How to Recruit, Retain, and Advance Women to Leadership with Silvija Martincevic of Deputy

On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks with Silvija Martincevic, CEO of Deputy. The topic of discussion is how to recruit, retain, and advance women to leadership roles.

Deputy is a global platform for managing hourly workers, which helps with scheduling, communication, engagement, and onboarding. The company focuses on the 70% of the world’s workers who are not yet living in the digital age. Martincevic highlights that there is a significant focus on knowledge workers in recruiting, but not much focus on hourly workers. This is an issue, as they make up a substantial portion of the workforce.

Martincevic discusses the challenges of recruiting women, noting that women may face biases and stereotypes when applying for jobs. She suggests that companies need to be more proactive in creating opportunities and reaching out to women. Companies can also partner with schools and universities to encourage more women to pursue STEM fields and other industries where women are underrepresented. Martincevic emphasizes that companies need to create inclusive cultures and offer flexible work arrangements to attract and retain women.

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Silvija Martincevic
CEO Deputy

CEO, COO and Founder in e-commerce and fintech with 20+ years of experience building, growing and scaling global businesses, including Affirm and Groupon. Board Director and advisor at mission-driven companies including Lemonade and Kiva. Passionate about building companies, growing high performing teams and helping underserved communities to thrive through technology.

Silvija is CEO and Board Director of Deputy. Deputy is a global leader in smart scheduling and workforce management for shift workers and businesses. Deputy's leading software solution streamlines communication, scheduling, tasks, and timesheets for more than 1.3 million shift workers and 330,000 businesses in over 100 countries.


How to Recruit, Retain, and Advance Women to Leadership with Silvija Martincevic of Deputy

William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup and you are listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today we have Sylvia on from Deputy, and our topic today is how to recruit, retain, and advance women to leadership. So Sylvia, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and deputy?asdfsadf

Silvija Martincevic: Of course. It would be my pleasure and thank you so much for having me today, William.

Sure. My name is Sylvia Martin Chevi, and I am the c e o of deputy. Deputy [00:01:00] is a global platform for managing hourly workers. And so we help with scheduling and communication, engagement, onboarding we manage it all and really, when you look at our platform, We sit at the heart of the labor market and we focus on the 70% of world’s workers who are not knowledge workers, right?

But who you know, are hourly workers, and we wanna bring those hourly workers into the digital age. And we do that today across 300,000 businesses. And our technology helps over 1.3 million hourly workers to be more productive and happy at work.

William Tincup: And how many countries, I think you might have mentioned how many countries y’all in?

Silvija Martincevic: Yeah we serve businesses and shift workers across 100 countries, so it’s a global

William Tincup: platform that is fantastic. There’s so many products that are [00:02:00] I’ve studied work tech for a number of years, let’s just say. And there’s so much of his focus on that of 30%. The knowledge workers side of the salaried side.

And so it’s just nice to see someone not only just tackling hourly, but tackling hourly from a global perspective is beautiful because again, especially with the pandemic, you can be anywhere. And a call center employee and you’re now, you’re a call center employee and you’re not in the box.

You’re at home, but you’re in 15 different countries and it’s okay, we have to pay those folks, and, all the other stuff too. So just, I love it. I love what y’all do. Yeah,

Silvija Martincevic: I, I think. You and I and many knowledge workers like us have benefited a lot over the last decade because of the technology that helped us more engaged.

A hundred percent Zoom and Slack and LinkedIn. But when you think about who is building that technology for the world’s 2.7 billion hourly [00:03:00] workers there’s not many companies. Yeah. And we. We obsess about that universe of workers, and we wanna help them build better and more productive and engaged working environment for them.

William Tincup: So a couple weeks ago I was on a podcast with Donald Knights. He’s a C H R O at Greenhouse. And he asked me a question. So I was the host, but I was, he asked me a question, he said, he goes, what’s the root word of allyship? And I was like, ally? He’s no, it’s all. All conversations, all people all the time.

