Diversity, equity, and inclusion: the keys for a successful business 

Chloe Cameron, Pax8 EMEA Chief People Officer

A strong DEI commitment helps drive growth.

There is an assumption — not only in technology but across a number of industries — that a successful business achieving double-digit growth can’t simultaneously achieve its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals. However, here at Pax8, we believe that these two targets can co-exist, and it’s one of the reasons behind our success as a business.

It’s often feared that when recruiting from outside your usual talent pool, there is a sacrifice in quality. At the core of this belief, some organisations mistake diversity for tokenism, viewing it as a check-box exercise, and write off DEI programs as, at best, a “nice to have,” or at worst, a risk to candidate quality and business performance. Successful companies recognise that there is a wealth of talent from under-represented groups which can enhance a company’s culture and supercharge its growth.

Recruiting the Right Way

Finding the right talent to build a diverse workforce means recruiting in a different way — a way which can fully harness the talent available in underserved communities. This is why, at Pax8, we try to put ourselves in the applicant’s shoes to better understand them as a person. We believe it’s essential to not only recruit our team based on aptitude, attitude, and values, but also on what they can bring to our team. We don’t look for culture fit; we look for culture add.

What really sets us apart from other companies is the way we hire. There are no set rules. In our latest round of cloud generation specialist (CGS) hiring, which is our most entry-level position, only 35% of the pool had university degrees, while 65% didn’t. Furthermore, when hiring in volume, we have a diversity agenda that is directly linked to our sales-performance agenda. We wouldn’t consider a class hire successful if we had too many people from the same group.

Upskilling Colleagues

We also believe it is essential to continually train our people to an even higher standard in order to have a successful, future-proofed company. At Pax8, we always go the extra mile and do more than simply recruit with diversity and inclusion in mind. Every year, we invest millions in upskilling our staff, so they become more capable and confident in their roles. This not only leads to higher performance and internal mobility, but more importantly, colleagues feel valued and empowered by the organisation to succeed.

For example, Georgia Howlett, Cloud Generation Manager (CGM), started with the company in 2021 as the only woman in her class. Today, she jointly runs the Cloud Generation team and is an important ambassador helping to drive our positive company culture forward.

Employers who invest more time in upskilling and taking care of their team retain their people for much longer. As a result, our colleagues are highly-valued members of the team who play an essential role in enabling us to succeed as a business. Over the last year in our UK operation, we’ve achieved a staff retention rate of 92.6%, a figure that creates a great sense of pride.

Taking Our Lead from the Team

We encourage conversions around diversity to be peer-to-peer-led — and we’re careful not to appropriate celebrations to those who aren’t part of that community. For instance, Lucie Hutchison, who was the third woman to join our sales team in March 2021, set up our first women’s empowerment group in the UK to help create an inclusive workspace.

The way we support these initiatives is culturally, through ensuring a psychologically safe workplace for conversations to take place, and financially, with a dedicated budget for Colleague Resource Groups.

Through this budget, we have funded our Women’s Empowerment Group and internal events for Pride. We will also be sponsoring a local anti-racism event in Bristol (home of our UK HQ) for Black History Month.

Key Takeaways

Pax8 places a high value on DEI by involving every level of the business. Ultimately, we strive to build a high-performing team culture that celebrates the individual. We believe that when our colleagues can be their authentic selves, that’s when they perform at their best. Isn’t this the heart of every successful business?

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