Reposted from yelp.com, written by Ian Fijolek Director, Productivity Engineering, Tenzin Kunsal, Senior Events & Partnerships Specialist and Trisha Walsh, VP, Information Technology, originally posted on Jul 29, 2021
Recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new employees in Engineering at Yelp is a multi-team, cross-functional effort as we have laid out in our Career Series blog posts. But once people are here, how do we retain them? While career advancement, technical leadership, and pay equity are all important components to building a happy engineering team, we believe fostering inclusion and belonging is also a fundamental component in supporting, and thus retaining, people. While this is an area that’s received a lot of recent attention in the tech industry, we’ve prioritized inclusion and belonging for many years because we want all of our colleagues to feel like an integral part of our team and share their unique perspectives.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the building blocks that make up our inclusion and belonging programs, many of which were developed in partnership with Yelp’s Culture team.
Employee Resource Groups
One of the ways we support belonging is through Yelp Employee Resource Groups (YERGs), which are groups of employees that come together to support each other and other employees by way of community, programming, and events. The groups can be formed around shared social identities, characteristics, or life experiences. Yelp has many YERGs including YelpCares (community, non-profit volunteering), YelpParents, Women at Yelp (WAY), VetConnect, and Yelp Asian Pacific Islanders (YAPI). Three of our YERGs were started by members of our Engineering team: Awesome Women in Engineering (AWE), ColorCoded, and Neurodiversity & Mental Health.
Each YERG is led by several employees who facilitate programming and support the group. We also use an executive sponsorship model for all of our YERGs, where a senior leader provides mentorship and guidance, connections across departments, removes any blockers the group may face as they run their programming, and works with the leads to champion and promote the group company-wide.
Awesome Women in Engineering (AWE)
AWE started as a social group in April 2013 before employee resource groups came into existence at Yelp. The founding leaders of AWE organized several activities like networking lunches, book clubs, and public speaking workshops, and coordinated with Yelp’s Recruiting team to send AWE members to represent Yelp at external events (e.g., the Grace Hopper Conference). The next phase was to build a stronger community of women engineers at Yelp.
As a resource group, AWE provides support for and organizes activities targeted towards professional growth for women engineers and allies, helping maximize their potential at Yelp and beyond. AWE has grown considerably these last eight years and offers programs focused on being champions for women in Engineering, public speaking, internal and external networking, allyship, mentorship, and hosting internal events.
AWE and our other YERGs provide avenues for engineers to take on leadership opportunities by coordinating an event, facilitating a discussion about a book, or becoming a program lead. YERGs allow engineers to work on these skills in a safe and supportive environment with a focus on growth instead of perfection.
As a result of our remote work environment over the last year, AWE has transitioned to hosting its events virtually. This has allowed employees across time zones and countries to join the group and participate in events they could not have attended previously. As we continue supporting engineers working in multiple time zones, we intend to continue making programming available virtually.
Back in 2016, a few Yelp engineers in San Francisco started ColorCoded as a social group with the goal of supporting engineers of color at Yelp. Over the last five years, ColorCoded has grown to become one of Yelp’s employee resource groups, cultivating a community of engineers of color and their allies at Yelp. The group’s executive sponsor, employee leadership team, and members work in partnership to provide professional development and leadership activities, networking events, and community engagement opportunities.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, ColorCoded organized various in-person activities in San Francisco, such as résumé workshops with Bay Area nonprofits, employee panel discussions, lunch book discussions, and more. With the onset of the pandemic, transition to remote work, and the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, ColorCoded shifted programming to better meet the needs of our community members and expanded our reach to include more members from other Yelp offices. Five programs were established: Community Check-Ins, Race Matters, Virtual Happy Hours, Ally Skills Workshops, and Community Voices. Race Matters is a monthly discussion series where Yelp employees learn and discuss the historical context of racism and how racism affects Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities in the United States, and we’re hoping to expand this programming to cover the historical context of other countries where we have employees in the future. Community Check-Ins are another monthly discussion series where members gather together and discuss current events.
