In our latest webinar, “Building Inclusive Learning Environments”, Hattie Pursell, Content Lead at Guider and STEM mentor, sat down with Kevin Dainty, Client Relationships Manager at Reed and the founder of their Women in Technology (WiT) Mentoring Programme. This webinar offered a deep dive into Reed’s innovative use of Guider’s mentoring software to make significant strides in promoting inclusivity within the tech sector, especially in championing women in STEM fields – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
This blog post aims to summarise the key points of the webinar, underscoring the crucial role of inclusivity in the workplace.
Watch the webinar in full here.
What is inclusive learning?
The webinar initiated with a definition of inclusivity, where attendees agreed that it’s the provision of equal opportunities for learning and career development.
Inclusivity in the workplace is about creating an environment where everyone, regardless of background, feels valued, supported, and integrated, promoting inclusive learning. Unlike diversity, which focuses on the representation of different groups, inclusivity ensures these diverse perspectives are actively engaged and influential within the organisational structure. Inclusive teams and learning approaches are proven to enhance employee engagement, decision-making, and innovation.
The current challenges of D&I in STEM
To understand our current state of diversity and inclusion, it’s essential that we measure our baseline. Within this webinar, we looked more broadly at the statistics of employment within STEM fields. Despite efforts to bridge the gender gap, the Global Gender Gap Report 2023 reveals stark disparities: women are only half as likely to have a role in the technology sector compared to men. This issue is further compounded by the trend of female STEM graduates leaving the industry within a year of employment.
Additionally, 50% of women in technology leave before the age of 35. These statistics underscore the urgent need for more inclusive learning and supportive environments in STEM fields to not only attract but also retain female talent.
The WiT mentoring programme: Reed’s response to the gender gap in tech
In response to the significant gender disparity in the technology sector, Reed introduced the Women in Technology (WiT) Mentoring Programme. This initiative was established as a direct response to the underrepresentation of women in STEM roles. During the webinar, it was discussed how the WiT Mentoring Programme aims to provide meaningful, inclusive learning opportunities to women in the tech industry. The programme facilitates connections between women in peer-to-peer connections, or connecting senior or experienced professionals in the field to those starting within a new role. This approach is designed not only to support women in their current roles but also to inspire and guide them towards career progression within the technology sector.
Overcoming obstacles: Reed’s journey with Guider
Reed’s initial efforts to scale the Women in Technology (WiT) Mentoring Programme faced two significant hurdles. First, the limitation in managing a large number of mentoring relationships due to the lack of a comprehensive system. Second, the process was extremely time-consuming, as it lacked a centralised platform for tracking and maintaining these mentoring connections.
“Before Guider, we were limited to the number of mentoring relationships we had the time to arrange” – Kevin Dainty
The integration of Guider’s platform provided a pivotal solution. It introduced a self-serve feature, allowing for easier connections and progress tracking. This mean our learning processes and access to self development was more inclusive. This significantly eased the administrative load. Guider also offered valuable metrics for effective programme management and allowed customisation to maintain Reed’s brand identity.
Mentoring with impact: the Guider effect on Reed’s programme
“Since we started with Guider, we’ve had 500% increase in sign-ups”– Kevin Dainty
Kevin shared success stories from their WiT programme; implementing Guider’s enterprise solution marked significant improvements in managing the programme, such as the facilitation of continuous onboarding of new members. A stand-out statistic, showing a 500% increase in mentoring engagement.
Kevin also shared insights into the impacts on individuals, such as Aaliah Haq, mentee in the WiT programme who highlighted the programmes pivotal role in her professional development.
“It’s so powerful seeing women supporting women”– Aaliah Haq, Mentee in the WiT programme
Reed’s partnership with Guider has not only transformed the WiT programme but also set the stage for future expansions to support other underrepresented groups in the industry. The webinar demonstrated an inspiring approach to building inclusive learning environments through mentoring in large organisations.
For a deeper dive into the transformative effects of this initiative and to hear more insights and success stories, watch the full webinar.