Tasktop’s Mission: We are driving toward an inclusive company culture. We are building a come-as-you-are community of mutual respect and trust. We believe that diverse teams perform better and foster an environment of belonging and inclusion. We aim to continually learn, evolve and be better versions of ourselves.
Tasktop has been a great place to work for the past five years because of the emphasis the company places on cultivating a culture of learning.
The codebase has an open review process that every engineer can learn from with each change. There are working groups with people from different teams on a voluntary basis. Groups drive initiatives and tackle complex and important enhancements across all engineering teams. The latest technical knowledge and practices get implemented in our teams each month.
We can talk and share our thoughts and interests through multiple channels including Slack, the Tasktop Forum (an initiative where Tasktopians present on topics of interest inside and outside the company) and participate in open office hours with executive managers.
There is also the Tasktop Academy, which provides us with professional training and allows us to learn from high-quality training videos and more. The infrastructure to learn is meticulously thought out to support all teams and departments. There is plenty of stimulation every day, no time to get bored. However, learning technical knowledge is only one crucial aspect of our company. This learning culture must also extend to how we work together as people.
We spend close to 40-50% of our time during weekdays with our colleagues. When we collaborate we build better products and learn from each other. And when we learn from each other, we learn not only technical knowledge, but more importantly, we learn more about ourselves and others around us. We learn from their professionalism. We’re inspired to be a better version of ourselves.
Our team has a good mix of professionals from different backgrounds. Everyone’s perspective is respected and heard. With this pool of diverse personalities, it has been really helpful to solve many challenges. We enjoy social hours such as team lunches, team exercises and happy hours. But like anything, these bonding opportunities are not without their challenges.
For instance, if you bunch some engineers or pre-engineers together, it may put us in a spot where many of us are more introverted or not used to making long social conversations. I can talk with people for a decent amount of time – perhaps something like 20 to 30 minutes? However, it can get hard if people aren’t used to such social events. There can be long periods of silence. While older team members may be used to such moments, others may not be as comfortable.
Finding an ice-breaker can be tricky too. Since we have so many different people from different backgrounds (Canada, the U.S., China, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and beyond), finding a topic that invites input from everyone isn’t easy. Would all people be interested in talking about Star Wars? Would exercise and health be a good topic? Can I talk about my kids or a parenting story with my team when most of them are not parents? Feeling comfortable to share your life and interests can be daunting. How do you find topics that will make people feel most included?
Since we are from so many different places, it can be easy to unintentionally exclude someone from a conversation or upset someone. It may not be a big deal if it only happens on one occasion, but when it happens repeatedly due to unawareness, it can potentially hurt the team.
So how can we address these important issues?
The Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Awareness (IDEA) Working Group
Earlier in 2020, one of Tasktop’s company’s objectives lists was “diversity”. While it is a great meaningful word, it wasn’t really clear what the object actually meant for our team. For me, I saw it as a more official opportunity to request more support regarding diversity and inclusion matters.
I met People Operations leaders and asked my manager what their plan was for it. It was the very first step to explore the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) world. With Tasktop’s support, I was able to attend a Women In Tech Regatta conference that had many practical D&I sessions. We had a talk about D&I at one of the Tasktop Forums and the initiative quickly garnered great interest and support across the company. All of this happened before the pandemic was announced.
Even going through these difficult times and the many changes in the company, Tasktop continued to make progress in making the D&I program as effective as possible. The IDEA working group was formed by the head of People Operations. Volunteers were gathered and we talked about why diversity and inclusion matter to us. Almost every department of the company had some people join the group. From there, the working group has pushed many initiatives, including:
- Implementing mandatory diversity and inclusion training
- The execution of the very first company D&I survey
- Diversity calendar to celebrate many cultures
- Unconscious bias training
I enjoyed discovering and learning my unconscious side of the brain through Project Implicit, which was introduced during an unconscious bias training session. At a stand up one day, our manager read an interesting scenario which generated quality discussion regarding unconscious bias and how people perceive and process data differently from others, and how that impacts us when making judgments and decisions.
The IDEA working group continues to bring more action items that will empower employees and encourage positive culture changes internally and externally. I am happy and thankful to be part of the IDEA working group and seeing changes that enrich Tasktop’s culture. Witnessing a company that actually hears employees and empowering us to take action has made me even prouder to be Tasktopian.
Join Our Fantastic Team!
If you like what you hear about our company, why not join us? We have a number of vacancies across the company in Business Development, Product Development and Sales. Learn more about these roles and our company culture on our careers page.
Stay tuned for more blogs from Tasktopians, as part of our #iamtasktop campaign, where our employees share their worldview and their own unique journeys at the company.
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