[Case Study] Empowering Women in Tech through Personalized Professional Development at WhiteSource

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Overview 

For WhiteSource, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) lie at the heart of the company’s culture. From promoting pay equity to celebrating the multiculturalism of its employees, it’s no surprise that WhiteSource implemented DEI training and programs to empower underrepresented employee cohorts.

WhiteSource employs more than 300 people around the world. This can make rolling out new programs an uphill battle in terms of maintaining momentum. But with a culture of learning already in place, WhiteSource was able to roll out DEI learning experiences for its employees without hesitation. 

The Challenge 

Women in software companies, especially in departments such as Product and research and development (R&D), are often overshadowed by the many men that work in these areas. Women can encounter bias in meetings as a result and face many obstacles in the workplace, such as being interrupted extensively in meetings or being overlooked for promotions.

At WhiteSource, VP of Human Resources Galit Gold and Training Manager Michelle Weisbeker are committed to ensuring these types of bias don’t occur in their organization, so they set out to create a program to support this. 

The Solution

The GrowthSpace L&D platform was first piloted with a group of around 15 employees and quickly expanded to 40 seats once the initial programs were measured. Through GrowthSpace, WhiteSource connected employees to external experts to support their career development. The pilot program’s main objective was to facilitate employee growth for all by helping retention efforts and increasing promotion from within. The secondary goal was to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion — and that’s how WhiteSource’s women’s program “Ready to Grow” was born. 

The “Ready to Grow” program emphasizes the advancement and upskilling of women. The initiative initially centers on women in male-dominated departments and across the company. For the first cohort of “Ready to Grow” participants, 15 women from R&D and Product were selected for growth sprints, working with their managers to identify the skills they’d like to develop or boost their knowledge in and set expectations together. 

“Ready to Grow” is about the power of empowerment through upskilling and elevating the women of WhiteSource. By supporting women through soft skills programs including communication, productivity, and leadership, the women of WhiteSource are strengthening their talents and becoming more confident in any situation. It’s about helping women feel confident, and it has worked. 

Participant Highlight: Anya Grinberg 

One of the participants, Anya, is a Senior Software Engineer at WhiteSource with 20 years of experience under her belt. Before this program, Anya had mostly learned on the job, soaking up as much as she could on each project she worked on. And through that, she’s learned so much that younger developers often turn to her for advice, guidance, and unofficial mentoring. 

With “Ready to Grow,” Anya chose the Leadership track after hearing from her manager how beneficial her own GrowthSpace program had been.

In her program, Anya was matched with Lishai, an expert who had been a software engineer before switching paths, enabling Anya to use the technical language that other experts likely don’t have. Her leadership sprint helped her learn, in her words, “how to nourish the junior engineers’ creativity instead of just offering answers — and that I have plenty to learn from them, as well — they have marvelous ideas, too.” Anya also learned how to create boundaries in her work relationships. She’s gained confidence in speaking and has learned how to support those she exceeds in experience — without stepping on any toes. 

Anya appreciated the unbiased, confidential expert-participant relationship, as well. As she said: “I thought about why it’s so important to speak with someone outside the company — I needed an objective outlook on my work in order to get unbiased feedback. Everyone should go through the program at least once a year — it’s very beneficial.” 

Results 

  • WhiteSource employees have started 40 sprints in total
  • 58% of the women have selected Management and Leadership skills
  • Nineteen of those sprints have been completed — seven women from the “Ready to Grow” program as well as three women and nine men from the pilot program
  • Overall program ratings stand at a 4.4 average, with women giving their programs a 4.7 average rating out of 5
  • The company now offers leadership sprints to all new managers to ensure each manager starts on the right track

Why GrowthSpace? 

  • GrowthSpace’s five-meeting sprints are a practical way of making quick changes and empowering all employees
  • With a relatively short-time-to-value, the one-on-one sprints enable managers and employees to work together to set expectations and measure results to see the programs’ true impact on the employee’s performance
  • The platforms’ scalability enables the HR team to easily match and measure all employees for whatever skills they need to improve 
  • GrowthSpace’s pool of 1,000+ experts who speak 50 languages and live in 40 countries makes it easy to match diverse employees with the expert best-suited for them
  • GrowthSpace’s data enables HR to easily identify high potentials or hidden talents of employees that they may have previously missed

About WhiteSource

WhiteSource helps organizations accelerate‌ the development of secure software ‌at‌ ‌scale‌. We provide automated tools that help bridge the security knowledge gap, integrating easily into the software development life cycle and going beyond detection with a remediation-first approach. WhiteSource is built on the most comprehensive vulnerability database in the industry, providing the widest coverage for threats and attack vectors. Our solution helps enterprises like Microsoft, IBM, Comcast, Philips, and many more reduce security risk and increase the productivity of their security and development teams. For more information, visit www.whitesourcesoftware.com.