For the better part of last year, Shaurya and I had the privilege of speaking and working closely with many HR & recruiting leaders at fast-growing tech companies. As you might suspect, an area that we discussed frequently was Diversity & Inclusion. The most commonly asked questions we received on this topic were along the lines of, “What products/services are out there solving this problem? What are our peers at other companies doing?” As such, we thought we’d compile some of the exciting products, approaches, and programs we’ve seen to date.
It’s important to note that this list is by no means comprehensive. Likewise, we do not have direct experience working with all of the organizations & services mentioned below, so we cannot claim to have personally vetted them. If you are working on something in this realm or know of anything missing below, please do let us know.
Paradigm is a diversity consulting firm that helps companies implement a diversity strategy. This means making changes within the organization to better attract, select, develop, and retain diverse talent. They also conduct workshops and ongoing advisory sessions to help with behavioral aspects of recruiting, like minimizing unconscious bias during the interview process. They have partnered with companies like Pinterest, Airbnb, and Slack.
Glassbreakers is both a personal and enterprise platform for P2P networking & mentorship among women. The software helps foster introductions and relationships between women with similar career goals.
Levo League is another P2P career mentorship platform that was initially geared for women. They also produce a lot of great career related content in the form of articles and videos, alongside a job marketplace.
Jopwell is a job marketplace for Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American professionals & students. Job seekers create a profile on the platform and can browse among opportunities or receive inbound interest from recruiters.
Blendoor is a Tinder-like job matching platform, like Jobr, for women, veteran, and underrepresented minority candidates. Similar to Jopwell, job seekers and recruiters have profiles on the platform and can discover/match with one another.
Textio uses AI to optimize the wording used in job listings. By choosing the right words and phrases, companies can avoid inherent bias that turns certain candidates away. For example, the blurb on their site suggests that using the word “rock star” in a job listing (e.g. “We’re looking for a rock star engineer”) draws more male candidates.
Culture Amp is an employee survey platform to assess culture and organizational health. They feed data and insights back to talent operations leaders, so they can make changes that impact all parts of the employee lifecycle. They’ve announced that they have partnered with Paradigm to develop an Inclusion survey to specifically assess diversity & inclusion in the workplace.
BUZZ is building an interviewing platform, starting with on-demand technical phone screens. Their platform helps companies execute gender and race blind interviews by abstracting these details away from both interviewers and hiring managers.
Platforms like Entelo and Gild scrape public data and leverage data science to help companies bring diverse candidates into their funnel that they would otherwise never meet. TalentIQ enriches pre-existing candidate data.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
Platforms like Greenhouse help recruiting teams improve diversity and eliminate bias through the recruiting funnel, via product features like structured interview scorecards, to ensure that interviewers are asking appropriate questions. In some cases, an ATS can also provide basic reporting on key diversity metrics. In other cases, companies are forced to do this manually.
HR Information Systems (HRIS)
Platforms like BambooHR similarly have reporting modules that report on basic diversity metrics on the current employee population.
We’ll address the sourcing, ATS, and HRIS landscapes in a later blog post.
One of the classic problems in HR is that data sits across silos: systems like an ATS (e.g. Greenhouse), HRIS (e.g. BambooHR), engagement (e.g. Culture Amp), performance (e.g. Small Improvements), payroll (e.g. ADP), equity (e.g. Solium), etc. all rarely talk to one another, and when they do, it’s usually on the basis of basic data movement from one to the next. For example, when a candidate gets hired in the ATS, a profile is generated for them in the HRIS.
In the scenario where HR data is integrated and does talk to each other, we open up a new realm of possibilities in the Diversity & Inclusion space. For example, we can assess the relationship between past promotion/compensation increases, employee performance, and general characteristics like gender and tenure — this can help us better understand deeper issues like institutional biases that affect the fair compensation or promotion of women.
Through integration & analytics, we can understand diversity & inclusion across candidate attraction, selection, development, and retention. This sort of full-stack analysis is fascinating. Visier is a prominent company in the workforce analytics space.
There are a variety of programs & communities that promote diversity from which companies can hire as well:
Girls Who Code is working to “close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors.” More specifically, they run programs to “educate, inspire, and equip high school girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in computing fields.” Companies can offer internships to their alumni here.
Girls Teaching Girls Who Code is a program where “Stanford women teach and inspire Bay Area high school girls to explore Computer Science and Engineering. Students learn coding basics, build exciting projects, and develop strong relationships with mentors in the field.” Companies can sponsor the program.
She’s Coding is an open-source project developed in cooperation with the documentary film CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap. They’ve launched a mentorship program and have an extensive library of content for folks interested in helping to bridge the gender gap.
Hackbright Academy is “an engineering school for women with a mission to increase female representation in tech through education, mentorship and community.” They offer a 12-week fellowship as well as part-time night courses. Companies can hire their alumni here.
Code2040 runs programs to “create access, awareness, and opportunities for top Black and Latino engineering talent.” They run a fellowship program for CS students and have an EIR program across the country for entrepreneurs. Companies can connect with their talent here.
Anita Borg Institute supports women in technology through a variety of events, programs, and thought leadership. They run the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing as well. Companies can partner with ABI here as well as many other opportunities for involvement.
Internal Goals & Programs
Finally, companies are implementing a broad range of internal goals & programs. For example, Pinterest announced they’re targeting a “full-time engineering hiring rate to 30 percent female and 8 percent minorities.” Likewise, they’re putting in place a policy “where at least one person from an underrepresented background and one female candidate is interviewed for any executive position.” Many companies are hiring or appointing Diversity & Inclusion officers / advocates as well to manage, track, and initiate these programs as well as lead workshops in-house.
We’ve seen numerous companies implement internal dashboards via BI tools (like Tableau, Looker, etc.) that pull data from cloud SaaS tools (like ATS, HRIS, etc.) to surface relevant diversity metrics. Generally, this is challenging: even when the data can be integrated, it’s often unclean and missing. In other words, one major issue with tracking diversity data is we often just don’t have it — small companies that don’t have EEO reporting requirements may not know about the Diversity & Inclusion related characteristics of their workforce. And through the recruiting process, the data is often not asked for upon the time of application. The data can be enriched via third-party sources (e.g. name databases to assess sex), but that which is often most accurate is self-reported by employees & applicants.
There are a variety of products, services, and programs that companies are leveraging to support Diversity & Inclusion within their organizations.There’s still much work to be done, and we’re looking forward to learning about new developments in this arena. If you’re working on something here or are interested in chatting further about this, we’d love to hear from you.