Celebrating women’s achievements and reimagining the world of work

International Women's Day: Together we break the bias

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the extraordinary achievements of women and our collective effort to create a more gender-equal world. The occasion also offers an opportunity to reimagine progress. How can we make our communities more diverse, equitable, and inclusive? How can we make sure women can thrive where we live and work?

These are critical questions at a moment of seismic shifts for all of us: navigating the “Great Reshuffling,” exploring new ways to work, reckoning with longstanding social injustice, and many more. The pandemic has changed all our lives in ways we never could have predicted. It has taken an especially heavy toll on women, including working mothers and women of color.

According to the Women in the Workplace 2021 study from McKinsey in partnership with LeanIn.Org, 40% of women have considered leaving their organization or changing jobs. “Women are now significantly more burned out—and increasingly more so than men,” the report found.

This kind of honest look at our current state shows just how much work remains. It also shows that women are leading and creating innovative paths forward.

Helping women thrive

From my point of view as a chief people officer, fostering an inclusive culture is the future of work and the key to growth for any company. That’s why we’re creating bridges of opportunity for women who dream of careers in the historically male-dominated tech industry.

We’re partnering with organizations such as Women Back to Work, PowerToFly, and Fairygodboss—all to help women thrive. From returnship programs to supporting women after a career break to leadership development programs, we want to help women grow into their dream roles.

I’m deeply proud of the extraordinary women on our team driving an inclusive people strategy at the core of ServiceNow’s tremendous growth. This is a team that wants to lead a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make work better for everyone.

We’ve made a pact to help our people live their best lives, do their best work, and fulfill our purpose together. When we follow through on that commitment, we help our customers simplify life for their employees and customers. These leaders help us put people at the center of everything we do. They recognize that women at all levels of our company make us stronger.

In honor of International Women’s Day, I connected with a few of our many amazing female employees to gain their insights as we reimagine the new world of work.

"We’re creating bridges of opportunity for women who dream of careers in the historically male-dominated tech industry." Jacqui Canney, Chief People Officer, ServiceNow

Creating inclusion
Karen Pavlin, chief equity and inclusion officer

“The pandemic hasn’t just forced us to work differently. We’re also thinking about work differently. In my role, I want to make sure that people can explore those issues and get support. People will need different things. Everyone has experienced the pandemic in their own way. A large share of women—one in four according to a McKinsey study—are considering leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers because of the impact of COVID-19.

“I try to remember that people we work with every day are going through different things all the time. Some are feeling anxious and burned out. Some are feeling liberated by not having a commute or spending more time with their dog. Chances are you’ve had some of these experiences or know someone intimately who has.”

Building a better workplace for parents
Erica Volini, SVP, partner go-to-market operations

“We know that women and moms have been hit especially hard during the pandemic, with 42% of women saying they felt burned out in 2021, compared with 32% who said so in 2020, according to research from McKinsey. As a mother of a young child, I’m committed to changing the workplace and supporting working parents now more than ever.

“Employees need to have the resources and built-in support during every moment that matters in their personal and career journeys—from taking leave to supporting a growing family to transitioning to a new position and taking on more responsibility in their careers.”

Employee experience innovations
Gretchen Alarcon, VP and GM, HR Service Delivery

“As a working mom, the demands on my time change frequently (yes, even now that my kids are in college). So, I'm very sensitive to making sure employees can get access to the information they need, whenever they need it, and on any channel—because 11 pm is when someone might need to know about insurance coverage, not the next day.

“But the employee experience has often had too much friction—with clunky, manual, and outdated processes that make it difficult to find information and get help. Businesses today must act with empathy to keep employees productive, happy, and engaged. This is especially true as many people reassess their role in favor of opportunities that align with their own personal goals and values. A people-centered employee experience, supported by technology that simplifies work, is critical.”

"A people-centered employee experience, supported by technology that simplifies work, is critical." Gretchen Alarcon, VP and GM, HR Service Delivery, ServiceNow

The evolving role of managers
Melanie Lougee, head of Employee Workflow strategy

“Over the last two years, managers have been on the front lines of so much change and uncertainty. Their role has evolved into a coach and career adviser, and they’re being challenged to balance their own work, their team’s work, and deadlines while finding new ways to build and inspire culture among a distributed team.

“This has been an acute challenge faced by many women in the workforce who, along with navigating the manager balancing act, are balancing more responsibilities at home. Amid this shift, organizations need to create a culture of continuous learning, and they must implement technology that’s personalized to each employee’s needs. A single platform that supports managers in their evolved role will go a long way in the new world of work.”

Tech transformation
Vanessa Smith, senior VP, industries and solution sales

“A shift in power between employers and employees means technology is both a driver of productivity and business growth and a tool to support employees wherever and whenever they choose to work. But implementing technology for technology’s sake isn’t enough.

“IDC estimates that more than $3 trillion have been invested in digital transformation initiatives globally over the past three years, but less than half of organizations implementing those projects have yet to achieve the expected outcomes.1 A relentless focus on adoption, and partnership across the organization, is what will make digital transformation work for businesses and their employees.”

Meaningful work
Kelly Kent, chief transformation officer

"In today’s increasingly competitive talent market, a maniacal focus on the top priorities impacting the business is vital. No one feels invigorated by working on low-value tasks. We need to reframe goal setting with this in mind.

“Empowering employees to do more meaningful work and more clearly track their performance against business objectives can have a powerful impact on employee retention and satisfaction. We all want to feel connected and know that our daily work matters. And when we accomplish this alignment, we’re off to a great start enabling employees to also provide great customer experiences.”

Find out more about the new world of work.

1 IDC Worldwide Digital Transformation Spending Guide, V2 2021; The C-Suite Tech Agenda for 2021: Business Priorities, Hurdles, and Tech Investments, Doc #EUR147497321, March 2021.

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