GoDaddy, the internet company where one can buy domain names, is now one of the best workplaces for women in the tech industry. But it wasn’t always so. Just a few years ago, the company received a lot of flak for featuring commercials with scantily-clad women in bikinis and cheesy innuendos. Some of the innuendos were so graphic that television stations even turned away the ads.
However, with a change of leadership, came a change of culture. Blake Irving stepped in as the CEO of the company and was determined to change this. He decided that GoDaddy would no longer run sexist ads, and committed to combat workplace discrimination.
Many of GoDaddy’s customers are female, so this also made good business sense for the $7 billion company.
Irving wanted to transform the culture of the company which employs 3,500 people. He started with job descriptions. Many of the company’s job descriptions were too aggressive and used words like “wrestle problem to the ground”. The HR team also found that women scored lower in leadership capabilities because they didn’t give themselves credit in their appraisal and did not stress their individual performance enough.
GoDaddy transformed its employee evaluation forms, and tried to assess its workers on impact, not character. For example, it asked employees to give instances of desired behaviour, instead of asking whether someone is simply good at it.
Now, almost a quarter of the company’s employees are women, and women comprise 26 per cent of the company’s leadership. Half of the engineers it hired last year were female.
If a company which was known for selling domain names via sex could transform its culture, it just shows that anything is possible!
The Anita Borg Institute For Women and Technology rated the company as one of the top workplaces for women technologists, alongside Apple and Google. However, the journey isn’t over. Irving recognises that the process to change is long and arduous and is committed to making GoDaddy even more inclusive.