DE&I: what these companies are doing right.

Get your organization inspired by some of the practices these companies have implemented around DE&I📝

When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion anywhere- no one’s got it perfectly down pat. What some organizations do have are certain practices and strategies in place that can make even minor significant impacts. Take a look at what these companies are doing and jot down some of their approaches below📝

P.S. All of these companies are hiring! Feel free to check them out👇🏾

Equal pay matters, especially when you look at the racial/gender wealth gap in America. Did you know that Black women are paid 63 cents for every dollar paid to white men?

Howard Development & Consulting (HD&C) is a web development firm providing agencies with high-end WordPress and custom PHP solutions. HD&C mitigates the infamous inequality of compensation amongst coworkers by using this simple, transparent formula below:

Equity means transparent, predictable and equal pay for everyone who performs the same role. We provide equal pay to everyone on our development team, with a transparent starting rate and a simple formula for career advancement. Everyone on our team receives two revenue-sharing payments per year, based on a transparent formula that is the same for everyone. As the company succeeds, you succeed.

Nepotism and inequality in the workplace is really not a shocker to most people. In fact, it’s so prevalent in the workplace that it’s pretty much expected. The approach HD&C has taken to create equity in the workplace by using a transparent compensation and career advancement formula is one great way to build confidence and trust in employees.

Diversity needs to be a priority starting at the foundation of the company.

Botany empowers and grows great developers and managers by creating growth opportunities that help build habits and track improvement. Although they’re only a team of 5, they know the dangers of scaling without making diversity a priority early on.

Our company was founded by 5 white guys, so it's very important to us that not be the seed for our first hires. Although we need to quickly hire developers right now, we're choosing not to resort to Indeed, Vettery, etc. and other sites that have a much larger audience reach that will primarily bring in more white males.

Superhuman, the fastest email experience ever made, has the same practices around intentionally hiring for diversity:

We commit to evaluating a diverse group of candidates for each and every role. We intentionally seek out and interview candidates in groups that are underrepresented.

Many companies, especially start ups, start off by hiring friends, and people within their network. Diversity gets lost in this process because the priority is getting people in as quickly as possible so they can scale. Diversity becomes a priority only after they’ve grown to a point where they have the time to think about it.

They hire diverse candidates, but then struggle to retain them because they’re expecting the new minority of the workplace to adapt to the culture, systems, and policies that have been built and established without them in mind.

Make diversity a priority at the beginning. Be intentional in your hiring practices, and include diversity as a requirement in your recruiting and vetting process.

Being able to identify with people at work makes a difference.

Shopify focuses on making commerce better by allowing merchants to use their platform to manage every aspect of their business. One of Shopify’s approach to creating a sense of belonging at work was by creating Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s).

We have a number of initiatives that work on fostering a sense of belonging so all employees can feel included, valued, and heard. An example of one of those initiatives is Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).
ERGs are employee groups that form based on a shared identity like race and ethnicity, gender, abilities, or sexual orientation, and help elevate the voices and experiences of their respective communities. ERGs are more than social groups: they have the potential to not only guide and contribute to creating an inclusive work environment through fostering belonging but can also act as a resource to impact business objectives.

Part of creating a safe space is by intentionally hiring people who come from diverse backgrounds. There’s a sense of relief and security when you’re able to speak to, and build a relationship with people who can resonate with you in some way, shape, or form. When you’re the only one who can identify with yourself, it’s lonely and stressful.

By intentionally forming groups for underrepresented people to rely on at any point in time, it can make coming into work that much better. Those groups create even more value when they’re also used to build a more inclusive work environment by listening to those underrepresented voices and applying their feedback.

Regardless of how ‘woke’ an environment seems, there is always more to learn and be reminded of.

HubSpot is a marketing, sales, and service software that is helping businesses grow. When it comes to learning and development in the DE&I sector, they make it mandatory that all HubSpot employees participate in seminars and trainings.

We also take care to make sure that every HubSpotter, no matter their background, is educated on the importance of inclusivity and diversity. Each employee must go through regular bias training targeting racism, sexism, ageism, and other forms of discrimination in our Commitment to Respect Each Other (CREO) course.

Additionally, we provide workshops and trainings for all employees, as well as specific sessions for managers, on anti-racism, allyship, and how to be an ‘upstander.’

There is significance in making things like anti-racism trainings mandatory, and consistent. Employers should be hiring people who want to make work a happy and healthy experience for all of their peers. Participating in regular trainings on how to be anti-bias is a way to keep people informed and in-line. When attending these trainings becomes optional, and people don’t attend, think about how that must feel to the underrepresented minorities of the workplace. There’s this thought of, “Why is learning how to be inclusive of someone like me not important to {x people who chose not to attend}?”

