Working on Diversity and Inclusivity at Zapier
Below is an article originally written by Wade Foster at PowerToFly Partner Zapier, and published on October 5, 2017. Go to Zapier's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Diversity in tech is pretty uncommon. It takes effort and there's always more work that can be done towards that goal, since we're all human with our own hidden biases. We think it's worth pursuing, though. Diverse teams are more creative and build better products. They make better decisions and have more successful companies. They're better able to represent the global community at large.
At Zapier, we also think that hiring and fostering a diverse team is just the right thing to do. So over Zapier's last few biannual retreats and in our internal #diversity Slack channel, we've had candid conversations as a company about our hiring process—everything from language choices in our job postings to how we recruit potential teammates and administer skills tests.
As we continue to grow rapidly—we now have over 110 team members, compared to under 50 last year at this time—hiring inclusively is more important than ever. We want to demonstrate our dedication to building a warm, open, and inclusive work environment—one that's safe for people of all backgrounds, including historically underrepresented groups such as people of color, LGBTQ people, people over 40, those with disabilities, and women. We want to make sure we don't unintentionally discourage anyone from applying to Zapier, and we want to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy meaningful remote work here.
Several team members suggested publishing a public changelog of each step we've taken to improve our hiring process. This is that document.
The Changelog in Chronological Order
- April 2015: Launched a new 14-week, paid parental leave policy to accommodate growing families.
- August 2015: Set a requirement that every new position we hire for must be posted to the site with a job description.
- August 2015: Outlined a standard hiring process across each role.
- August 2015: Edited our job description template to ensure job descriptions use inclusive language and accurately describe the role.
- September 2015: Created and publicized the Zapier Code of Conduct, then added it to our About page and each job opening.
- January 2016: Redesigned the about page to show off our personalities and the people behind Zapier.
- April 2016: Built a Google Chrome extension that hides the names and photos of applicants when we're reviewing applications in our hiring software to help reduce unconscious bias.
- May 2016: Increased employer-sponsored health coverage to 90% for employees and 50% for spouses and dependents to make Zapier better for employees with families.
- June 2016: Started a list of job boards with broader audiences to use when promoting new positions.
- June 2016: Introduced the Zapier Management Framework and gave training to all managers based on the Manager Tools framework. Good managers know how to create safe spaces that allow people to grow and thrive.
- August 2016: Changed our hiring application question from "Tell us about yourself" to "Tell us about your qualifications for this role".
- August 2016: Added an optional, anonymous demographic survey for all job applicants to help us track and better understand the characteristics of our applicants over time.
- August 2016: Published a public changelog (yup, this one!) summarizing our efforts to improve our hiring process.
- August 2016: Started peer-reviewing each other's internal notes on applicants to make sure that interviewers use fair evaluation techniques for every candidate.
- August 2016: Published Our Commitment to Applicants detailing our commitment to being respectful to every candidate.
- November 2016: Built a Google Chrome Extension for Workable that obscures and randomizes applicant photos and names, in an effort to combat unintentional bias in our hiring process.
- May 2017: Rolled out our first Employee Satisfaction Survey so that we can gauge employee happiness and give people a safe space to voice their opinions.
- June 2017: Started shuffling the about page daily to better showcase our team.
- July 2017: Started using a tool called Fairgo that lets us evaluate applications based on answers to each individual question on our application form, while keeping the candidates anonymous.
- July 2017: Started offering an Upfront Skills Test to allow engineering candidates to demonstrate skills if they don't have code they can share.
- July 2017: Sent out our first teammate demographic survey so that we can take a look at where we're at and where we can continue to improve.
- March 2018: Hired a Recruiter dedicated to Diversity Initiatives and Community Outreach.
- April 2018: Sent out a new teammate demographic survey via Culture Amp to insure anonymity for Zapiens and to encourage candid feedback.
Some of these efforts have helped us reach a more diverse set of applicants. We're committed to improving this process. After each new hire, we review the hiring process with the hiring team and try to learn from each experience. We've also committed to reviewing our hiring process every six months at our team retreats to ensure we keep improving.