And I’m like, first of all, it’s just fantastic. You just trademark that cuz that’s just beautiful. But it’s, as we talk about our topic, you’ve got you’ve got obviously a great reference point in your own career we could obviously, go through your own career, but you’ve also.

Been in other situations where you’ve seen other women flourish and probably other women or even maybe yourself, not flourish. So let’s start with the recruiter, retain and Advanced [00:04:00] Women in Leadership. So let’s start with the first part. How do we recruit women? What’s, what are some of the barriers?

What do you think we’re doing wrong? If magic wand, I have one actually. If you, if I gave you a magic wand, like what would you fix as it relates to just on the recruiting side of women.

Silvija Martincevic: William, this is such an interesting time for labor markets, period, and for women in at work in particular.

We have seen the ti, the tightest labor markets ever in the history. There is jobs that have been open for months and quarters and they’re not getting filled. And we have also seen. Especially for women that more than a million women left the workforce since February, 2020, and Yep. And what we saw is that that flexibility at work is incredibly important, right? As women do tend to take more of the [00:05:00] caregiving responsibilities at home. And many of them, given the fact that there is no Childcare options available or elderly care options available for them. Many of them have stayed at home.

And so I think that the more flexibility we bring into workplaces more women, we’re gonna be able to attract. Flexibility is key for women workers. The second thing that I think we many of us realized post pandemic is that Employees want more than, c e o, that’s Una author, authoritarian leader.

Leading CEO as the dictator.

William Tincup: Hopefully we’re killing that off. Slowly. Slowly. But,

Silvija Martincevic: But. We’re seeing that many employees and women in particular, they want leaders that display empathy in their leadership style and inclusivity rather than, relying on authoritative approaches and so [00:06:00] we know the more inclusive and collaborate collaborative workplaces we build, more women will be attracted to be a part of those cultures.

And and I was gonna say, to your point around to your point around, How can we recruit more of them? I think it’s as much of a recruiting problem as it is a retention problem. Yeah.

William Tincup: Yeah. And again, with flexibility, empathy and inclusivity. If you are not, if you’re not flexible, so like we’ll just deal with the return to the office as a concept.

And and it’s five days in a box, you’re just not going to attract. So you’ve already put up a gate at the beginning of that discussion. You’re just not going to attract 52% of the population. Which is absurd to me because you’d wanna be open to as many people so that you create a great talent pool, right?

And you create a great funnel and get the most qualified people and all that [00:07:00] stuff. But just something as simple as And not being flexible, and again, in the way that you work, in the way that you approach work. I love that. That also kinda gets back to job descriptions and career career sites and employer branding and things like that.

How do we put ourselves out there in front of people what have you, because you serve in the an hour, the hourly market. What have you seen from like clients in terms of. How they position flexibility or how they position or, not empathy or inclusivity.

Silvija Martincevic: Yeah. We have seen really wonderful ways that employers of hourly workers are using platform like that PD and many other platforms, right?

Today about 50% of employees that are hourly workers are women. And and so what we’ve seen with employers is to say, you know what? Forget about the eight hour shift. How about a four hour shift? How about, one person does the morning, four hours, after you take your kids to work, perhaps you [00:08:00] work, for.

To two o’clock and then another person takes two o’clock to six o’clock. And so having these almost mini shifts we see more and more of that happening on our platform. We are also seeing that a lot more employers are using what I’m gonna call smart scheduling. We know. Oh, nice. Yeah. Yeah. As humans, we have.

Unintentional biases, right? If you are human, you have unconscious bias, right? Of course. Like that. That’s just, we just all need to accept it. We all carry biases, which is, the lens through which we look at the world, and so we have built this smart scheduling tooling that a lot of our employers are using because they’re like, you know what?

I don’t want my manager. To schedule employees because how do we know that won’t introduce bias? So we’re seeing a lot of more technology driven scheduling that helps eliminate that bias, that may, unconscious bias that may exist. And then the third [00:09:00] thing we have seen, which is really cool, is.