There are many types of diversity, including how people choose to engage at work.

Wistia, working to make business more human with video, encourages all of their employees to bring their full selves to work.

We encourage individuality and bringing your full self to work, our hilarious and entertaining all-hands meetings are usually evidence of that. But we also emphasize the opt-in nature of our fun/creative culture. Folks who prefer to keep to themselves add value too and they shouldn't feel bad for working however they are most comfortable. Sometimes it's just as great to watch the fun from a distance.

Accept that not everyone is like you. No one should feel the need to force themselves out of their comfort zones for the sake of proving that they’re a team player. Allow people to engage and work in a way that suits them best.

Aside from diversity, employers need to keep equity and inclusivity in mind from the time they’re writing a job posting, to actually recruiting. This is especially true when companies decide to think about hiring one of their first diverse candidates for a very hard to fill role.

“Job requirements:

-15+ years of experience

-Led numerous engineering teams

-CS degree”

Employers need to take a step back and look at history. How many Black/Brown/POC are in tech now? After they discover that the number is incredibly small in comparison to white males, think about how many Black/Brown/POC were in tech 15+ years ago? Now if there weren’t many in tech that long ago, how many people from those underrepresented communities got to lead numerous engineering teams? Let’s also talk about CS degrees. The poorest communities in America are Black and Brown communities. How many were/are able to afford to go off to a university and obtain a 4 year CS degree? Maybe some people from those communities resorted to cheaper, yet still effective and legitimate routes, like bootcamps.

This isn’t to say that Black/Brown/POC CS graduates with 15+ years of experience in programming and leadership don’t exist, but your chances of having an overwhelming amount of candidates to choose from is slim.

Starry, a fast, accessible and affordable internet provider, is thinking about equity in hiring by creating initiatives that will provide training and job opportunities to underrepresented communities.

Later this year, we’ll be launching our first apprenticeship training program targeted at providing job and training opportunities to underrepresented communities. Additionally, we’re expanding our cooperative engineering program to develop relationships with a wider array of universities and engineering programs including HBCUs.

Provide mentorship and up skilling opportunities to underrepresented people who have the potential to be that Senior or team lead that you’re looking for. Don’t resort to the same old job platforms that will bring in the same crowd your org is already full of. Be willing to do the work of building leaders.

One of the most important pieces to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive company is employers being open to getting their feelings hurt.

Moz, building the best-in-class SEO software, has created a space where employees are encouraged to be transparent about issues and improvements that need to be made within the company.

It's not enough to hire people from underrepresented groups. We also need to ensure they feel like they have a sense of belonging once they join our team. Our culture must be inviting to and supportive of everyone. Transparency is one of our core values — that means creating an environment where people feel comfortable speaking up, giving their perspective on an issue, and knowing their voice will be valued and respected.

Welcoming transparency means welcoming negative feedback, no matter how bad it is. Change only happens when you listen, understand, and accept the reality of things, even when they’re different from your perspective and experiences. No matter if only 1 person is having a hard time, it’s important to address the problem head on and fix it. Everyone should be able to have a great experience at work, not just the majority of the company.

Welcome transparent feedback. My advice is to welcome it through anonymous surveys that go out every few weeks. Don’t just get feedback, also take the actionable steps necessary to do better.

Employers publicly stating their stance on the topics of equality and justice is important. Being loud in public shows that employers are willing to sacrifice potential business opportunities for the greater good, and for the well-being of their employees.

Drizly, an alcohol delivery service app, is willing to speak up even if it has a negative impact on their business.

Leadership at Drizly emphasizes transparency, courage, and vulnerability. It's important to leaders that the employee population has visibility into strategy and decision making. This takes place through widely shared company reports and weekly company meetings led by executives. Our leaders stand up for social impact initiatives even if they are at odds with business impact.

ROI Solutions, providing technology solutions and a best-in-class CRM, has a similar practice. ROI demands respect on both sides of the business- internally, and from their clients.

As we help our client partners, we are also committed to fostering a healthy and respectful corporate culture. Both internally, and when interacting with clients and vendors, ethical conduct and mutual respect are mandatory.

Resilient Coders, a bootcamp training and paying POC from underserved communities to code, has great quote around how they value their employees.

Our people come first. We believe a company's output or product is just a vehicle through which you can sustain a company that sustains its people; in other words, work should work for the worker. 

Knowing that your employer values your life, and views you as more than just a worker, but as an actual human being, is comforting. Employee’s aren’t meant to be used as objects, and driven into the ground for the sake of business. Company values and code of conduct shouldn’t only be necessary for internal employees, but also for the clients employers decide to interact with.