We also want to hear from you. If you have an idea based on your own experiences hiring, working on, and building diverse teams, please leave a suggestion for us.
Kiana Labuhn, Recruiter at S&P Global, shares an exclusive take on the most important tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview.
How Bumble’s Director of Engineering Learned to Be Herself at Work—and Encourages Team Members to Do the Same
Rose Hitchcock found out she was pregnant with her third child halfway through the process of interviewing to be Director of Engineering at Bumble.
She told the team at the social media and dating app and that didn't change their plans to hire her. "They were completely fine with it, really supportive," says Rose.
You've met some of them—maybe they're your family, friends, classmates, or coworkers, or perhaps you identify as neurodivergent yourself.
Sharing inclusivity, not stereotypes, at Raytheon Technologies<p><br></p><p>"Raytheon Technologies and our Raytheon Alliance for Diverse Abilities (RADA) Employee Resource Group (ERG) is committed to trying to bring focus on invisible disabilities, as they are among the most misunderstood. Autism/neurodiversity isn't a mental illness and we recognize how important it is to bring awareness, be inclusive of everyone and avoid stereotypes. During Autism Awareness Month RADA is featuring a multi-regional presentation about Autism Awareness & Acceptance, as well as neurodiversity overall. The presentation is focused on educational information, including what Autistic people want in terms of inclusion and meaningful work, as well as dispelling common misconceptions."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/raytheon-technologies" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Raytheon Technologies</em></a>.</p>
Hiring a world-class workforce at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency<p>"The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency recently launched the Neurodiverse Federal Workforce (NFW) pilot program, a collaborative effort between NGA, MITRE, and Melwood. The NFW pilot aims to help government agencies hire neurodiverse talent for U.S. Federal Government agencies. 'NGA mission success is contingent on a world-class workforce with a wide diversity of opinions and expertise,' said NGA Deputy Director Dr. Stacey Dixon. 'Neurodiverse talent can bring new perspectives to the NGA workforce and make important contributions to the mission.' The pilot is a great learning opportunity for NGA to continue to grow and improve our first-class workforce."</p><p>Learn more from the podcast "<a href="https://www.podcastone.com/episode/The-National-Geospatial-Intelligence-Agency-takes-workforce-diversity-in-a-new-direction" target="_blank">The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Takes Workforce Diversity In A New Direction</a>"</p><p><em>Learn more about the </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/national-geospatial-intelligence-agency" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Supporting each individual's preferred environment at Elastic<p>"We distribute anonymous surveys that allow anyone, including neurodiverse folks, to address potential barriers that we should address.</p><p>Our accessibility working group acts as an employee resource as well as an equity-seeking team that works to create and develop a disability inclusive workplace at Elastic.</p><p>The majority of our Elasticians work from home. Our hope is that this empowers neurodiverse employees, including those who may be on the spectrum, to have more control over their environment so that they can manage noise and light sensitivity, control their personal space, and manage their own schedule to reduce anxiety."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/elastic" target="_blank"><em>Elastic</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Pioneering neurodiversity at Freddie Mac<p>"Freddie Mac values the insights and different perspectives that result from employees bringing their authentic selves to work. Our Office of Inclusive Engagement works with several organizations to identify qualified candidates, consider them for suitable roles and pair them with mentors who can help them adapt to an evolving new normal. In 2020, we evolved our neurodiversity internship initiative into a more robust training, education and hiring process called 'Neurodiversity at Work' to directly place candidates with Autism Spectrum Disorders into full-time roles."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/freddie-mac" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Freddie Mac</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Decoding inclusion at MongoDB<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTk0NzE2OC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMDY3MTY2MH0.Q-ko6g65MC-epHBrx_vr6k9v-lSawHH5jfhPWOVTozI/img.png?width=980" id="a4487" width="1112" height="626" data-rm-shortcode-id="a686a88d639ff3a91a5a4f6b455ce0cc" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>"MongoDB supports the neurodivergent community through interview accommodations, providing new hires the opportunity to select equipment and denote special requests, and onboarding checklists broken down into useful sections. To raise awareness about neurodiversity in the workplace, we have a learning and development (L&D) platform which has content on collaborating with different working styles. Our L&D Program focuses on building skills in managing teams inclusively. We also host Decoding Inclusion, a series of events aimed at building community and sharing foundational knowledge about D&I topics, including neurodiversity, to further our understanding of differences."