Cloud 9 Infosystems is a modern example of how a committed small business leader can build a more diverse and inclusive organization while at the same time fostering a culture of innovation and improving financial performance and growth.

A large part of our success comes from our small size, and we can change much more quickly than larger firms and gather feedback and implement decisions much more rapidly.

Women’s talent has taken a hard hit because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Handling caregiving responsibilities and a job can be overwhelming—something that has become starkly clear for women during the COVID-19 pandemic. One in 5 workers in the U.S. knows a woman who has voluntarily left the workforce during the pandemic because of such responsibilities, according to new research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Women also have taken on more responsibilities at home, including schooling their children.

Additionally, over ¼ of employed female Americans with caregiving responsibilities feel their professional development has been muzzled during the pandemic compared to men. Lack of flexible working conditions, role models, gendered career paths, and challenges accessing sponsors and influential networks were already holding women back.

A real challenge in our Technology industry is that if you were not “Digital skilling” and participating in associated programs during the recession or the pandemic and are looking for work now, you are three years behind the market curve.

We’ve put a lot of effort proving that a thoughtful, genuine, and sustained commitment to Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) along with full integration of its premises into talent and business-based practices will ultimately deliver results.

Companies must do pretty much everything they can to help people stay current, with paid training for certifications and remote work options, flexible work schedules, especially for the first time, and new moms. Staying current on fast-paced ever-emerging technological skills has been another critical factor for success through the pandemic.

Matching more experienced people who have had difficulty learning the new tools and are experienced in management and realizing projects with great architecture has also been a core strength. 

One of the critical factors for success is hiring young women to bring this in-depth knowledge and combine them with senior architects to bring fresh ideas and culture to our organization. Hiring international graduates from global universities adds diversity to the team and enriches other team members’ experience.

We’ve also conducted staff awareness training to implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, and prevent discrimination through rewards, recognitions, open conversations with management, and created workplaces to be more welcoming to people of color, whether job applicants, employees, or customers vendors.

Significant progress toward ending gender disparities can be accomplished when counting with male allies in the company. As a result, men within the organization are aware, well-informed, engaged in generous listening, and understand the critical importance of collaborating with their junior colleagues.

Data is already showing that the risk of a She-cession is accurate and especially weighted against women of color.

We’ve taken critical actions to support women in the workplace in the following areas:

  • Allowing for a Hybrid work environment to create time for training. 
  • Compliance: Ensuring that the organization is aware of what is expected concerning D&I.
  • Better Talent integration & Onboarding experience to ensure success. 
  • Operation Integration to ensure that inclusion is always top of mind.
  • Consciously seeking opportunities for Market Integration. While we have endured these difficult times and improved our D&I practices, the metrics also show that we have been challenged.
  • Since 2015 the percentage of new hires at Cloud 9 female increased, but it is clear from the statistics how the pandemic affected us.

We need to be more intentional about understanding what workers want, especially what women need. Our success is having great relationships between our Executives, diverse teams, clients, and business partners and maintaining those relationships because you never know whom you’re going to work with in the future.

As our country and economy look to grow and move forward, we must address how we bring women back to work. How do we account for the career consequences that result from time away? How do we support single mothers and the primary breadwinners for their families? How will issues working mothers face today impact the next generation?

As President of Cloud 9 and WIC Brand Ambassador, it is essential that we, as a collective, join forces and work together towards a more inclusive and diverse world for women in the workplace. That’s why events like the WICxAnnualSummit 2022 are so important. They’re the perfect scenario for the most prominent companies in the tech industry, leading with the example of how things should be done in terms of DEI.

That’s why I’ll be attending the Summit, and I invite you all to join too. You can find more information about the Summit on the WIC’s website. Also, you can get an incredible 15% OFF of your ticket purchase by using the code 15-OFF.

Let’s take action together. Join the WIC digital network for more information about upcoming events, products, and promotions!

Let us be sure to shine a light on and show up for each other every day with our actions and D&I business practices to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity for success, both personally and professionally.