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Fighting Gender Bias at Work: Our Approach, and What We’re Up Against

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Today is International Women’s Day, a time to celebrate the achievements of women and to bring awareness to the work still to be done in reaching gender equality. This year’s theme, #breakthebias, is an opportunity for workplaces like ours to assess our progress and approaches in reducing implicit and explicit gender biases. 

In the post-#metoo workplace, the conversation about gender, bias, and opportunity has changed. Updates have been made to HR protocols, staff training, and other approaches to addressing the many forms of gender-based bias. Still, the gender gap in our workplaces remains wide, stubborn, and deep running. The new model of virtual work during the COVID-19 pandemic made for an additional layer of opportunity for biases to go unchecked and obfuscated. This is in addition to the unequal burdens of at-home childcare and domestic work that landed more heavily on the shoulders of women over the last two years. 

Examining Causes of Bias

Our biases affect the way we hire, acknowledge, evaluate, promote, and pay workers. Some biases are obvious, others are hidden under social norms, habits, business-as-usual conduct, or are embedded in our systems and structures of work themselves. But while aggression can be micro, the collective trends they create are not: women in the U.S. still make 17% less than men on average — which jumps to 23% among those with advanced degrees. Only 72 women are promoted for every 100 men, and only 1 in 3 manager roles are held by women despite them making up half of the entry-level workforce. On a day-to-day basis, 73% of women report day-to-day workplace experiences of inequities, discrimination, and bias. These experiences tend to be worse for women of color, who are also disproportionately underrepresented in leadership, and have made slower gains in the reduction of workplace bias and inequity compared with White women. 

The causes of these differences are complex and multifaceted. At Komodo Health, we’re dedicated to fighting bias and creating an equal-opportunity workplace. We start the same way we tackle healthcare’s biggest challenges: by transforming data into insights. Each year, we gather and analyze data related to our workforce composition, hiring process, pay practices, and belonging as a way to measure our progress, find any gaps that persist, and commit ourselves to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within our teams.  

#BreakingTheBias at Komodo Health

Representation within Komodo begins with our recruitment and hiring practices. In lieu of traditional job descriptions that emphasize years of experience or educational background, we use a “mission, outcomes, competencies” framework that addresses core skill sets to attract a more diverse candidate pool. We foster partnerships with organizations, including TechLadies, DiversityJobs and People Of Color In Tech, to source applicants and use a structured interview process with diverse panels trained in bias-reducing interviewing techniques. In FY22, women comprised 44% of applicants who chose to provide gender information and 47% of our hires made. 

At Komodo, pay parity means that all individuals in the same job at the same level are paid fairly relative to one another, regardless of identity. This is a foundational aspect of organizational inclusion and a clear way to demonstrate that we value the work and impact of each individual. Through the use of semiannual structured compensation reviews, we significantly improved pay parity at Komodo between 2019 to 2021, achieving pay parity by gender at the mid-senior and leadership levels, and reaching 97% pay parity for entry-level roles. With targeted efforts, we also improved pay parity in engineering roles from 91–95% in 2019 to 99% in 2021. 

We strive to give all Dragons the same career growth and promotion opportunities regardless of identity. Our review processes focus on outcomes and are calibrated by our People team to minimize bias and drive consistency. In 2020, women at Komodo were promoted at a slightly higher rate than men (at least 12% versus 10–11%, respectively, depending on role). In 2021, we doubled representation of women in leadership roles—today, the percentage of women in leadership mirrors that of our workforce overall. We encourage allyship and mentorship through efforts like Varanidae, a community of women and allies supporting each other personally and professionally. And we help Dragons explore new opportunities within Komodo via internal transfers— nearly 7% of our workforce took on a new opportunity in another role or team last year.

Accountability + Action

Approaches to tackling gender bias should be as ubiquitous as the issues themselves, and accountability is key to overcome them. We repeat it often in our work here: measuring something unlocks new potential to change it. We have committed to measuring and reporting the results of our DEI initiatives through our annual DEI report, and believe that by evaluating, measuring, and reporting our performance in areas like gender representation and pay parity, we can better understand and address our progress and create a more equitable Komodo Health. 

Creating a diverse and inclusive company is integral to our culture and business success. We remain committed to identifying tangible ways to make Komodo Health a more equitable place. As we analyze the latest data, we’ll be looking at where we delivered on these commitments, where we might have struggled, and what we can learn and improve on as we move forward.

For more, check out our page about the Komodo experience

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