Creating a Culture of Belonging in a Fiercely Honest Cybersecurity Environment

Inclusion. Appreciation. Respect. Self-esteem — and don’t forget fun! These needs, as ancient as our species, are deeply rooted. Psychologists like Abraham Maslow tell us these drives are vital to a meaningful, satisfying life. So we look to our workplace and colleagues to help discover a sense of accomplishment and uniqueness through a culture of belonging. 
 
The value of working in a culture of belonging can be vividly summed up by those who have had the opposite experience (as unfortunately so many have in the past). A culture of belonging is essential, and often as pivotal to success as cybersecurity talent itself. So how can a company create a culture of belonging, and how is that measured and quantified?
 
No question, Area 1 Security employees battle in a tough-minded universe of phishing and cyberthreats, characterized by gritty nastiness and no-holds-barred online crime: breach, theft, deception and impersonation are the fuel of phishing attacks. How then, can we still maintain a culture that’s nurturing, authentic and, frankly, happy.
 
Area 1 has been singled out as all of that, designated a Great Place to Work-Certified™ Company for the third year in a row. A Great Place to Work relies on a data-driven methodology to make its certification selections, using validated employee feedback. Certification means, simply, that Area 1 employees have reported a consistently positive workplace experience here.

A Culture of Belonging That’s Diverse and Nonconforming

In our market landscape, motivation leads to inspiration and innovation, which lead in turn to revenue. How does a company inspire employees to become partisans and devotees capable of moving the mission forward? What are the traits that Area 1 looks for to enhance abilities and propel the existing team even higher?

For one, we don’t stress conformity and fitting in, pressures that can all-too-often stifle initiative and innovation. Instead, we look for diversity and authenticity, At Area 1, “different” does not mean that a person is a “non-fit.” We are actively looking for original thinkers; the interview process bears that out.

It’s well-known that most workplace interviews favor extroverts. But a diverse team by definition needs a variety of types. The notion that only “smart people think fast on their feet” is just that — a notion.

Area 1’s culture reflects a commitment to train leaders, recruiters, sourcers, and hiring managers to tackle affinity bias, that stifling preference for certain types who have a comfortable similarity and familiarity to interviewers, who then include them at higher rates than others. Not only is this manifestly unfair, it makes for a monochrome culture that limits originality, agility, and success.

Additionally, Area 1’s leaders are creative in how they encourage participation, making space for those who need a bit more time to think or get comfortable before they speak up. In line with this, the company sends out preparatory reading information before events, meetings, and workshops to support every person’s organization and participation style. If you allow people to process and participate, you get better business input, and people get the chance to show up, and reveal what they can do to really shine.

Flexibility to work remotely is another element in a culture of belonging, because with the right structure and communication resources, remote employees can work holistically alongside the entire team and contribute uniquely to the mission. With 48% of employees working remotely, Area 1 celebrates geographic dispersity, maximizing different modes of communication to creatively share work experiences.

Even after-hours, the focus is on impact and inclusion. Recreational and outside-of-work activities (whether it’s backyard BBQs, overnight adventures, or volunteering) should cater to a variety of backgrounds; the positive impact of inclusion is often more relevant than formal participation numbers.

There’s a lot more to learn about why Area 1 keeps being honored as a Great Place to Work. That would include our groundbreaking anti-phishing technology, which Gartner has recommended as critical to an email security architecture that protects against cyberattacks.

In a fiercely honest cybersecurity environment, Area 1 is committed to a culture of belonging, with the ability to forge a team that is capable of great efforts and feats of cooperation. If Area 1 sounds like the kind of workplace that can make you feel included — and inspired — check out our job postings: https://www.area1security.com/about/careers/.

To learn how Area 1 Security stops the phishing threats that traditional defenses miss, read our blog.