Silicon Valley—the hub of seemingly everything technology related—has a reputation for being somewhat of a boys club. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reports only 23 percent of tech roles at the top 75 companies in the Valley are occupied by women. This discrepancy has been attributed to a number of factors, including inhospitable work environments, sexism (a problem in many workplaces that seems to be amplified in the male-dominated industry), long hours, and lack of promotion opportunities within the company.
The digital and brick-and-mortar makeup mecca that is Sephora however, does not suffer from the same gender ratios plaguing the rest of the industry. In fact, women are in 62 percent of Sephora’s tech roles, and its digital executive leadership is entirely female with just one exception.
The company attributes its success in avoiding gender bias to some forward-thinking, insightful leadership moves.
Keep scrolling to see three lessons Silicon Valley–based tech companies can learn from Sephora.
1. Consider potential, not just skill.
Yvette Nichols, the vice president of talent at Sephora says “even if a female candidate doesn’t have all the requirements for a technical job, we want that person to come in and show what they can do.”
2. Get rid of the fear of failure.
The prospect of failure and its consequences can make it downright debilitating to take the risks that could reap the highest rewards. Mary Beth Laughton, Sephora’s senior vice president of digital, says that doing away with a fear of failure has enabled boss ladies in the company to feel empowered in their decision making.
3. Make sure people feel (and are) heard.
If you’ve ever been in Sephora and wondered how exactly they got your highlighter picks so right, Jenna Melendez a former employee says it’s because for female staffers, you aren’t just an “employee,” but also a consumer. And as such, Sephora believes that it’s likely you have valuable insight into what’s going to work in the market.
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