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Revolutionise Your Startup's Diversity: How WERKIN's Mentoring Programs Can Help You Build Your Career and a More Inclusive Workplace

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Chris Apostolou

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According to the government’s latest gender pay gap findings, 19 of the 20 biggest UK tech companies pay women less than men. The research, recently published in Sifted, showed that companies such as Deliveroo and Revolut have pay gaps wider than the national UK average, which sees women earn 90.6p for every £1 that men earn. 

Sifted found that women make up just 13% of C-suite roles at startups and are paid less for most jobs of similar seniority. There is also data suggesting UK startups had a worse gender pay gap in 2022 than the national average in 1992.

So what can we do about it?

WERKIN is a tech company on a mission to help companies tactically address these issues quickly at scale. And Startups are no exception. Building a diverse and inclusive team of leaders, staff, investors, and board members can help startups achieve their goals and drive innovation.

The organisation pioneered augmented intelligence to nudge behaviours that positively impact and really make a difference to an employee’s career progression or a leader’s management style. It was founded with the goal of empowering underestimated and underrepresented employees who may be women, LGBTQ+, neurodiverse, disabled or from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups or other marginalised communities in the workplace. 

WERKIN’s CEO and Founder Hayley Sudbury, is an openly out LGBT founder and DEI expert. After having a successful career in financial services but without any LGBTQ+ role model at work, Hayley co-founded WERKIN, which is now the digital standard for inclusion and belonging - to accelerate the careers of other people from marginalised groups:

“I was previously an executive in banking – and I looked around, but couldn’t see a version of myself. There were no women above me and there were certainly no gay women above me. I thought ‘wow’, if that doesn’t exist, then I think my career might be elsewhere; so I started to think about how we can change that. Alongside my cofounder, we focused on people’s career journeys and what we could change i.e. who actually moves up through the talent pipeline of organisations and how we can help because the reality was, not everyone who should be progressing was progressing, and the top half of organisations were still disproportionately representative of one type of person.

“So WERKIN was born from this idea of ‘how do we help accelerate someone’s career journey’ and how do we help leaders and managers do the things they said they were going to do as part of being a great line manager and leader. This was at a time – eight or nine years ago – when people were looking to technology to solve problems, so it made sense for us to bring together this problem that also provided an opportunity for technology disruption, and to look at how we solve the issue of D&I.

“Now we are working with companies so they can better understand the impact of AI in the workplace. The impact of AI in the workplace requires a clear understanding of productivity versus behaviours, so for example on our platform behaviour change is encouraged by nudges or augmented intelligence (gently nudging or suggesting a new way to see, do or say something). We optimise the productivity of the program using AI, tracking progress and scaling metrics.

“Ultimately founding WERKIN was a personal journey, and we really wanted to create a company that helps organisations change and turn their intentions around inclusion and belonging into real action. Our revolutionary tech is primarily what helps them do that.”

WERKIN offers a range of bespoke mentoring and career development programs, including one designed specifically for startups. Through this program, WERKIN connects startups with experienced mentors who can provide guidance and support as they build more diverse and inclusive teams.

Here are a few case studies that highlight the impact of WERKIN's mentoring programs:

Women entrepreneurs take over Washington DC.

WERKIN designed and ran a Google sponsored program for women entrepreneurs, based out of Washington DC. This was a peer to peer program, providing a community incubator for startups and scaleups - helping women to grow their businesses and reach new markets. The community WERKIN created is still thriving and delivers ongoing economic impact to the region.

Taking the Marketing industry on with first of its kind sponsorship programme. 

WERKIN partnered with BRiM (Black Representation in Marketing) to address the dire statistic of Black talent only currently accounting for 3% of the entire marketing industry. The cross-industry pilot program connects employees from underestimated and underrepresented groups with experienced mentors who can provide guidance and support in their areas of expertise. Using advanced technology and connecting participants through an online platform, training, networking, and career development opportunities, the program provides a comprehensive solution to help employees grow and advance in their careers.

BRiM organisations include companies such as Meta, Shell, PepsiCo, Unilever, Deloitte, Accenture, TUI, Wise and the program has already been adopted by several leading agencies, such as VCCP, OMD UK, Publicis Groupe, Drum, and OMG Group, with these companies already seeing a positive impact on their inclusion and diversity initiatives.

Future black leaders of Westminster empowered.

WERKIN runs the Reverse Mentoring program for Westminster City Council. Initially designed for their under-represented racial and ethnically diverse employees, the program has since expanded to include their disabled and LGBTQ+ population. The engagement data has been used to support internal and external reporting including Ethnicity Pay Gap.

Ultimately, WERKIN’s mentoring program offers startups a powerful tool for building more diverse and inclusive teams. By connecting with experienced mentors, gaining access to valuable resources and tools, and focusing on creating an inclusive workplace culture through WERKIN, startups can position themselves for success in today's global economy. With WERKIN's guidance and experience as a trusted advisor to both startups and established businesses, companies can create workplaces that are not only diverse but also welcoming and supportive, enabling them to attract top talent and drive innovation for years to come.

To find out more about how WERKIN can work for you and your organisation, CLICK HERE.


#GenderPayGap #EqualOpportunities #Startup #WorkInStartups #JobSeeker #Werkin #Diversity #WomenInTech

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