Santa Clara, CA
Summary: Aeris Group provides a structured program for women helping women advance careers. The program was designed for learning, networking, etc. Activities include lectures about techniques that women can leverage to succeed.
What products or services does your company produce?
Aeris is an IoT technology partner with a proven history of helping companies unlock the value of IoT. It does so by dramatically reducing costs, accelerating time-to-market, and enabling new revenue streams. Built from the ground up for IoT and road tested at scale, Aeris IoT Services are based on the broadest technology stack in the industry, spanning connectivity up to vertical solutions.
Aeris products include: Aeris IoT Services Platform; Aeris IoT Billing, Aeris IoT Connectivity; Aeris IoT Analytics; Aeris IoT Data Management; Aeris AerTrack
How long has your company been in business?
Aeris was founded in 1992. It has been involved with M2M and IoT since.
What specific diversity initiatives has your company undertaken? Please include documentation from company handbooks or policy manuals.
The Women of Aeris group provides a structured program for women helping women advance careers. Program was designed for learning, networking, etc. Activities include lectures about techniques that women can leverage to succeed. The program uses innovative solutions and ideas to meet the challenges for women in the workplace. For Aeris, this provided a much wider talent pool and created more diversity in the workplace.
Does your company offer training for current managers to ensure they are employing inclusionary hiring practices, and are they held accountable for doing so?
The launch of the recent Behavioral Interview Workshop covered all these areas. One of the components provides guidelines for effective hiring without cultural biases. The key of the program focused on ensuring a consistent process for assessing all hires. The focus is on identifying key competencies needed for each role, developing behavioral interview questions to assess for those competencies and using a common rating scale. The training also includes interview questions do’s and don’ts to help interviewers avoid any areas that may impact race, age, religion, or socio economic status.
Please detail the success of your diversity programs? Include statistics supporting an increase in minority or promotions in your response.
Aeris personnel represent multiple nationalities and religions. Our board is quite diverse, with women, people of color, with no signs of ageism. Aeris is proud of the fact that women hold many leadership positions, including Chief of Staff, VP of Marketing, Head of Talent, VP Strategy, multiple engineers, VP of Automotive Strategy, General Council, and numerous department heads.
From January 1, 2015 to present, our U.S. employee base has almost doubled in size. Even amidst this rapid growth, when the temptation would be to let diversity initiatives slide in order to fill much needed roles quickly, we have never allowed the diversity program to lose priority. Over those two years plus, we consistently have maintained a workforce that is more than 50% non-white. Additionally, we have increased the percentage of women from 22% of the employee-base to 27%. Given the rate of growth, that means that all the new hires and replacement positions were at least one-third women.
How do you measure the success of your diversity initiatives?
Our database allows us to store demographic information of our employees so we can monitor our diversity metrics closely.
Specifically when it comes to people of color, the LGBTQ community, the disabled and others – what specific steps have you taken to encourage applicants from these communities to seek employment with your company?
As a company, Aeris is color, gender, and age neutral. The company seeks a wide variety of individuals with vision, leadership skills, and entrepreneurial drive. Aeris designed its internship program to increase diversity (and therefore competitiveness) in the tech industry. Students from all schools, and students who identify with groups historically underrepresented in the industry – including but not limited to African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, female and transgender students – are all strongly encouraged to apply. Additionally, we have designed an internship program tailored specifically for diversity and lower income applicants. We recruit at black colleges, at women’s colleges, and at community colleges nationwide.
Aeris is in partnership with Management Leadership of Tomorrow (MLT). In fact, we have staff members on the MLT board. This is a training and coaching program for young people of color. MLT also has been used as recruiters.
How do you ensure representation of these groups in management and board-level positions?
Aside from all the above mentioned endeavors, Aeris has been willing to extend timelines for hiring in order to throw out a wider net so as to include more applicants from a more diverse field.
Do you have any initiatives to give back to underprovided communities? What about other minority groups?
Social impact is in the Aeris corporate culture, and is a response to the view that much of the technology of tomorrow is available today, but not too many of the people who can benefit most from it. To that end, our head of Social Impact is on the company’s executive staff and reports to the CEO.
We have several projects with NGOs and social entrepreneurs working in sub-Saharan Africa, including ones to facilitate better access to healthcare services, to bring solar-powered electricity to rural communities without access to the electrical grid, to ensure access to drinking water, and to improve agriculture. Closer to home, as noted below, our social impacts efforts including programs to bring the technical skills necessary to succeed in an “Internet of Things” world to students from underserved communities near our offices in Santa Clara and Chicago.
Our goal is to have every employee in the company involved, in one way or another, in these projects, and we don’t expect to profit financially from these projects.
Are there other initiatives your organization supports to help equip people in disadvantaged communities to better compete for tech-related careers?
A collaboration between Aeris and San Jose State University (SJSU) Computer Science Professor Dr. Melody Moh was established in order to provide an introduction to IoT to SJSU students. This collaboration helped promote diversity and gender equality in the technology workforce. Additionally, as part of the program, a hackathon event was established in which course credit was given.
Aeris continually participates in social sector work, including workshops, to introduce IoT to those who might not have had any interaction with this area of the business world. These activities provided participants with the opportunity to interact with high-level engineers. The end result was that several engineers were hired as a direct result of these programs. More events are scheduled with a wide variety of outside groups, including Girls in Tech and Year Up.
Other elements include mentoring programs and yearly donations to Working Partnerships USA, who provide good jobs in poor communities. In many of these events, Aeris staff participated as volunteers.
What specific plans are in place at your organization to help you become even more diverse in the future?
Continuing what we do and implement new initiatives. We have a diversity recruiting strategy in place (posting on diversity career boards, participation in women in technology programs, diversity focused campaigns on Glassdoor, partnership with MLT, etc.)