A lot of employers are using our, it’s called Shift Pulse. At the end of every shift, employers want to know how does that hourly worker feel, oh, that’s cool, and want to, they want to get feedback. What worked in today’s shift? What didn’t work? How is your manager? And we all know when we are heard as employees we feel belonging and we feel inclusion.

And I think all of those things have been helping let’s see. A more inclusive work. Yeah. Place.

William Tincup: Well, again, you look at, and you look at companies that are in the hourly market that don’t have that, right? So like you put a against B for just a second one has smart scheduling has an available, the ability for people to, hey, life happens, need to be able to shift around things and move shifts, et cetera.

And in companies that don’t have that, versus companies that also have a [00:10:00] love. I love, actually, the pulse is really important to me because it’s not, four months later. It’s not this delayed response of it’s like, how’d you do? Like I love those things.

They’re kind more mood things at airports where you go through and it’s like, how was your experience? I liked I’m sure a lot of people don’t like those things, but I like ’em cuz it’s you know what? I had a good experience alright there. Or if I had a bad experience okay there I feel better.

Again, I, it probably is a placebo. It doesn’t do anything. But I love how the ability to ask somebody right after their shift and get that data in immediately. So if something is, again, if something terrible happened you can actually, as a manager, as a leader, you can then do something like, you can’t act like you didn’t know.

You now know now it gives you some actual intel. What you can’t do. So I love that.

Silvija Martincevic: Yeah, and you know what’s interesting is that standard engagement [00:11:00] surveys that we as knowledge workers get, that get sent every few months, don’t work for shift workers because on average hourly workers switch jobs every six to eight months.

And so realtime insight for employers is really critical. So they can adapt, so they can, be smarter about retaining their workers. And workers love to tell you, just as you said, you love to press that button button at the airport. The smiling face workers love to tell you what’s happening in your workplace.

And frankly, we now collect that data. Given the, almost half a billion of shifts that we have scheduled today on our platform. We collect data now at societal level on how are hourly workers feeling, and we can use that data to, drive better behaviors. Because if we see that if you offer smart scheduling and you offer these different tools for your workers, you have better engagement, right?

And more retention. And We could use the data to [00:12:00] influence behavior within the shift workplaces, which, which I hope can drive the creation of better

William Tincup: work environments. Again, as you mentioned, it’s it’s not just the. The feeling or the idea of being listened to this is, that’s real.

You, you are being listened to. And again, everyone likes that. Not just women, but everyone actually likes to be listened to and heard. Let’s pivot and talk a little bit about retention of women leaders. I’ll say this years ago as an analyst, I was in a. I was in Vegas at a meeting and the CEO setting up all the executives were setting up.

It was a large company. It was about 3 billion company in our space. And and it was a bunch of dudes. So no one, he asked a question, a CEO asked a question and said, okay, what do you fire away? There’s no one else. There’s pr, no one’s else is in the room. Just what do y’all, what questions do you have for us?

And no one will say anything. So he looked at me, he goes, I know you have it. I know you have opinion, so what are you going? Said, why am I looking at seven white guys? [00:13:00] And it was uncomfortable for a minute. And he said, he goes, you know what? I’m not gonna give you excuses. All I’ll tell you is that next year it won’t be seven white guys.

Oh. Okay. So then he calls me on Saturday. I’m at my kid’s soccer game and I see his, I see him. I thought he butt dialed me, so I like literally looked down my phone. I’m like, huh. So I answered, I’m like, Hey, what’s going on? He goes, okay. So what I couldn’t say is I started a Women in Leadership program and I can’t remember the number of folks that he had, and they got to a certain level, VP or svp, and they all got poached.

They were in Boston and they all got poached. He goes, so here’s what, again, I couldn’t say that cause it would sound like I was mansplaining or excuse making or whatever. He goes, I’m just gonna quadruple the number of women that put in the program. They’re not gonna be able to poach ’em all cuz we’ve got great women in our company already that can be promoted and I’m gonna go out and bring in more women.[00:14:00]

So that’s why I said, I’m not gonna make excuses, I’m just gonna tell you it’s gonna be different. And to his credit, the next year it was different. So it was, is, it was a funny story. It’s okay. He, in his mind, he tried, he just, he didn’t know the scope, he didn’t know, he didn’t understand how at a certain point they’re, the women are gonna be so talented that other companies are also gonna see this.

