At ServiceNow our company purpose is to make the world work. We do this by creating critical value by connecting our personal and our work lives. And one of the ways we do this is by creating a sense of belonging.
Belonging is often seen as a footnote – something that sits at the end of a company newsletter, and doesn’t get more than an afterthought from business leaders.
But at ServiceNow, that’s not the case. Purpose and belonging are a vital part of transforming and growing our business, changing lives, and creating a fairer, more just society.
With that in mind, we wanted to share some of the amazing initiatives taking place across the company, and how they’re driving a sense of purpose and belonging for all our employees.
1. PRIDE at Now
One example of how we at ServiceNow are increasing a sense of belonging for everyone in the business is through our Pride programme.
For a sense of why Pride is so important, we spoke to Neil Hiley, Senior Principal Success Architect at ServiceNow.
“I’m from South Africa, and I grew up under apartheid. During that regime, being gay was illegal, but also very taboo, so not only could you get into a lot of trouble, you could be ostracised, too. In fact, in the first apartment I shared with a partner, we had to have separate bedrooms in case the police raided us.”
After he moved to Europe, Neil finally got a sense of what it felt like to truly be himself.
“It was here that I was just able to be who I wanted to be – not who society thinks you should be, what family or friends think you should be – just being Neil.”
It’s because of his own experiences that Neil wants to ensure everyone gets the same chance.
“We are not all free. Across the world, even in Europe, LGBTQ+ people still experience violence – some people who are open at work remain closeted at home. We have to stand up for our community.”
That’s why Neil joined the Pride at Now community, where he helps to run social events, and also Open Forums for LGBTQ+ staff and allies with the aim of taking Pride beyond just a month and making it a year-round initiative for belonging at work.
“It’s about education and belonging. We all have so much to learn, even those of us within the LGBTQ+ community. By sharing our experiences, not only can we learn from each other and make sure we don’t make the same mistake in the future, but we can also feel like we belong, too.”
The initiatives have had a really positive reception from other colleagues. “I’ve heard from many new joiners they’re shocked at just how open and free they can be in the workplace. ServiceNow is genuinely supportive and encouraging about our differences, so that we can bring our real, authentic selves to work.”
2. Creating truly diverse hiring processes
Of course, creating this kind of space where everyone belongs doesn’t come from nowhere.
Matthias Mattini, Director, ITx EMEA, Customer Outcomes at ServiceNow, has been heavily involved in some of the processes designed to make ServiceNow a more inclusive place.
“It’s a topic close to my heart,” says Matthias. “Previously, I looked at the lack of diversity in our sector and thought: well, maybe that’s just how it is. That’s until I spent time working for a Turkish bank where around 80% of the IT employees were young women. There was a real focus on gender diversity. And I thought, why can’t we do the same here?”
As a result of his experiences, Matthias started a working group at ServiceNow aimed at driving more diverse hiring. And he was surprised to see he was not alone.
So where did change start?
“We started by raising awareness, mainly focussed at our hiring managers. After that, we made sure to bring in senior leadership figures to really put some backing behind the initiatives. And then we went out to the wider community to get their thoughts, too. “We ran a series of workshops with women from diverse backgrounds to see what the issues they faced were, and what really needed addressing. That’s how we worked out what to fix first.”
And the initiatives have seen great success. In Matthias’ department, Expert Services, the number of women in management has increased by 30%. Hiring panels now always include women, and even job postings have been changed to remove unconscious bias that unwittingly deters female candidates. And as a result of his efforts, Matthias’ team achieved a 100% score on the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging section of the Employee Voice Survey this past September.
Matthias finished with one piece of advice on increasing diversity and belonging in the business:
“Don’t let perfection hold you back. Ask questions, and get started. As long as your intention is good, that’s what matters. Because at the end of the day, more diverse businesses teams create happier people and better outcomes.”
Not only that, but diverse, inclusive businesses also allow us to make the most of all the talent out there rather than focussing on the most conventional paths to employment.
That brings us to our final story to share: NextGen. ServiceNow’s NextGen programme is designed to bring those who are underserved by traditional ways of educating and hiring into long-term, fulfilling tech jobs.
Whether it’s women post-maternity, refugees struggling to find work in their new homes, young people out of work following the pandemic, or veterans adjusting to life outside the Armed Forces, many would-be workers are often treated as square pegs in round holes – and they slip through the net.
But it’s not because they can’t do it, says Laurent Briant, Director of Government Programs and NextGen Programs at ServiceNow. “Life has just taken them down a different path. Any child shown how to walk will walk, no child will stay sitting; any person shown what the industry looks like and has a chance to have a go in that industry will flourish with the right training and the right nurturing.”
One of those people now flourishing is Emmanuel Ndohku. Emmanuel came to the UK in July 2014, looking for a career in accounting. But when he arrived, things didn’t turn out quite how he was expecting. He was desperately looking for a job to sustain himself and his family.
Through the Next Gen campaign, Emmanuel was able to secure the training and skills he needed to secure a position as a ServiceNow Consultant at DevoTeam – and has gained security and flexibility he never thought was possible.
“After completing the course and getting a job I was looking forward to, I am now able to spend time with my family and play with them when I’m not working. I’m able to walk them to and from school; we can even do some cooking together because I’ve got a lot of spare time. My wife can go back to studies and work towards her own career because I now have the flexibility to work from home, thanks to the NextGen program.”
The need to belong is universal
Reading this blog we hope you will understand that belonging means something different for everyone – but at the same time, it’s equally as important for all of us.
We get the best from people who work here by letting them be their true, authentic selves. We have shared just a few examples of how we encourage this as part of our company culture.
But there’s always more to do. To find out what else the business is doing to drive belonging, visit our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging page.