Since joining Sitecore just over a year ago, one of my focus areas has been on diversity, equity and inclusion. It’s important that our workforce represents our customers and the communities in which we work and do business. It needs to be part of our DNA and something we think about in every decision we make.

Our diversity and culture are what sets us apart, drives our innovation, and keeps us growing. As a global company, diversity means something different in each of our locations and therefore we’ve recognized that our focus needs to vary by region. So, we’re engaged in and plan to build upon multiple initiatives that enhance our efforts to attract, hire, retain, and grow a more diverse pool of talent across the globe. Let me be clear, this is not about setting hiring quotas but about ensuring that we make an active effort to widen our traditional lens and engage with candidates who’ve not always been on our radar.

Intentional inclusivity is most critical in recruiting and needs to be applied across the entire process — verifying decision-making criteria from the start, ensuring that resumes are reviewed without bias, confirming that the final candidate pool for each open role has diverse representation, making certain that the interview panel is diverse, guaranteeing decisions are based only on competency and qualifications for the role, and thinking in a "culture-add" instead of "culture-fit" mindset.

We have spent time examining and diagnosing our own current state of intentional hiring and are collaboratively working with our recruiters and hiring managers to improve and fortify these processes. We’ve already put 80% of our global hiring managers and recruiters through a formal inclusive hiring training to identify and define ways to make these processes more inclusive, and to learn how to hold ourselves and one another accountable as we grow. We also implemented guidelines that for every open position, our candidate shortlist is not complete until we have a diverse pool of individuals.

This has led to significant improvements in how we hire over the last fiscal year. While on a global scale we are extremely diverse, we have taken the time to zoom in and examine our diversity numbers by region and department. In fact, we are a leader in female hiring in the United States among tech companies. We outpace our competitors with women in 28% of our global leadership positions (director and above).

And our process changes have also proved successful as key positions across the globe in Sales, Operations and Customer Success were filled by women at the VP/AVP levels. We saw an increase from 13% at the beginning of the period to 46% by the end in our open management-level requisitions filled by women. We’ve also just appointed a Global President and will shortly name a member of our Board who are both women.

Despite this progress, we’re still in the early stages of our DEI journey. But I believe that we’ve got a good pulse on where we are today and have started to build the infrastructure to take us forward. This is just the beginning and I am committed to do even more.

Steve Tzikakis is the Chief Executive Officer of Sitecore. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.