IN A male-dominated industry, women in the field of technology are now given the chance to speak up through tech-based tools.
Dorothy Yiu, chief operating officer of EngageRocket, a cloud-based software that helps a company make better decisions in relations to its people using data, said although women in technology are already growing, they are still relatively outnumbered by men.
Founded in 2016, the Singapore-based company specializes in developing tools for companies to improve employee engagement and productivity, as well as to provide an early warning for employee attrition.
Noting a recent report across seven major technology companies, she said women account for less than 30% of leadership positions and less than 27% for technical positions. The companies included in the study were Facebook, Intel, Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft, Google, and Apple.
Sharing her personal experience, she said in an email interview early this month, “Personally, I was often the only woman in the room and I led an all-men software engineering team. There was a heightened pressure of wanting to be accepted and to be ‘liked.’ In my earlier days, I was also poorly equipped with the tech lingo, which added to my hesitation to speak up.”
In addition to this, she noted that there are still very few women role models in the industry and gender inequality is still observed everywhere.
“Gender inequality continues to prevail in the workplace today as women are paid less for the same performance and remain underrepresented in top positions,” she noted.
“These challenges are seen around the world, not just in Asia, as there is a perception that women are either competent or liked, but rarely both. This has contributed to the subconscious tendency of women choosing the seemingly safer choice of remaining silent, in the fear that speaking up might make them seem incompetent, or disliked for bringing up an opposing view.”
To address these problems, she said it is very important for managers to have mentoring activities not only for women, but for their employees. This could give them the chance to express what is in their mind. In addition to this, tools that can help employees identify their competencies can also help improve working conditions.
Still, to assure that they are able to speak up, they should be given means to do so with the assurance of confidentiality and security.
“Giving employees a confidential avenue to provide their feedback ensures everyone’s voice can be heard. It enables female employees who struggle to speak up to have a safe and confidential way to voice their opinion and make a difference to their own engagement,” she explained.
“Softwares like EngageRocket and Slack can be easily implemented and is a simply way to enable organizations to keep communication flowing and a pulse on employee sentiment. It enables female employees who struggle to speak up to have a safe and confidential way to voice their opinion and make a difference to their own engagement,” she said.
These both function as a medium for women to freely express themselves through internal messaging systems. Specifically for EngageRocket, it automates the process of giving and analyzing feedbacks from employees for the company’s human resource department and leaders.
“We have built the software such that it is simple and easy to regularly get feedback from employee at various touch points throughout the employee lifecycle,” she said.
In analyzing feedback received, the platform can generate recommendations for leaders on how they can address the problem at hand.
“The platform comes with well-researched workplace questions that are translated to most of our regional languages. Real-time analysis of the feedback also enable EngageRocket to serve as an early warning system for talent disengagement. Proprietary algorithms and artificial intelligence like machine reasoning are used to turn the data into immediate insights and action ideas. Managers are also given recommendations on how to engage their teams based on the aggregated results,” she explained. — V.M.P. Galang