In 2016, two employees of SpareFoot—a company that provides an online marketplace for consumers to find and book self-storage—formed an affinity group, “Women of SpareFoot.” The group’s goal was to ensure the company was welcoming and supportive of female employees, providing opportunities for growth and thought leadership. This effort, along with many others, has earned SpareFoot first place in the “Diversity and Inclusion Initiative” category of PR Daily’s 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.
With the success of “Women of Sparefoot,” the company invited the founder of a diversity-focused recruiting firm to train SpareFoot managers and employees on gender bias. That experience led SpareFoot CEO Chuck Gordon to establish a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. Gordon was well aware of the low number of women in large tech firms in the company’s Austin, Texas, home.
That task force has led to a host of initiatives. For example, the company now posts jobs internally first; when they do go outside, SpareFoot partners with diversity-focused recruiting sites. It has sponsored new affinity groups as well, including “Blacks Who Code.”
SpareFoot also hosts multiple events throughout the year designed to foster diversity and inclusion, including gatherings designed for employees to meet colleagues from other departments. Impressively, the company paid the costs for every woman employee to attend the Texas Conference for Women; it also covered the costs for senior leadership to attend, along with any interested male employees.
A host of other activities supporting the company’s new, intense focus on diversity have led to a variety of honors, including being named the top company culture by “Entrepreneur” magazine and a Silver-Level Mother-Friendly Worksite by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
When SpareFoot isn’t hiring, the organization focuses on encouraging a sense of inclusion. The effort is ongoing and the team recognizes that there is still progress to be made.
Congratulations to Leslie Hall, Megan Oertel, Gina Helfrich, the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, Women of SpareFoot, People Operations and Senior Leadership.
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