Diva Tech Talk interviewed Monica Bailey, Chief People Officer at GoDaddy (www.godaddy.com). At 18 million global customers and 8,000 employees, the 22-year old company is an indisputable market leader, as the largest ICANN-accredited domain registrar in the world, four times the size of its closest competitor. Monica came to her role at GoDaddy “having seen a lot of things I love about the technology industry and having seen a lot of things that I didn’t want to repeat.”
The daughter of a social worker mother and a residential builder father, Monica was raised in a “rough and tumble fishing town” on Washington State’s coast, populated by “amazing people” who “had to be as fierce as the ocean to survive there.” She graduated from Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow School of Communications with a double major in psychology and communications, and a special focus on women’s studies. Early in her career exploration, she knew “I wanted to help people; I wanted to make an impact.” Fate intervened in landing Monica’s first job. Armed with her resume, she visited a friend at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington and spotted her third cousin, who facilitated interviews. She was hired as a technical recruiter. “I feel so fortunate. Tech is a place where we don’t ponder too long. We experiment, try things, iterate, and hopefully make change in the industry, and the world.” Her career at Microsoft spanned many roles including recruiter, recruiting team captain, senior human resources generalist working on Microsoft’s consumer internet group, manager of Microsoft’s merger and acquisitions, senior talent assessment manager supporting President/CEO succession and development planning, and also did a stint as HR partner for Microsoft’s Research arm.
Monica is a life-long champion of diversity, shaped by enlightening lessons from her 17-year Microsoft tenure. She has the highest regard for Microsoft’s current CEO but “I grew up in a work environment that was internally competitive,” she said. “There was no shared, core criteria that was fair and accessible to employees.” Learning from that, she believes “there is enough pie for everyone. I don’t want to compete with folks. I don’t want my folks to compete with each other.” In her industry, and company, “we are better together.”
Monica defined diversity as “having different perspectives around ‘the decision-making table.’ The more folks you bring around that table, from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different socio-economic classes, the more holistic you get to be.” She stressed that if you don’t have diversity, as an organization, you can “miss the market.”
Her transformational work at GoDaddy has been propelled by a partnership with Stanford University’s 40-year old Clayman Institute, a nonprofit extension founded to inspire innovative solutions that advance gender equality. After their in-depth review with unprecedented access, “They said: you have two choices. You can continue to refine your hiring to reduce unconscious bias, similar to what many companies are working on. Or you can go for the ‘Holy Grail:’ career advancement for women, knowing that there is very little research in this area, at this point.”
Making the Holy Grail choice, GoDaddy revised their unique performance review process encompassing the “what” (targets, objectives, activity,) and “how” of achieving goals. “We want wonderful people doing wonderful work,” Monica said. “So, we had to reimagine the ‘how’ in order to strive for true diversity. The ‘how’ is how you exemplify our values; how you live them every day; how you help each other do great things for our customers. We included ‘how do you introduce diversity and different perspectives ‘around the table’, in order to innovate.” Monica stressed that there has also been a robust effort to block unconscious bias in every human resources’ process as a result of the Clayman Institute counsel. “We just decided to build diversity into everything we did. Diversity is not siloed. It lives in every piece of work we do. The bummer is you’re never done!”
GoDaddy is making great diversity progress. “Our employees are super-clear about our culture and values. They come to GoDaddy because it is a really different culture --- hard-charging, yet collaborative. We overtly talk about it and more importantly, our people talk about it.” Monica said. “And we have record low attrition.” She proudly pointed to a recent survey that shows that 89% of GoDaddy’s top individual contributors and leaders would recommend the company to others.
By following Clayman’s recommendations to break down all the work into a simple, clearly accessible set of behaviors, “women and men have a statistically equal shot at top performance in the company…We pay a dollar for a dollar, women to men.” And, “last year, we were at 31% women in our most senior roles.”
Monica’s diversity recommendations for other organizations include: thoughtfully and creatively formulate your vision of success and act on it; examine performance by every possible human criteria to strive for absolute fairness; methodically and constantly survey your talent base, and customers, on what is working and what is not; and engage in systems like “promotion-flagging” to ensure that those who don’t “self-promote” are still fairly recognized. Monica was emphatic about the positive return on investment that diversity represents for all companies. At GoDaddy “We believe that diversity creates better innovation, better products and services for our customers.”
Her mission at GoDaddy is “making the company we all want to work for!”
Make sure to check us out on online at www.divatechtalk.com on Twitter @divatechtalks, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/divatechalk.