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Building a ‘Great Place To Work’ through deeds (not just words)

Today, we xDesigners awoke to the news that we’ve made it on to the UK’s Best Workplaces for Women list 2022 - being placed within the top ten for medium sized information technology and software businesses. The list curated by the very reputable Great Place to Work team sees us in great company too, being ranked alongside brands such as Volvo, Ayden and Edrington.

Being recognised in this way has certainly put a spring in the step of those who’ve worked tirelessly to deliver a unique people proposition - one that seeks to positively and proactively work for inclusion and diversity at all levels of our business.

And the secret of our success?

Well, to adapt the immortal words of Emmeline Pankhurst herself, we’ve focussed on ‘deeds, not just words.’

Supporting words, but taking action too

The term DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) is now a staple of the corporate lexicon and often the subject of many lengthy whitepapers, debates and articles (this small piece included). There’s certainly a place for all of these, particularly when it comes to raising awareness of the experiences of different people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

However, as a company we knew that words, although they go a long way, didn’t go far enough. Taking action is something we’ve always prided ourselves on here at xDesign, whether in the context of client work, initiatives for our people and teams, or in the wider communities we serve and exist in.

Our latest commendation by the folk at Great Place to Work is testament to some of the initiatives and conscious ways we’ve tried to steer our business in the right direction.

Giving women the time and space to thrive

As a business that has female board members and senior tech leaders on its teams, we’re certainly bucking the trend in the context of the wider industry. However, we know the fight for inclusivity is ongoing and we’re always looking for ways to put words into action.

One of the initiatives we’re particularly proud of is xDesign’s approach to maternity leave. In developing an enhanced package, we wanted to give women the space and options to do maternity their way.

For instance, we give our soon-to-be mothers the option of full maternity leave or the option to shorten this time if it suits their personal circumstances. We felt this enhanced and more flexible package was important given that women may have different plans and expectations when it comes to this important part of their life. Some may wish to spend longer on leave, while others may want to get back to their career and team earlier.

In addition, we also offer shared parental leave which gives soon-to-be fathers the opportunity to spend more time with their newborns. This might also mean that their partner can get back to their working life sooner too.

As well as the bigger things, we also try to actively focus on those smaller things which still have a substantial impact on the experiences of women either already in our business or looking to join it. One example can be seen in the way we create job ads, ensuring the language we use is inclusive and encouraging to people who don’t necessarily think they fit the perceived norm for the role.

We also encourage our xDesigners to get out there and work in the communities we serve. For instance a number of our people have become STEM ambassadors with the aim of encouraging young people in schools and universities to take up a career in tech. In particular, this has been a real opportunity for us to try and encourage more girls to think about what they can bring to our industry.

Inclusivity doesn’t just start and end with gender though

Although our most recent accolade is a welcome piece of recognition, it only tells part of the xDesign story when it comes to improving the experiences of people from varied backgrounds, cultures, sexualities to name just a few. It’s important to note that gender is just one of the fronts on which we’re fighting for greater inclusivity and diversity. As a company our ‘deeds, not just words’ approach is applied to every aspect of what we do; how we do it; and why we do it.

To find out more about our open roles, visit our careers page