PagerDuty: How to Lead By Example

Bridge School
Nov 2, 2018 · 4 min read

In the second of our three-part series highlighting our forward-thinking sponsors, we look at PagerDuty, the leading digital operations management platform, helping empower DevOps, IT operations, support, security and more with insights and real-time action. They’ve brought this proactive approach to making things better by signing on as an early sponsor of Bridge School. We spoke to Dileshni Jayasinghe, Engineering Manager, and Wendy Foster, Director of Engineering, Data Science.

Emily: “What makes PagerDuty a unique place to work? I’d love to learn a bit more about the culture.”

Dileshni: It’s a very inclusive environment…filled with people who have no ego. It’s a collaborative and supportive environment, one where we can learn from each other.

Wendy: Even in my interview experience, I got an office tour and quite frankly — my mind was blown. When I’ve come into other organizations, I’ve had to build that capacity but it was just here for me. That was one of the deciding factors for me to join the organization.

One of the first things [PagerDuty] rolled out was their interest groups…It was really great because they formed [a strong community] around those, [and it] fed into the pipeline and its been key to building from the ground up.

E: What part does diversity and inclusion (D&I) play in that culture? Any specific initiatives you’d like to mention, (beyond Bridge sponsorship)?

D: We have what’s known as ERGs — Employee Resource Groups — SisterDuty, Pageable, Array, PatriotDuty — Military, RainbowDuty, and a whole bunch of others. These are employee run groups for various initiatives staff are passionate about. Anyone can create a resource group and usually there is an executive team sponsor who helps them bring their ideas to completion and make any changes we want at the company. Our CEO, Jennifer Tejada wrote about these in this blog post.

D&I has made a lot of progress and change. Even…in terms of training and how to understand the different backgrounds that people are coming from. We did an exercise about the different aspects of identity that we bring into work — that what you see is not what you get, that people have complex aspects of them. It helps to open our eyes to be a better coworker and be a better human.

W: We formalized D&I in terms of who’s responsible for how the program functions. A few of these include our CAP program, which brings in folks who are looking to restart their careers or who have been out of the workforce for a long time. And Code 2040, that creates opportunities to connect young Latinx and African American students to tech opportunities. There’s a lot of work on the opportunity affordance side on our organization.

E: “It sounds like you have a lot of support from leadership.”

D: Jennifer Tejada, our CEO is so passionate about it and that it is something that we should all care about — it’s become the norm.

W: It’s an organizational prerogative where it’s not just a mandate to meet requirements. We have a CEO and executive that evangelize the benefits culturally and not just organizationally. The [executive team] are authentically engaged.

E: “What made you want to sponsor an initiative like Bridge School?

W: One of our organizational values is people first. So when we do a sponsorship or an investment, we look at how it reflects our company values. Look at — we allocate 1% of our employee time for volunteering (20 hours), and those opportunities are connected for us and also our remote employees. We just partnered with Habitat for Humanity. Our employee volunteer time is strategic for our values and we think about whether it reflects what we want to be building.

We wanted to asked how a company who isn’t prioritizing D&I might get started changing things towards including it in their hiring strategy — or even more generally. We think PagerDuty is doing a great job on both fronts, which was confirmed:

D: These conversations are happening in every company. You should listen to your employees. All they have to do is create a safe space for employees to speak up. Start there.

W: As you’re scaling, the challenges around building a people culture only become more complicated. If you build it now, it will pay off not only in terms of revenue, but also employee retention, and recruiting. You want your product to speak to more than a small subset of the world’s population. The growth mindset understands that even from a business perspective.

If you’re a company leading Diversity and Inclusion initiatives like PagerDuty, or you’re looking at where to get started we want to hear from you! Contact us today to learn more about how you can partner with Bridge:

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