At times, ColorCoded also partners with other employee resource groups, such as Awesome Women in Engineering (AWE) and Yelp Asian Pacific Islanders (YAPI), to put on events together.
Neurodiversity and Mental Health
Neurodiversity is a movement championing the premise that autism and other conditions like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, anxiety, post-traumatic stress syndrome, dyscalculia, and apraxia are normal variations of the human brain and thought process. As natural variations, these differences should be celebrated and supported.
This recently-created YERG is made up of employees who are neurodiverse, have diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health conditions, care about their mental health, and/or are allies to these individuals. The group works to create a more inclusive environment for neurodiverse individuals and individuals with mental health conditions. Though starting within Engineering, the group now has representation from departments across Yelp.
Our most successful event to date was an open roundtable discussion towards the beginning of the pandemic. The adjustment to regional lockdowns brought an additional focus on mental health and how best to support each other. In the roundtable event, we welcomed employees to discuss how they were dealing with the transition. We are currently planning a panel with a few speakers to share their experiences at Yelp, incorporating neurodiversity in our existing diversity training, working on new training for managers, and raising awareness about existing tools Yelp provides to employees to foster wellness.
Historically, Yelp Engineering leaders have championed work-life balance and have long valued the well-being of their teams. This is reflected in our career leveling rubric, with a dimension dedicated to sustaining and improving the well-being of our colleagues, as well as an expectation of our engineering managers. In response to the pandemic, we implemented new policies to best support work-life balance for our employees in Engineering.
The first one focuses on offering flexibility around when you work. Employees living in different time zones with different schedules shouldn’t need to fully align all of their working hours. Within Engineering, we’ve implemented a flexible working policy that introduces the concept of “core hours,” observed from 11am to 3pm in one’s local time, where the balance of the day’s hours can be before or later. However, even these core hours are flexible and can be adjusted to accommodate unique needs of individuals and teams, such as a parent needing to pick up their child from daycare over lunch. This practice offers some form of predictability for collaborating teammates and other teams to know when they can expect colleagues to be available while still giving employees the autonomy to set a schedule that works best for them.
Another new policy we implemented is the option for most full-time employees in Engineering to work 80% of a full-time workload for 80% of their full-time pay, providing engineers another opportunity to adapt their work schedule to suit their current life priorities and preferences.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that we can function as a company with nearly all of our employees working remotely. In some cases, people have reported being more productive without the usual in-office distractions and noise. We also know that for some, especially parents or other caregivers, being home and removing commutes has allowed them to continue to provide care and work full-time.
Even when offices reopen, Yelp is giving employees a choice to continue working as a distributed remote workforce, unless their role specifically requires otherwise. A new relocation policy offers clear guidance around relocating to new locations within one’s country or between the countries in which Yelp operates (Canada, Germany, UK, and USA).
Putting it all together
Through YERGs and the policies mentioned above, we are making the space and providing the opportunities for folks to bring their full authentic selves to Yelp and have the flexibility to work in a way that works best for them. We are proud of our investments in hiring great people in Engineering and supporting their sense of inclusion and belonging once they have joined us. That said, our work isn’t done. We will continue to evolve and incorporate a multi-faceted approach to inclusion and belonging. We will continue to offer training in diversity, equity & inclusion, promote and support YERGs, and find ways, like flexible working arrangements, to support engineers in doing their best work.
Yelp CTO, Sam Eaton, will wrap up our Engineering Career Series. If you’d like to join an organization passionate about inclusion and belonging (or any of the other topics we’ve covered), we’re hiring!
💎Want to implement change in your team or organization? Watch the video to the end to do it successfully.
📼 To implement change you need to follow certain steps. Play this video to get three top tips on how to do it the best possible way. You'll hear from Kyle Lisboa, Support Operations Manager at Esri, who shares her experience with you!
