October 2, 2020

Diversity & Inclusion is Key for Growing Companies

If you’re reading this, we want to say thank you.

 

Last year we were #20 on the list of Canada’s Top Growing Companies from The Globe and Mail and this year we moved up to #15. This article intends to talk about the role of diversity and inclusion for growth of 3,677% over the last 3 years. But first…

To our clients

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to solve problems with you.

To our partners

Thank you for helping us create new value through more diverse services.

To our supporters

Thank you for believing in us and making the connections that led us to new relationships and new opportunities.

And to our team

Thank you for bringing your enthusiasm, your energy, and your incredibly diverse skill sets with you every day. Every team member – past and present –  has been an important part of the journey that brought us where we are today.

Without your adaptivity we would have never been able to help reform mining oversight in BC

Without your creative minds, we wouldn’t have helped people manage anxiety by bringing cognitive behavioural therapy to mobile devices.

Without the first people that took a chance to come work for a fledgling startup in 2016, the BC Highways app might never have been able to make travelling and transporting goods safer and easier.

Because without our clients, our partners, our supporters, and our team, the 100+ projects that you helped us complete would not have prepared us for our most exciting and most rewarding year so far.

3,677% Growth Over 3 Years

We believe one of the keys to this kind of growth was diversity and inclusion. 2020 was a year of incredible growth for FreshWorks in a number of ways.

Remote & Inclusive

Along with many other companies our team moved to be fully remote in March. This meant virtual meetings, virtual interviews, and getting more comfortable than ever with our remote collaboration tools While we’ve always had an inclusive workplace, becoming 100% remote friendly has made this more true than ever.

Resourceful & Diverse

Several times this year our client partners called on us for a rapid response project due to COVID-19. By helping unlock the power of open source code for digital government we were able to provide solutions to the governments of both BC and Alberta in a number of days or weeks.

Illustration showing using open source code for digital government

5 years ago quick pivots like these would not have been possible for us. In that time our team has grown in diversity, and so has our ability to get creative and be resourceful.

Something else that helps? Through it all, everything we’ve done this year is well aligned with our mission:

Create value and solve problems
through remarkable digital experiences.

2020 is NOT cancelled

This year is far from all bad. You might have discovered Zoom or other new ways to connect with people. Perhaps you started using a virtual care application because the doctor’s physical office was closed. You probably have better hand-washing habits.

At FreshWorks we assisted with COVID-19 response initiatives like BC’s Traveller Screening System, helped build an app to deliver digital health services to First Nations communities, and created a place for health care workers to find mental health support and resources

Now more than ever, technology continues to transform our world. For us that has meant the work we’re able to do is helping real people in our communities. And that feels pretty good.

Mockup of multiple devices showing all components of Alberta's Enhanced Traveller Screening System for COVID-19
Mockup of the First Nations Health Authority mobile and web app
4 iPhone mockups showing features of the Mindshift app which helps manage and reduce anxiety

Growth = Change

The future has been bright at FreshWorks for a while. When I joined 3 years ago, the company already had 25 people and was outgrowing its roots as a tech startup. The client list was growing, and the projects we took on were quickly increasing in complexity.

That growth was very new though, and we’ve tripled our team size since then. Like any organization that has grown so much and so quickly, it was still a much different place than it is today.

Photo of demo day at FreshWorks Studio in 2017
Demo Day at FreshWorks in 2017

As we’ve matured, exactly what that bright future looked like has evolved over time. But the mission – why we do it – has always been the same. This is why it’s even more rewarding that for the second year in a row, FreshWorks Studio has made the cut in The Globe and Mail’s list of Canada’s Top Growing Companies.

#20

2,216% Growth

In 2019 we were #20 with three-year revenue growth of 2,216%.

#15

3,677% Growth

In 2020 we are Canada’s 15th fastest growing company with three-year revenue growth of 3,677%.

The stories of Canada’s Top Growing Companies are worth telling at any time, but are especially relevant in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic,” says James Cowan, Editor of Report on Business magazine. “As businesses work to rebuild the economy, their resilience and innovation make for essential reading.”

And still growing…

Thanks to this growth we’ve also been able to continue hiring throughout this year’s pandemic. In the last year we created over 20 new jobs and still have 9 open roles for technology roles – software developers, delivery and product managers, and analysts – as well as operations roles like recruitment and marketing.

Diversity and Inclusion for Growth

Our company was founded by 2 people that immigrated to Canada in 2013. This is certainly a big part of why diversity has been baked into our culture. But the reason it is part of our foundation for success runs deeper than that. There are many places where diversity and inclusion are integrated into our practices and thinking.

HR Practices

Very early on our People Ops team started making considerable efforts to ensure everything we did eliminated the potential to prejudice candidates and team members.

Job postings were rewritten. We now follow guidelines to ensure they are as inviting and inclusive as possible for all genders, ages, and demographics.

Recruitment and hiring practices were optimized. Our multi-stage hiring process ensures candidates are evaluated by many people in FreshWorks. The entire recruitment and hiring cycle is highly democratized.

Performance evaluation methods are constantly updated. We have skills matrices that help us make more objective apples-to-apples evaluations. The skills and contributions of our team often span different roles and recognizing the value of that diversity is important.

A map with pictures of everyone and where they’re from has been up in the office kitchen for a few years now. This celebrates our diversity and is a testament to every effort we’ve made to achieve it.

World map with pictures of people at FreshWorks showing all the countries our team is from.
16 Personalities desk tag used to celebrate diversity at inclusion at FreshWorks Studio
Each person's desk card shows their personality type.

Embrace Personalities & Preferences

Everyone takes a Myers-Briggs style personality test (16 Personalities) when they start at FreshWorks.

Not surprisingly, we have people that represent every different personality type and we celebrate that as well. There is an infographic up on our walls and we created custom desk tags for everyone as well.

When planning company trips or events we are meticulous with our considerations to be inclusive for people of different abilities, interests, and dietary preferences.

Culture and Experience

We intentionally seek talent from different parts of the world and from people with diverse backgrounds.

We’ve been able to bring in a number of talented people from outside the country through Canada’s Global Talent Stream which is a program that aims to increase diversity in the workplace. Today, our team collectively speaks 25 languages, and comes from 15 different countries.

We have people in the first 2 years of their career, people with 25+ years of experience, and everywhere in between. In 2018 we hired a 16 year old intern for the summer and set him up with a mentor who ended up learning as much as he taught.

Families

There are plenty of parents on the team who need to look after their kids. There are also kids on our team who need to look after their aging parents. Family needs will always be accommodated at FreshWorks in any we can. Because we want to retain people with different perspectives and that’s part of what it means to be inclusive – at least to us.

We are fortunate, because both of our co-founders have advocated for and endorsed diversity and inclusion initiatives at every opportunity. This has made every action feel very natural.

Diversity & Inclusion are not just buzzwords – I truly believe that once the concepts are fully embraced, an organization, a community and a society can reap benefits of having different perspectives. As an immigrant to this amazingly welcoming country I’ve learned quickly that by equipping our organization with different perspectives and combining the best of all the options, we can succeed at a tremendous pace.

– Sam Mod, CEO

One of our core values at FreshWorks is humility, and we know there will always be more to learn. If you have ideas for ways we can improve, please send them our way.

Last year we prepared our first diversity and inclusion report so that we can have a baseline to work from for improving. One of our established goals for this coming year is to build on our report and turn it into our first formal diversity and inclusion strategy. This will then be integrated formally into our overall company strategy and objectives.

2021 is already looking like it will be another great year, and I’m excited to see where it takes us.

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