"I am a strong believer in listening and learning from others." Ruth Bader Ginsburg
This statement by the late Justice Ginsburg reflects my philosophy and purpose in connecting with others to facilitate growth. Evolving and improving our processes means we must be willing to observe gaps in our current ways of thinking and be open to listen and accept feedback from those around us. I’ve learned this over time, a belief I try to channel in my personal and professional life, and what I routinely talk about with my two daughters and teams.
This belief—choosing to listen and learn from others and examine our own ways of doing things to grow—is central to me as the executive sponsor of the DEI Task Force at Scoop.
With the great RBG’s quote in mind, building an inclusive community means pausing to listen and learn from others to evolve our policies and inclusion practices. In line with one of Scoop’s core values of being open, honest, and direct, I want to share our task force’s journey toward creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture where all employees feel safe, respected, and a sense of belonging.
In sharing this post, I hope that others can feel empowered to share their own learnings so we can all continue to evolve.
Why am I here talking about DEI?
I joined Scoop as VP of Customer Success in 2019 after spending many years at ADP. As you might imagine, joining a fast-paced, innovative, collaborative San Francisco-based start-up was quite different from my years at an organization with more than 50,000 employees!
One of the key reasons I joined Scoop was the unique opportunity to create and lead new projects surrounded by some of the smartest people in the Bay Area and beyond. Opportunities to rally around initiatives that matter. Opportunities to be surrounded by—and continuously learn from—people with diverse ways of living, thinking, and communicating.
When I came to Scoop, the organization’s official DEI Task Force was just getting off the ground and was searching for an Executive Sponsor. This opening immediately piqued my interest. In my time at ADP, I was selected into the inaugural Multicultural Leadership Development cohort and participated in a robust DEI program that one might expect from a global organization. It was there that I witnessed the importance and commitment of leadership teams making a difference, and I wanted to take this passion with me as I transitioned companies and joined the leadership team at Scoop.
With the desire to play an integral part in creating a work culture where all employees feel safe and celebrated, I realized that serving as the DEI Task Force’s Executive Sponsor was both a great opportunity to learn more about the culture at Scoop and to share insights and feedback from Scoop’s cross-functional leadership group about ways we can improve the DEI culture within the organization.
DEI Task Force V1
V1: Establishing our priorities
Scoop established its first DEI Task Force in January 2020. We started with 12 members across the organization who volunteered to participate.
The four original pillars we decided were most important to focus were improving DEI metrics impacting:
- Employee engagement
- Employee retention
A few months into the year, our task force had to adjust its priorities. Just as the impacts of COVID-19 impacted the business strategies and plans of most companies across the United States, Scoop and its DEI Task Force were no exceptions. As a result, we pivoted the task force’s main focuses for the remainder of 2020 to DEI education and best practices to diversify Scoop’s employee pipeline.
V1: Setting goals and holding ourselves accountable
In 2020, Scoop established a company-wide discipline of using OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to focus on what we need to do to achieve our defined priorities on a company, team, and individual level. We applied this same philosophy to the DEI Task Force. Our OKRs were focused on outcomes that move us towards an equalized gender ratio, the increased representation of underrepresented minorities (specifically Latinx & Black), and decreased voluntary attrition of underrepresented minorities.
In the spirit of transparency, we did not get it 100% correct or meet all of our KRs (key results) the first time around. We hit two of our five DEI KRs, made progress on one, and missed two others. A mixed bag of accomplishments and misses to celebrate, reflect on, and opportunities to learn.
A snapshot of the areas of accomplishment we’re celebrating:
- Key results we met:
- Decrease voluntary attrition of underrepresented minorities (URMs)
- Met our goal of hosting multiple company-wide DEI trainings and events
- What these results look like brought to life:
- Employee Resource Group launch with Allyship@Scoop
- DEI quarterly tracking and reporting
- Sourcing and hiring improvements
- Monthly DEI trainings
- Celebrations, speakers, educational presentations, and facilitated discussions for Lunar New Year, Black History Month, and Womxn’s History Month
- Accessibility Lunch & Learn
- Black Lives Matters movement resources and processing session/conversation
- Mental health and wellness resources in light of COVID-19
To learn from what we were doing right–and where we were missing the mark–we decided to take a post-mortem approach after the first two quarters of 2020 so that we could continue to evolve and meet our goals.
Reflecting led to evolving
As mentioned earlier, the original (amazing) 12 members of the DEI Task Force self-volunteered to contribute their energy, time, and knowledge to improving the company’s culture. But after we, as members, examined company representation within the task force, we assessed that self-selection and volunteering to participate did not provide proper representation across the company’s varying functions and teams.
Beyond this, we recognized another issue we knew we needed to address. Initially, DEI initiatives lacked visibility from our leadership team. In essence, DEI Task Force members were both performing the duties in line with their individual roles at Scoop while also allocating their time and resources to the task force’s culture-building initiatives.
However, these DEI initiatives were not being recognized in performance processes. For the company to recognize the time our DEI task force members were investing in these initiatives, we realized the need to create mechanisms recognizing the members’ resources allocated to DEI efforts, especially the initiatives that were focused on culture-building and engagement at the company level. Important and worthwhile investments–yet difficult to quantify on paper. We knew we needed to evolve our company’s investment in DEI to honor and recognize the investments made by its members properly.
DEI Task Force: V2
Putting our learnings into action
I’m proud of the work the DEI Task Force accomplished thus far in 2020–a tumultuous year for all of us. Better still, I’m proud of the work our task force and Scoop as a company have been willing to do to listen, learn, and evolve.
Here are some of the changes we are making moving forward based on our assessments and company-wide feedback:
- We’re refreshing the task force for Q4: Taking stock of our learnings and growth areas, we’re refreshing the task force to close out the year and set us up for success in 2021 and beyond.
- We’re increasing representation across the company: To increase representation from various roles and teams across the company, members of Scoop’s cross-functional leadership team will nominate participants from their departments. Our intention is this will help address gaps, opportunities, and focus areas based on the unique lens within their functional departments in addition to company-wide initiatives.
- We’re adding DEI contribution to performance evaluations: We want to clarify that building and nurturing an inclusive culture is a company-wide initiative. Now, individuals’ contributions to DEI efforts will be added as a component to everyone’s performance evaluations, whether you are a member of the task force or otherwise.
Sharing is caring–let’s learn together
We recognize that creating a truly inclusive environment is a never-ending process. We have a lot of work to do. I also know we are not the only company on this journey–we’d love to hear your creative ideas on how you’re making an impact and evolving your DEI initiatives.