When it comes to diversity, communication-as-a-service organisation Voxbone is already well on its way, with 187 employees in seven locations across the world, including in Asia, Europe and the US, spanning 39 nationalities.
The challenge, then, is keeping this diverse and dispersed workforce feeling connected, included and engaged.
Jemma Hardy, vice president of HR at Voxbone, says: “Voxbone opens the door to a real multinational community from day one. One of the biggest challenges we face, because we are in this massive [period] of growth at the moment, is about keeping everyone engaged no matter where they are in the world. We work very hard to try and give everyone the same experience and bring everyone into the same ethos.”
To do this, Voxbone brings all new employees to its head offices in either Brussels or London, to help them acclimatise with the business, encourages regular face-to-face communications as much as possible, tries to bring all staff together once a year, and makes an effort to standardise its benefits offering across all regions.
In the interest of furthering this inclusive agenda, and to discover what makes its staff across the world tick, the organisation launched a diversity and inclusion report in September 2018.
“We really wanted to understand a little more about our workforce and what they were thinking, what these people are all about,” says Hardy. “We knew we were becoming more and more diverse, and [wanted to] create a baseline to understand where we [were], and grow from there.
“The first report we did was more of a discovery experience, to understand where we stood, and this year’s was to see where we’d got to.”
The survey, which runs for the month of July each year, is optional and anonymous, and Hardy notes the importance of giving employees the option not to answer each question. In 2019, 73% of staff completed the questionnaire.
The questionnaire not only asks staff about their own characteristics, but also their tenure, position and employee journey; in addition, it measures satisfaction with the supports currently in place, and employees’ alignment with the organisation’s goals.
In terms of the effects on benefits, following the 2018 report, Voxbone made efforts to improve its family-friendly initiatives, for example by standardising particularly well-valued benefits, such as the ability to reclaim money for emergency childcare cover, across all regions.
Hardy explains: “We saw that even though the average age of our workforce was young, they were starting families, and we needed to get on board with this, so we [introduced] a lot of family-friendly initiatives between the years, even [providing] an electric family bike that has five seats on it.”
Now in its second year, the September 2019 report found that 80.5% of Voxbone employees either agree or strongly agree that their individual ideals and values are respected within the organisation, and 91.3% believe that diversity and inclusion is important to the business.