</p><p><a href="https://www.mongodb.com/blog/post/why-now-cool-time-different-steph-johnson" target="_blank">Read more about how MongoDB celebrates difference in this interview with their VP of Corporate Comms</a></p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/mongodb" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>MongoDB</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Encouraging allyship at Folsom Labs<p>"At Folsom Labs, we are passionate about building a culture of acceptance and inclusion. Our goal is not just to spread autism awareness but to strive to be allies and elevate the voices of those with disabilities. Now more than ever, this is important as many are facing the added weight of mental health and wellness challenges due to the pandemic. Encouraging allyship throughout the community and building a culture where everyone can thrive are at the forefront of our current initiatives. We are proud to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month — to set a stage where we can celebrate our differences and continue to create a space of inclusion and support."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/folsom-labs" target="_blank"><em>Folsom Labs</em></a><em>.</em></p><em><br></em>
Recruiting for diverse problem solvers at Dell Technologies<video controls id="7ebf6" width="100%" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d5c114fad218a953432630dfe99716b2" expand="1" feedbacks="true" mime_type="video/mp4" shortcode_id="1617842842194" site_id="17377755" url="https://roar-assets-auto.rbl.ms/runner%2F23124-Neurodiversity_Shortform_0325.mp4" videoControls="true"> <source src="https://roar-assets-auto.rbl.ms/runner%2F23124-Neurodiversity_Shortform_0325.mp4" type="video/mp4"> Your browser does not support the video tag. </video><p>"Dell's Neurodiversity Hiring Program provides professional development training, internships, and full-time career opportunities for neurodivergent job seekers. The program rethinks the traditional interview process by removing barriers that may limit an individual from fully showcasing their skills and capabilities. Additionally, program participants benefit from job coaching and mentorship provided by our community partners and True Ability ERG members.</p><p>A variety of critical positions across the company have been filled through the program. In doing so, we are bringing in diverse perspectives for problem solving that have helped us differentiate ourselves within the marketplace all while cultivating a culture of inclusion."</p><p><br></p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/dell-technologies" target="_blank"><em>Dell</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Supporting professionals with autism throughout their talent journey at Deloitte<p>"At Deloitte, everyone contributes to our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Our inclusive culture, empowers all of us, including those with diverse abilities, to connect, belong, and grow. Deloitte's Autism@Work program supports our professionals with autism throughout their talent journey. A customized, autism-friendly assessment process helps draw out our candidates' strengths. Our employees have an internal Coach, an Onboarding Advisor, and access to external job coaching. Our Onboarding Mentor/Buddy Program pairs professionals with autism with other Deloitte colleagues/allies. Through Neurodiversity Training, our professionals can help support and manage our differently-abled professionals. We also have our Abilities First Business Resource Group for people with disabilities plus allies."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/deloitte1" target="_blank"><em>Deloitte</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Sharing stories to support awareness at Lockheed Martin<p>"Lockheed Martin shares employee stories internally to help others understand Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and hosts internal events to support ASD awareness and education. The Able & Allies business resource group, whose mission is to build an environment that empowers employees with disabilities, has recently partnered with ASD advocacy organizations to offer resources to assist with managing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with persons who have ASD and their families. Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) is a member of the Florida Ability Inclusion Network and strives to educate employees and leaders on disabilities and recommend best practices to promote a disability-friendly workplace."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/lockheed-martin" target="_blank"><em>Lockheed Martin</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Kate Jhaveri does one thing every day that she suggests you try: belly laughs.
The EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at the NBA credits her two kids with much of that levity—"They're very silly and they, at least once a day, make me laugh out loud," she says—though she seeks to make those lighter connections with her team at work, too.