According to our research women account for 47% of the labor force and 52.5% of the college-educated workforce. They earn more than 57% of undergraduate degrees and 59% of all master’s degrees. They earn 38% of Master of Business Administration and other generalist degrees and 49% of specialized master’s degrees. Yet, the underrepresentation of women, especially women of color, in leadership has become a significant issue for our society and will likely remain an issue if women continue to be marginalized by their gender and race. Since diversity, inclusion, and equity must begin during early and secondary education and ultimately continue to the workplace, it is paramount that institutions of higher learning and well-established companies form partnerships to alleviate gender inequality. Considering this, we have created a responsive web application to address the absence of women, and especially women of color, in leadership and executive roles.
What it does
BOOST is a D&I dashboard for managers that helps increase their accountability towards meeting D&I initiatives by actually visualising the work that they are doing in D&I and tracking that activity and potentially also suggesting future activities for them to increase their D&I presence. It not only helps the manager to achieve D&I goals but it is a great platform for an employee to showcase her/his work and contributions to the manager. We believe that no hard work should go unnoticed. All these details would be then visible to the manager to make necessary decisions. We have created two different access permissions for the application – manager and employee.
Managers can access the database of the employee in their company. They can add new employees who have joined then. They can make announcements in the announcement section. They can also view the achievements of the employee, the skills they have developed, the time they have worked and a lot more. They can check the employee’s achievements and make necessary actions like salary hike, promotion or congratulate them. To visualize these data, we have created a performance analysis section where the manager can gain good insights of his employee. As our primary aim is to make the manager meet D&I initiatives, we have created a D&I dashboard where the manager can see the diversity of his workplace and the suggestions of how to improve in the future.
Employee can view details of other employees who work with them in the All-Employees section. They can list their achievements in the Add Achievements section. They can also view the announcements made by the manager.
Our application is responsive. We have currently worked with three views – web, mobile and tablet.
How we built it
Both of us are sophomores. One of us have never been to a hackathon before and the other has attended one last week. We have no prior experience in building a management application which is also responsive. All we know is some programming language and front-end development. We thought of doing it from scratch and later figured out that time won’t suffice. So, with a little help from Google, we landed in Zoho creator page where we can build our application from scratch a little easier. As it is a low code platform, we didn’t get the necessity to write big chunks of code. But still it had its own challenges. Getting familiar with the environment only took us a day! We then used our little knowledge that we had about HTML, CSS and some programming constructs and gave life to our ideas.
We started with creating a database for the employees. Then we made an announcement section. The real problem came when we created the dashboard for measuring all the D&I metrics and displaying it in pivot graphs. Reading their documentation and of course Google (our best friend) helped us to overcome the challenges and come up with a great solution for a great problem. This app building tested our patience in different ways. And the thing which kept us going was the support from each other. Cheering each other when we think we will never make it was one thing which kept us going.
Challenges we ran into
The whole journey was a big challenge!!! This was an entirely new environment to work with. So obviously everything seemed ghostly!!! We had to literally try out everything there to find out what we actually need. This only took a long time.
Some of the major challenges that we faced were:
The first problem we came through was in the Announcement Section. The announcements were made but it never came up in the View Announcement section. So, we made some changes in the backend and solved it.
Giving different access permissions for the employee and manager was the next challenge we faced. We went through their documentation and learnt about various access permissions and finally made two access views.
As we were not familiar with Nodejs updating certain fields were challenging.
And finally, we really wanted to make a good UI but with the limited options in the platform we couldn’t make many changes.
Whatever challenge it maybe we are so proud that we could overcome everything!!! It was a great learning experience.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of everything we did because within a short period we got a grasp of this environment and built something which is addressing real world issues. The D&I dashboard that we have built is something that we are happy with. The best thing was the bonding which grew between us. Working late nights, debugging each other work and gathering all fragments and making it into a final product is something that we are proud of.
What we learned
This is the first time we heard that there is a platform like this to build management applications. We learned about Nodejs. This is the first experience to work with a low code platform and achieve this great. Patience and dedication are very much needed. Seeing our progress in the first day there was no confidence that we will be completing this work. But small progress is what gave form to a perfect final product!
What's next for BOOST
The first thing we would like to do is to work with UI. We also want to make more sensible recommendations to the manager about their D&I performance. We also want to add many sections where the manager can open opportunities for everyone to work and receive their needed skills. We also would like to make more meaningful D&I visualizations in the dashboard and automate the recommendations shown to the manager.
Instructions to try our app
As we used the free trail period of Zoho Creator platform we couldn't publish it publicly. Kindly follow the below steps to try our app.
Open the link provided under "Try it out" links.
Create an account in Zoho.
Check your mail for confirmation and create a new password.
Login with your credentials and now you will be able to access all the available sections (both manager and employee roles).
Of course these steps may annoy you!!! Since we were using the free version of the platform we couldn't make it public!!!:(