Female GoDaddy Employee Laughing Represents Womens Equality Day

Women’s Equality Day: How GoDaddy bridges the equality gap

7 min read
Monica Bailey

Transparent dialogue on equal pay and compensation is a crucial foundation for equality efforts. Having the courage to look at your own data and dig into it with the intention to learn takes guts and can make a difference.

Publicly sharing your strengths, shortcomings and solutions is what it takes to improve our industry and advance equality in the workplace.

I reflect on the courage many companies have demonstrated in the last few years opening their people data to transparently show what is working and what needs work. For me, this work is a continuation of a long history of equality efforts, not the least of which took place 99 years ago with a group of brave women fighting for their right to be heard and be counted.

Inspired by pioneers in human rights equality

Women’s Equality Day Picture of Equal Suffrage League of Richmond
Equal Suffrage League of Richmond, Va., February 1915
Image: Wikimedia Commons | Public Domain

August 18, 2019, marked the 99th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote and hold public office. The path to this amendment was paved by courage and resilience, beginning with a peaceful civil rights movement at the world’s first women’s rights convention in 1848. Decades later, in 1973, Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” to commemorate this milestone in U.S. history, calling attention to the continuing fight for equality.

Here at GoDaddy, we’re inspired by these human rights pioneers.

We strive to be a great place to work for all of our employees and we’re honored to be one of the nation’s top places to work for women in technology.

It is our goal to ensure we treat all of our employees with consistency and fairness, although our work doesn’t stop there.

We continue our pursuit through transparency, equal pay, equitable promotion paths and a constant effort to ensure a forward-thinking workplace for everyone.

Laying it all out on the table

In 2015, we became one of the first technology companies to share gender pay data with the world when our then-CEO took the stage at the Grace Hopper Conference.

We believed, and still believe, that by measuring and sharing our data we can both drive change and continue to improve.

As a Leonard Cohen song that I hold dear puts it, “Forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.” It was our turn to shed a light in the dark corners to see what we could find. It was scary — and we believe both uncomfortable and very worth it.

Our 2015 diversity and pay data highlighted progress, but also gave us good insight into potential problem areas.

We found that we paid our men and women nearly the same.

On average for non-technical roles, for every $1 a man earned, his female counterpart in a similar role earned $1.01. For our technical employees, women were paid one cent less than their male counterparts and female managers were making 96 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earned.

However, when we reviewed the data from additional angles, we noticed that women were not being promoted at the same rate as their male counterparts.

And with that discovery, we dug in to focus on what we could do about it.

Fighting for fair promotion paths and careers

Female GoDaddy Employee Smiling at Whiteboard

Our learnings that first year were a crucial piece in laying out a blueprint for our future equality and diversity initiatives.

Following the results, we set out to learn how we could improve. In 2016, we focused on reducing unconscious bias in our people processes. We partnered with Stanford’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research to refine how we evaluate performance at GoDaddy. This helped us to create consistent and specific behavioral criteria aligned to key qualities most central to performance. We also experimented with how we identify qualified candidates for promotion consideration.

The work has been paying off.

Many of the process changes we made became fundamental to how we organically produce pay parity for employees.

We saw promotion rates for women and minorities grow significantly, while men’s promotion rates held steady.

In fact, by 2017, we saw 50% of our promotions to vice president and above going to women.

In 2018, 33% of senior leaders at GoDaddy were women.

The positive changes we saw in 2017 and 2018 were a direct result of the improvements we introduced in 2016 to proactively identify qualified internal candidates, so that no one is overlooked for a promotion. Not all employees recognize or know how to advocate when they are ready for a promotion. We felt it was important to make sure no one was forgotten and that we’re all seen for the merit of our work and reviewed with equal consideration.

When we decided to share our learnings about compensation, what we ultimately uncovered led us to refine and overhaul our career progression paths.

Even if the experiment had not yielded successful results, it was worth it to try because that is how we create change.

As employers hell-bent on improvement, we owe it to our people to rethink antiquated processes that don’t produce equality and inspire them to do their best work and advance their careers.

Since our early years reviewing our data, experimenting and sharing our learnings, we’ve continued to focus on this important work.

In 2018, we increased the total population of women at the company from 26% to 29% of the total workforce. We’ve also expanded our analysis to include ethnicity. In 2018, we found that minorities comprised 32% of GoDaddy's workforce population, on par with 2017.

Culture matters

We believe our culture is a catalyst for inclusion and it is felt in our hallways and even in our conference calls.

Across the globe, we turn on our cameras and connect face to face. We see each other and are here for each other.

We care deeply about each other and encourage our folks to express themselves and be heard.

If we look at data from our employees in our last employee engagement survey, GoDaddy Voice, we find many statistics that make us proud. Nearly 90% of our employees feel their manager creates an environment that allows them to be themselves at work. In fact, our top 10 items from our survey usually center around a culture of trust, respect, the ability to express ourselves freely, and to be a part of a team that makes a difference.

And, if it isn’t already abundantly clear, let me say that we pursue this important work for our employees — and for our customers.

Like many companies out there, we know that a more diverse team best serves our diverse customers.

With 19 million awesome customers, it would be a disservice to not serve them with a team as diverse as they are.

Looking back to see ahead

Currently at GoDaddy, we’re proud to say that we don’t treat diversity and equal pay as one-off programs — they are woven into our people processes and company culture. We aren't afraid of transparency and there is still much work to do.

Women’s Equality Day is a strong reminder of the strides we’ve made as a company, the strides we’ve seen across our industry, as well as the work that still remains. This fall, we’ll be releasing our 2019 data report and we look forward to the next 99 years of progress, together.