How PayPal’s “Ministry of Culture” drives diversity & inclusion success

A “Ministry of Culture” is one of three key of internal initiatives within PayPal which help drive and realise successful diversity and inclusion outcomes

A “Ministry of Culture” is one of three key internal initiatives within PayPal which help drive successful diversity and inclusion outcomes across the business, according to its Australian people business partner, Kim Cheney.

PayPal is taking a number of proactive steps to build and expand a diverse pipeline of talent in order to attract a broad spectrum of employees of all different backgrounds and experiences, Cheney explained.

“Our greatest asset and driver of performance is our people,” she said.

“We recognise and embrace that it is individual qualities that make each one of our employees unique and allow teamwork to flourish.”

Cheney said PayPal’s diversity and inclusion strategy takes a global view of the employee lifecycle, and encompasses the three areas of:

  • Talent acquisition: how PayPal hires and acquires diverse talent
  • Talent development and education: how PayPal develops top talent and creates awareness and educates all employees
  • Engagement and culture: how PayPal encourages employee engagement and promotes the core value of inclusion through “affinity groups”

To support this three-pronged strategy, Cheney said PayPal is developing talent sourcing teams in key areas of its business, which focus on diversity and mandate diverse interview slates prior to making hiring decisions.

Diversity & inclusion across the business
It is also expanding company-wide programs to support and embrace diversity and inclusion in the workforce, and these include:

A “Ministry of Culture”: PayPal Australia has an internal Ministry of Culture (MOC), which acts as the voice of employees, explained Cheney, who said one of the key aims of the MOC is to “celebrate diversity in a positive working environment we are all proud of.”

“We recognise and embrace that it is individual qualities that make each one of our employees unique and allow teamwork to flourish”

Affinity groups: “We have established employee organisations, who are united by the common purpose of fostering a sense of belonging and support for inclusion in the workplace,” said Cheney.

“They actively support and advocate for women, veterans, LGBTQ, specially-abled and ethnic employees. Through these communities, employees drive diverse recruitment, retention, professional development and advocacy.”

Development: Inclusion is a core value of PayPal, and Cheney said a workforce that is diverse and inclusive enables the business to innovate and deliver outcomes that are more robust.

“We work to attract and retain specialised talent with unique skills and experiences to enrich the workplace and customer experience,” she said.

Challenges and solutions
PayPal, which employs some 18,000 people around the world, has made encouraging progress in some important areas of inclusion and diversity, including pay equity, Cheney said.

“But, as in everything we do, we must strive to continually improve and do better,” she said.

“We recognise that the level of workforce diversity in the tech industry remains a long-standing challenge, which receives a lot of focus and attention from a spectrum of audiences, including customers, legislators, media, employees and investors.”

In addressing gender gap challenges in the tech sector, Cheney said PayPal addresses imbalances by ensuring hiring managers always consider a diverse range of applicants for new roles.

When a gap in gender is identified, PayPal works to understand why applicants may not be applying for these roles within a business unit, and moreover, why the business is not actively seeking them out.

Furthermore, consideration of applications from all genders, backgrounds, cultures and ages is enforced.

“We work to attract and retain specialised talent with unique skills and experiences to enrich the workplace and customer experience”

The role of HR in diversity and inclusion
A key priority for PayPal’s HR team is to bring the value of inclusion to life by building an ever-more inclusive company culture, built on respect for individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, and the self-expression of colleagues, Cheney said.

Last year, PayPal was voted Australia’s most trusted brand in the IPSOS Most Influential Brands study, and more recently was voted the fifth best place to work and ranked seventh in the top ten companies for women.

Furthermore, PayPal was voted the sixth best-perceived brand among women in Australia (out of more than 300 other brands) in YouGov’s Brand Index 2018.

“We strive to ensure this is continually reflected in the hearts and minds of our employees,” said Cheney.

PayPal Australia is also a member of the Diversity Council of Australia and Cheney said diversity and inclusion are central to delivering on the customer value proposition.

Cheney said the key initiative that PayPal’s HR has implemented to achieve diversity and gender balance in the workplace is its diversity plan.

This includes a two-day inclusion and diversity training session for all employees, aimed at increasing the awareness of diversity and its positive impact on teams and the overall brand.

In 2017, this training was rolled out to all employees in Australia (more than 80 per cent attended the 2-day course) to help increase awareness of unconscious bias and create personal action plans to address them.

And in 2018, Cheney said the plan is to roll out global programs to increase awareness of unconscious bias.

“Our diversity plan locally encourages salary comparisons when making an offer to new employees”

Gender and pay equity
PayPal is working towards gender equality at all levels, and females make up 40 per cent of the company’s board in Australia.

The company also has a female VP leading the Australian business and its local leadership team is almost 50 per cent female, and it is experiencing a 20 per cent year-over-year increase in women at the vice president and above level.

“We face a challenge, however, to improve the gender balance in technical and sales roles as we seek to manage balance and building a strong pipeline of talent,” said Cheney.

PayPal Australia also undergoes a workplace pay parity check to report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and the company’s remuneration committee every year – a process observed by its board.

“Our diversity plan locally encourages salary comparisons when making an offer to new employees,” she said.

“To promote a sense of equity between employees and managers, managers may participate in a group calibration exercise to ensure equity amongst performance and promotion activities.”

Attracting and retaining talent
Finding specialised talent with the fintech experience can be a challenge in the Australian market, so to combat this PayPal Australia’s HR team designed a tailor-made personal development program called “100% YOU”.

“We encourage our employees to gain the skills and experience they need for their next career move, whether that be an international role within PayPal or a role outside the PayPal family,” said Cheney.

“It puts career and development responsibility in the hands of the employee, and enables them to seek out the development they need.”

Another challenge can be found in balancing an intergenerational workforce, according to Cheney, who said it is important to offer flexibility and encourage managers to understand that not everyone works the same way or wants the same thing.

“Some employees have an assigned desk while some desk-hop between floors and even between our Sydney and Melbourne offices,” she said.

“Some teams communicate via email as their primary channel with others using instant chat or the social aspects of our sales tools.”

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