📼Why implement change? Tip #1: Identify the reason. Think about the business reason for the change. If you understand why change is needed, it helps you explain it to others. Avoid making change for change's sake and implement solutions that solve problems.
📼Plan to implement change! Tip #2: Develop a plan. Create a detailed plan to help implement the change. If you create steps and timelines, this will guide the process. It also helps others understand how you are progressing towards the implementation and what the next steps are.
To Implement Change You Need Others - Tip #3: Seek Feedback
Gather feedback from those affected before, during, and after any changes are implemented. Allowing others to provide their feedback helps to create an inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels part of the solution.
📨 Are you interested in joining Esri? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Kyle Lisboa
Kyle is an experienced Strategic Operations Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. She’s skilled in Arcgis Products, Databases, Management, Geography, and Cartography. If you are interested in a career at Esri, you can connect with her on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Esri
At Esri, they build cutting-edge geographic information system (GIS) technology that customers use to solve the world’s most complex challenges: slowing climate change, stamping out disease, designing a better city, fighting crime, and much more. Their ArcGIS software is helping communities around the globe respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by monitoring the surge, managing testing sites, aiding essential workers in finding childcare, mapping food and essentials, and keeping residents informed and safe.
Nearly 80% of workers want to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, per a CNBC survey.
But how do prospective employees — and, for that matter, current ones — know whether an organization takes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) seriously?
Metrics can help.
What are DEI metrics?
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging metrics are measurements of how a company is doing against its stated DEIB goals. They help track progress, light up problems, synthesize momentum over time, prioritize investment, and allow a company and its employees to have accountability over DEIB intentions.
How can DEI metrics help my overall DEI strategy?
Creating a DEIB strategy is the first step in making your workplace more equitable. But having DEI metrics is a vital second step in ensuring that progress happens.
DEI metrics help a company actualize their strategy, live out their values, meet employee expectations, and make the workplace more fair for all employees.
10 examples of DEI metrics
1. Hiring: the diversity of your candidate pipeline.
How diverse is your applicant pool? Have your candidates self-identify and track what representation looks like in your candidate system.
2. Representation: the demographics of your current employees.
Many companies put pressure on their new hires to make up for gaps in their existing employee population — so make sure you’re benchmarking against data on what your current workforce is made up of.
3. Representation: the demographics of your leadership team.
People need to see that there is a path for success for people who look like them at your organization. What does the makeup of your board look like? Your directors? Your managers? And what does the promotion pipeline look like into those roles?
4. Representation: the demographics of your suppliers.
The money that you spend can significantly impact communities around you — so you should be measuring whether you’re doing that in a way that challenges bias and champions equitable treatment.
5. HR systems: pay equity.
Do all employees, regardless of gender or race, make the same amount of money if they’re doing the same job? If not, what’s your gender / race pay gap and how quickly are you closing it?
6. Employee experience: HR issues.
It’s important to track wins when it comes to DEIB, but it’s also vital to track times when your organization falls short. How many HR / People issues related to DEIB, including allegations of unfair treatment or bias, has your organization dealt with in the past year? What was the result of them? How quickly did issues get resolved? These metrics are key to know.
7. Employee experience: satisfaction with DEI progress.
When you send out employee satisfaction surveys, make sure you include questions on how employees perceive your current progress on DEI goals. They’re the ones most impacted by your strategy — and their opinion matters.
8. Employee engagement: participation in communication platforms.
How often do employees participate in Slack? What about by-channel participation? Looking at data on who talks to who and when can help highlight issues with inclusion or culture. Some companies are using AI-enabled text analysis tools to look for signs of frustration or for problematic language.
9. Employee participation: ERG membership.
Employee resource groups can be hugely helpful in creating community around different identities, interests, and demographics. They can also provide guidance on how to actualize your organization’s DEIB goals. (Which is part of the reason you should pay ERG leaders for their efforts, but that’s a topic for a different blog.)
