By Pradeep Menon, EVP, Digital Transformation Services Delivery, Orion Innovation
Diversity in the workplace is a growing issue, especially the lack of women in technology. By some estimates, only 13% of engineers around the world are women. Compounding the problem is the fact that women are exiting the workforce in greater numbers than ever before.
I have seen this problem first hand with women in my own family. Several of my female family members have advanced engineering degrees and have not rejoined the workforce after having children. My colleagues and friends have noted the same thing. These are ideal employees who have the maturity, experience, and can-do-attitude that any employer would want on their team.
At Orion, we have long recognized the outsized role women play at home and in the office. If we wanted to encourage women to join our company after taking a career pause, we needed to develop the right role and structure for their reentry. To address the problem, we made a conscious decision to develop a robust set of training and professional development resources to help encourage and empower women to return to the workplace.
A year ago, we launched a pilot initiative called “Orion Reboot Program” to enlist and support new women employees joining Orion after a career break. The Orion Reboot Program is centered around two core components – upskilling and mentoring.
The upskilling track focuses on a 4-week training program to equip female technology professionals with the latest technical, domain, and process knowledge in the field. We bring them up to speed on the latest technologies and workplace innovations. We train them on everything from AI and cloud computing to Microsoft Teams and Zoom. We estimate that these experienced technology professionals can efficiently and effectively pick up new skills 10 times faster than new employees.
A mentor provides information and knowledge and overall support. For employees reentering the workforce, they also offer reassurance and help strengthen a new employee’s confidence. Having a mentor can help people overcome feelings of being unqualified, unprepared, or doubting their abilities – all issues often faced by women in the tech world. Our Orion Reboot Program pairs employees with women leaders across Orion. These Orion mentors provide guidance and support in regular meetings and one on ones where they discuss everything from workplace dynamics to professional development to happenings at home.
Orion’s Reboot Program provides women reentering the workforce with a valuable set of tools and resources to rejoin the business world and advance their careers. It also provides our people with a way to give back to the community. We firmly believe that attracting and developing the next generation of women leaders in technology contributes to our overall society.
In just a year, the program has been an incredible success. Our pilot program participants are contributing across the board and advancing their roles and responsibilities rapidly. They have gained confidence and are proactively taking on more visible roles across the organization, including being mentors to the next phase of Reboot participants.
Many companies are taking this time to reevaluate the demands on their employees, and how they can create more suitable environments for women to thrive. At Orion, we take this responsibility seriously. We are committed to supporting women as they reenter the workforce and advance their careers. We have plans in place to scale our women and diversity-led initiatives across Orion’s global footprint with the goal to recruit and advance as many women in the field as possible.
Learn more about our Diversity & Inclusion program here.