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October 3 2017

One Tech Company Changed Approach to Promotions, Women Won Big

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

GoDaddy has been on a quest to boost women in its ranks. This tech company took a novel approach to lifting the career trajectories for their female workers –in a way that didn’t harm men- and women’s promotions jumped by 30 percent.

Women lag men in receiving promotions at Go Daddy – like many other companies. It’s not because of systemic or purposeful gender-based discrimination, but because women tend to seek promotions less often than men.

CEO Blake Irving decided to implement a new approach: managers were asked to review all employees as potential candidates for promotion – even those who didn’t ask. As a result, the number of women promoted increased 30 percent. We wonder why they weren't taking this approach to begin with.

GoDaddy released its diversity report, which also found that the number of women at the company increased two points from last year to a little over a quarter of the company. They experienced improvements in management levels as the numbers of female leaders and senior leaders were up.

Irving highlighted that the improvement in leadership is the biggest story from their report:

"I think progress isn't just measured in numbers," says the Internet company chief, who is retiring at the end of the year. " The real jump is in [women's] promotion trajectory," he explains.

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An important thing to note here, Irving says, is that, although more women progressed, "men didn’t go backwards."

Perhaps other companies can take away a valuable lesson from this about how promotions are given. 

One of the often overlooked issues when considering women’s wages relative to men is that women don’t seek promotions as often. In fact, there’s clear evidence that men and women view their ability to get promotions very differently. A Hewlett Packard report found that men would seek promotion if they could meet 60 percent of the job requirements, whereas women would only throw their hat in the ring when they felt they possessed the full 100 percent of qualifications.

Not every company will take the approach that GoDaddy did. That means that women need to muster the courage to pursue the promotions they want. Personal agency and initiative can't be overlooked here.

Promotions don’t just bring greater responsibility, but they usually offer more pay, greater exposure to senior leadership, and are a stepping stone to future new opportunities.

When other women see that they can get promotions it can trigger them to go after their own.

At the same time, some women and men have no desire to be in leadership or would rather choose a non-management career track because of the demands on their time, their desire for greater flexibility, or because they just don't want to be in leadership.

We have to respect the choices of those individuals as well.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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