They’re so talented and they’re gonna, they’re head hunters. Executive search firms are gonna come and get them. Okay, that’s fine. But, I’m fascinated with, okay, what does it take to actually retain women today? Like in, just not nothing about Deputy in particular, you’ve had a wonderful career so far.

What made you stick around? What, what keep kept you from moving or doing other things and being engaged in what you were doing?

Silvija Martincevic: William, thank you so much for sharing that story and I think that story is very, Similar to how I see the [00:15:00] world. I think that, some of the challenges with attracting and retaining, promoting women, don’t necess necessarily come from people being bad people, right?

It comes from best intentions, right? It comes from best intentions, best efforts, and and that’s my belief. And so the more that we can do to be persistent, we know success is not gonna be achieved overnight. If you look ATS, tech CEOs only about 15 1 5, 15% of them are women today, right?

I’m one of the rare 15% that happen to be women, right? But it’s 2023. It’s not 1980s. How are you that low? We have seen progress and I am, I have to say I’m, I am optimistic that it starts from being aware, to you as you described to your leader, being aware, and then from awareness comes desire to do better, because we’re all good people [00:16:00] that wanna do better.

I don’t think any of us have to. Convince ourselves anymore that it’s good to have a diverse group of people rather than an ex chamber.

William Tincup: If we’re still having that discussion, we should probably have another discussion because,

Silvija Martincevic: right, and so I, I think we’re past all of that now. It’s a question of how do we make consistent progress?

Because it’s a, success is not gonna be achieved overnight. It’s gonna take a consistent effort of, Of education. Of awareness of education and then action. And to me, when I look at, when I look at Deputy, just to put to put a couple of points there on Deputy today we serve, 50% of the customers we serve are women.

It’s really important that we understand those customers. Oh, wow. The deputy team, 75% of our executive team are women. Seven five. Oh, that’s fantastic. Which is, you don’t see companies [00:17:00] that look that way, but in the future, when you ask yourself who are gonna be the winning companies, it is gonna be the companies that are listening to their consumers.

And so many of the consumers happen to be women. Yep. And I think we need to continue to shape our organizations to look like the customers that we serve. Not for any kind of, what should I say?

William Tincup: Yeah. You’re not doing it for philanthropic reasons. Philanthropic, exactly.

Silvija Martincevic: There’s, it’s not a not-for-profit. Cause you want profit. Yeah. The

William Tincup: profit it’s also what’s really wonderful about what you’re peeling back is it’s the customers of your customers too. It’s like y’all have customers y’all’s yeah. Texas clo you and all. Sorry about that. But y’all have customers, but your customers have customers.

So it’s like you’re looking at not only your employees and them being able to see something that they can be proud of. In y’all’s leadership team, you’re also showing your customers what it looks like [00:18:00] and enabling them. Again, I love the way that you put AWA awareness, education, and action. Again, it, all three of these things are critical for both recruiting and retaining women in leadership.

So awareness of wherever you are on your journey. If I understand that correctly. Okay. Great education. Okay. Where should we be on our journey? And that’s okay to kinda oh, wherever you are like, it is what it is. And in action. So let’s talk about both all three of those, if you don’t mind.

And we can do it quickly, but it’s just how do you become aware or how do you teach. Because you’ve got young, you’ve got young managers, you’ve got young folks, both male and female and everything else. You’ve got folks that need to learn what this should look like. So how do we, how do you teach awareness?


Silvija Martincevic: I think that goes back to what I mentioned earlier, which is you gotta have the right culture, right? It’s safe to make mistakes, right? Again, we are all human beings. We all have [00:19:00] biases and I think the way that awareness and education happens is you need to foster the kind of culture where it’s okay to make a mistake and it’s okay to provide feedback and to coach and feedback, right?

