In recognition of its diversity and inclusion practices, legal practice management software developer Smokeball has been placed on the Great Place to Work Australia’s Best Workplaces™ for Women in 2023 List following its earlier rankings on the inaugural Great Place to Work Australia’s Best Workplaces™ in Technology, and the WRK+ Best Places to Work.
The company was awarded the listing for its dedication to cultivating an exceptional workplace for women, particularly in the traditionally male-dominated software development sector. The company is close to parity between genders and almost wholly female-led at its executive level.
Bianca Bowron-Cuthill, General Manager of Smokeball Australia, says this listing makes the company especially proud. “Diversity and inclusion are paramount in any industry, but with women making up only 29% of the tech sector, empowering all of our staff and setting them up for success in their professional and personal lives is paramount to us,” said Bianca. “We already disrupt the norm in the tech world as our staff is 42% female and our leadership team is almost all female, so equality will always be of utmost importance to us as a lived experience and a people and culture strategy”.
Earlier this year, Smokeball ranked number 16th in the large company category at the inaugural Great Place To Work Australia's Best Workplaces in Technology from hundreds of Certified Great Place To Work organisations, representing over 30,000 employee voices in Australia's information and technology sector.
Smokeball was also placed on the WRK + Best Places to Work list, securing the number 6 ranking from 101 Australian organisations to find the companies pioneering best practices in employee engagement through strong people and culture strategies. Smokeball received an overall engagement score of 94% from employees, scoring the company across 17 categories.
Some of the highest scores included diversity and inclusion which Smokeball staff scored 98-99% on all questions about how Smokeballers feel they are treated based on race, sexual orientation, gender, and age.
Smokeballers also scored the company highly for its wellbeing and mental health initiatives, including a wellbeing allowance of $1000 with no set criteria. It can be used for any activity that supports mental, financial, or physical well-being.
The company hosts several unique events throughout the year to invest in its passion for personal and professional advancement. One is an annual hackathon called ‘Shipit’, which provides a platform for Smokeballers to release their creative side and showcase their ideas on what the company could deliver to clients, and anyone can present their concept. In addition, an annual two-day event called ‘Fizz Bash’ explores new technology and cross-functional collaboration to resolve any potential challenges.
Judges noted that the CEO and divisional leaders' quarterly presentation of strategic plans to the whole company ensures all staff are on the same page with the company’s purpose and brand promise. This enables teams and individuals to establish their goals and objectives, supporting the company’s overall purpose.
Part of the goal-setting process is a ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ program which sees Smokeballers strive for greatness and which is celebrated when achieved,” says Hunter Steele, CEO of Smokeball. “We work in four monthly sprints rather than typical calendar quarters to help ensure staff have sufficient time to achieve their goals and provide the opportunity for continual feedback.
“In addition to goals, we employ various rituals to bring teams together, contributing to our employees’ sense of pride in Smokeball. Every month, we host two huddles focusing on reviewing our results and connecting as a company. We delve deep into our performance as a company and recognise the outstanding achievements of our people who help them succeed. It talks about our ‘make it happen’ value, which sees Smokeball celebrate wins, big and small. We even have a dedicated channel on Slack for all to share their shoutouts called ‘People love”, Hunter continued.
Smokeball has 155 employees in Australia based in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
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