Raj Goodman Anand, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in London, is founder and CEO of Goodman Lantern, a native English content writing and software development services firm helping businesses sell better and grow faster. As the leader of a predominantly female team, we asked Raj about his experience with gender pay parity and workplace equity. Here's what he shared:
I'm the founder of a company with a predominantly female team. That seems like a strange opening statement for a male CEO--and that's part of the problem we're dealing with in business today.
Throughout my career, I've encountered mainly male-dominated spaces. Unfortunately, that isn't surprising in the tech and marketing fields, in some countries more so than others. However, I see a distinct lack of female representation and leadership across all industries globally. And there is a gender pay gap that, by some estimates, won't resolve for another 257 years.
What Experience Has Taught Me
I've worked in a male-dominated environment, a female-dominated environment, and even a mixed environment. From my experience, a mix of male and female energy produces the best business outcomes. A diverse workplace culture with a good representation between genders, ethnicity, race, and heritage is the key to creating a dynamic and successful workforce.
Mixing people from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds creates a melting pot of growth opportunities. It creates the possibility for innovation and something new. Isn't that what progress is all about?
When Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes
In creating my current company, it dawned on me that if I only hired the same candidate time and again, my business wouldn't change. It would simply be a constant remodeling of the old. Why not try something new and see what happens?
To bring this vision to life, we made a conscious effort to look beyond finding people like ourselves. We intentionally chose a women-led approach to add more neutrality to our overall ecosystem.
Equity vs. Equality
Slowly but surely, companies across the globe are approaching gender parity. But while the conversation hovers around equal opportunities, it's clear that something's still missing. We're at a critical juncture where we need to start correcting the historical wrongs that have left women in the workplace behind their male counterparts. By closing gender equality gaps through policies and gender-focused programs that change workplace culture, we can be more supportive of women.
Gender Pay Equity
Our company pays employees of equal rank and experience at the same rate regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Managers and tech teams are paid on a per-hour rate while our content team is paid on a per-project basis.
Our flexible working arrangement enables team members to choose when, where, and how they prefer to work. This empowers employees to balance work, family, and personal needs. Additionally, we promote mentorship and an "open-door policy" to discuss additional training, mental health, and career growth.
We strive for an inclusive working environment that gives employees a fair chance to prove themselves professionally. Team members showcase their strongest skillsets, working for clients across the globe.
Employee response is overwhelmingly positive: "It's great to work within a company that is open and inclusive. At GL, being male or female doesn't matter. Our diverse backgrounds, skillsets, and experience are valued," said Vasyl Lashkay, lead tester on Goodman Lantern's tech team.
5 Major Benefits of Gender Equality and Diversity
In moving away from a homogenous environment to a more diverse and inclusive one, we've noticed these benefits:
1. Clients love diversity. Our diverse team's thought process is extremely advantageous for clients: By providing marketing content written by team members of every caste and creed, we expand customers' reach and make them more relatable to society as a whole. This builds customers' brand value while contributing to a more equal society.
2. Achievement levels soar. In my experience, hiring more women helps businesses reach higher levels of success. Gender-diverse organizations are almost always more productive, more efficient, and experience fewer blind spots than homogenous ones.
3. Effective problem-solving. Diversity helps teams find pitfalls sooner and overcome them more quickly. I believe in female leadership and the fantastic job women do when given the platform and opportunity. Look at the current pandemic: Countries with female-dominated leadership did a better job at battling Covid-19 than those led by men.
4. Enjoy greater fulfillment. It's inspiring to pursue objectives beyond monetary success. Our mission is to make the narrative more inclusive of all voices and help solve a bigger challenge. We strive to align with UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 5, to create gender equality and diversify the global economy.
5. Lead by example. As a manager, CEO and company founder, I've questioned and confronted my preconceived notions, and I strive to remain unbiased. However, I'm aware that the world doesn't necessarily think the same way I do. But I make the decision every day to lead in a way that tells the world there is a new way of thinking. That there is a more inclusive, beneficial alternative to the status quo. That men and women can share the same roles for the same pay, harmoniously working together to make the world a better, more equitable place.
It's not always easy to stand your ground for what you believe in. But I can attest: It is always worth it.