Mette Knak is a Partner Manager at Google Denmark and her passion for diversity has made her site lead for the #IAmRemarkable initiative in Denmark as well as the lead for [email protected] across Northern Europe. In this interview she shares how a company like Google works with diversity.
Mette Knak cares about diversity. Apart from her role as Partner Manager at Google Denmark where help the largest media agencies in Denmark to drive the digital agenda she is also involved in several diversity initiatives within Google. One of them is #IamRemarkable where research shows that there are clear benefits of self-promotion and that it makes a difference to speak openly about accomplishments.
How does Google work with diversity?
“We work with diversity in many different aspects as diversity, equity, and inclusion are business imperatives for Google. Our diversity and inclusion work is divided into 4 pillars, which are Employees & Culture (creating a more inclusive Google), Talent Engagement (engaging talent and expanding education), Communities (strengthening community outreach) and Partners & Products (supporting supplier diversity and creating inclusive products). This approach means that we work with diversity both internally as well as externally. One of the things I personally am very proud of is The Hour of Code, which is an initiative for kids where we teach them how to code. By reaching the kids and especially the girls at an early age, we are hoping to create an interest for education within STEM.
Since 2014 we have released a global diversity report which contains data on how we employ people measured across different parameters. This report allows for Google to be transparent and accountable, since we are clear and open around the fact that we are not where we want to be in eg. gender balance.
In Denmark we have a Diversity & Inclusion board that our country manager, Malou Aamund, is leading, where we discuss different initiatives that can promote a better D&I culture.”
Do you feel that diversity is important to Google? If yes, how do you experience that in your everyday worklife?
“Diversity is definitely important to us, and I am very engaged as I am leading [email protected] across Northern Europe (Nordics and Benelux) among other things. At Google there are currently 15 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) with more than 250+ chapters globally, which allow us to connect with a network of people who share values around supporting diversity. The biggest group is [email protected] and as chapter lead I am coordinating different initiatives across the region. To give you an example on some of the initiatives, we are working on a region wide survey to gain a better understanding on challenges women face in their everyday life and how we can support them.
Diversity goes beyond gender equality. Since 2015, more than 2,000 Googlers from 102 offices in 45 countries have driven more than 220 projects as part of Diversity Core, a formal program in which employees contribute to the company’s diversity efforts.
The difficult part is to transform the “talk” into concrete actions and we acknowledge that we still have some work ahead of us, but most importantly we are aware of it and set goals for ourselves.”
What is #IamRemarkable, why is important and what is your role with it?
“#IamRemarkable is a Google initiative that we invented to empower women and underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond. The goal is to improve their self promotion motivation and skills and at the same time challenge the social perception around self promotion. At the heart of #IamRemarkable lies a 90 min workshop run by facilitators trained by Google that encourage participants to promote themselves in front of peers and management, thereby breaking gender related modesty norms and glass ceilings. Since the launch we ran over 4000 workshops across 90 countries and reached over 70,000 participants. We have engaged with over 500 companies globally and some such as Unilever, Merkle, PwC and Salesforce have scaled the initiative in-house.
My role as a site lead for the initiative in Denmark means that I am responsible for bringing the initiative to our business partners and different communities. We launched it in Denmark in January last year and since then we have facilitated the workshop for big companies like Bang & Olufsen, Boston Consulting Group and Copenhagen Business School and over 800 have already participated. Furthermore we integrated the workshop within our program for Digital Coordinators that we developed in cooperation with Copenhagen Municipality which aim at educating unemployed academics to apply for jobs in small and medium sized companies.”
Why is it important to talk about your own success and acknowledge achievements? And why even more for women?
“From the research behind #IamRemarkable we know there are clear benefits of self-promotion and that it makes a difference to speak openly about our accomplishments. Better diversity and inclusion promotes a better culture and, ultimately, a better bottom line, so it’s an incredibly important topic for us. Furthermore it increases positive emotions such as self-respect, happiness, and confidence, showing that there are many reasons for why we should celebrate our accomplishments. On the other hand the research proves that talking about our accomplishments comes with a cost. One of the costs is that women and men don’t like women who promote themselves, which is why coping with unconscious bias, allyship and supporting each other is very important parameters.”