they ever going to do business with you?
It’s time to show them!
The Role Model Campaign is not Seenons‘ first rodeo for visibility: the company often takes their tech women to conferences. With such initiatives together with the Role Model Campaign, they give their employees opportunities to continuously progress in their career, and hope to increase visibility of women role models in tech. For this campaign, Seenons chose to portray Stephanie as their woman in tech. Stephanie is a role model not only because she is a woman in a position that is naturally more men-dominated, but also because she is highly mission driven and culture-focused. Originally from France, she actively takes matters into her own hands to integrate into the team and is full of ideas for improving company culture. “Having people like Stephanie ensures the longevity of the company” says Tanya, who has nothing but positive words to say about her. With this campaign, Stephanie gets the visibility she, and all other role models out there, deserve.
Get inspired by Seenons Role Model, Stephanie Alix, here.
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