Is not just saying you did this wrong. Feedback means saying, Hey, you did this wrong, but perhaps next time, this is how you could approach it. I’ve had so many managers in my life, I don’t know about you William, but they would provide feedback just. It would be really criticism. It would not be feedback.

That’s right.

William Tincup: Yeah. No. It’s thinly veiled feedback.

Silvija Martincevic: Thank you for criticizing, but are you in this with me? Can you coach me? Because if I knew how to do it better, I would.

William Tincup: Yeah. Yeah. It’s not like I was trying to do bad, it’s whatever the bad outcome is. Some of that criticism is it’s also, them internalizing other things that they’ve got going on and then rendering it to the person that’s in front of them.

Silvija Martincevic: That’s exactly right. And so the kinda culture where there’s [00:20:00] a culture of, feedback, a culture of coaching, a culture of making mistakes, but learning from them, right? Because if you have the kind of culture where mistakes are prohibited, forget about innovation, forget about constant progress, right?

You need to build a kind of culture where it’s gonna be safe, right? To have these conversations, and then on action. One thing that I wanna make sure that I pinpoint is action is on all of us. Yes. And that includes the women too.

William Tincup: I had a podcast about alpha females, and I literally I learned the, I learned so much that podcast cause I’m like, I didn’t even know it was, I didn’t know there was a thing.

I’m such an idiot. I’m like, say what? They’re like, oh yeah, absolutely. I’ve been in an organization that the guest was saying, I’ve been in organizations where it wasn’t men. Like you’d think the people that were holding me back were men. That’s pretty easy target. He was like, no, is the women.

I’m like, no, human [00:21:00] beings

Silvija Martincevic: aren’t. Come on. None of us are supportive. Yeah. And so when I say action, you know the bit that’s exciting to me is that this literally stat just came up fresh, off the press this morning. We’re seeing that in the first two months of 2023, there is an all time high of 31% of new CEOs in the US were women.

31% of new CEOs in the US were women. And as I read that, you know what I’m hoping that stat is telling us is that the million women that left the workplace after covid

William Tincup: Or got fired in the first round or second round of Covid. So

Silvija Martincevic: Exactly. Yeah. And hope that there are.

Perhaps they took some time to to reset and they’re coming back with Yeah. They’re part of this change, right? They, [00:22:00] I hope so. I hope you’re right. And so that’s my wish is that more women that have left workplace come back and that they want to build the kind of, the kind of environments where everybody

William Tincup: thrives.

I love that. Last question. I know we gotta go, but it’s, I need to ask you, what does success look like? When we talk about this topic, how to recruit, retain, and advance. We didn’t even get to advance, but we’ll do that next time. Women in to leadership. What does success look like for you?

Like when you look out at it, like you just gave a wonderful stat but as you look at it like, okay, we have this podcast next year. How do we know that we’ve reached, how do we know that we’ve actually moved the ball forward?

Silvija Martincevic: I think long term success, the way that I would describe it is I have a daughter, Isabella, who is eight years old.

I hope that the time, in 15 years when she enters workforce or so, I hope that this is no longer a topic on podcasts. I hope that right [00:23:00] over 50% of women are CEOs of top companies that the pay gap is it’s not a thing. We don’t need to talk about it. And that this is just a standard.

It just is

William Tincup: that mirrors, that actually mirrors a lot of what I’ve heard from other constituents, other groups of people. It’s when you’ve reached there when you’re not talking about it. It’s just not even, it’s assumed that you’re doing that. Like you don’t have to have a conversation about it.

So it’s Right. I think that’s beautiful. Sylvia, I could talk to you forever, but you have a job apologies. I’ll have you, I’ll have you on next, the next time we’re gonna talk about internal mobility, cuz I think there’s a whole thing to impact with just how to actually be a great mentor ally and how to actually help.

Women succeed in the workplace which we just didn’t have time to, to get into, but it’s a good thing. I appreciate your time. Thank you for coming on the podcast.

Silvija Martincevic: Thank you so much for discussing this very important [00:24:00] topic.

William Tincup: A hundred percent. And thanks for everyone listening to the podcast.

Until next time.

The RecruitingDaily Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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