10. Brand reputation: customer perception.
We’ve talked about key groups for whom DEIB metrics matter — prospective employees, current employees, leadership — but they matter to your customers, too. Whether you add a DEIB component to your existing NPS process, conduct 1:1 customer interviews, or get feedback some other way, it’s important to see whether your customer base is seeing progress on your DEIB goals, too.
Have you ever been so exhausted that you quit your job?
You may have been experiencing burnout.
Burnout is characterized by overwhelming exhaustion, detachment from your work, and a sense of ineffectiveness.
And while anyone can experience burnout, if you have ADHD, you may be more susceptible to it.
Before you get to the point where quitting feels like your only option, there are steps you can take to set healthy boundaries and start feeling more like yourself again. Read on to learn how you can recognize burnout in yourself, and what to do if you’re experiencing it!
How Does ADHD Burnout Feel?
There are some clear signs that you’re burning out, but ADHD can make the descent to burnout harder to detect. These warning signs include:
- Lack of motivation - not wanting to do the things you need to do or the things you love.
- Exhaustion - feeling overly tired both mentally and physically.
- Irritability and mental fatigue - feeling short-tempered, mean, or like you snap easily.
- Physical discomfort - body aches, low energy levels, and general pain.
- Negative outlook - the tendency to find something wrong with nearly everything.
- Emotional dysregulation - feeling weepy, sad, or unable to smile or connect with others.
Generally, burnout starts with taking on too much. Exhaustion creeps in, and you feel like every day is working against you because you are constantly overwhelmed. You may start to feel like the entire world is spinning out of control, or like no matter what you do you can’t keep up (or catch up).
If this resonates with you, you might be on the road to ADHD burnout.
Why People with ADHD Can Be More Susceptible to Burnout
So why does ADHD make some folks more susceptible to burnout? There are a few common ADHD traits that often result in behaviors correlated with burnout (taking on too much, working too long, etc.):
- Hyperfocus - ADHD is not exclusively about attention deficits. In fact, hyperfocus is the opposite – a deep, intense concentration to the point of being oblivious to your surroundings. Per WebMD, hyperfocus is a state of highly-focused attention that lasts for an extended period of time. You concentrate on something so hard that you lose track of everything else going on around you. When hyperfocus sets in at work, it can be hard to unplug or be aware of the people and environment around you.
- Time Tracking - Losing track of time is one thing, but if you find yourself losing track of hours without realizing it, that could be related to burnout. People with ADHD perceive time not as a sequence of events the way others usually do, but as a diffuse collection of events viscerally connected to the people, activities, and emotions that fill them.
- Difficulty Prioritizing - Do you take on too much and then struggle to prioritize it? When someone asks for help, does everything often go to the wayside so you can jump in? Or maybe the daunting anticipation of the tasks ahead prevents you from starting. Per ADDitude, ADHD impacts your temporal processing abilities, which can affect executive functioning.
Combating ADHD Burnout
If you think you may be suffering from ADHD burnout, there are a few ways to take back control. Here are three tips for combating ADHD burnout:
Reserve Your Yeses - Pump the brakes when you recognize the early signs of ADHD burnout. Start reserving your yeses right away. Say no, and practice not apologizing. It is okay to say, "I have a lot on my plate right now and cannot take that on. Thanks for thinking of me." Saying no is nothing to apologize for, and it should be celebrated! You are working to protect your energy above all else.
Practice Over-Estimating - If you think you could knock something out in a day, give yourself a week. Overestimate on time and allow yourself the grace to have a little more time than usual to complete projects. Slowing down when starting a new job or role will help you produce high-quality work and prevent ADHD burnout.
Drop the Mask - Be honest with your employer and friends. Let them know that although you seem to keep up internally, you struggle. Identifying ADHD burnout from the outside can be extremely difficult. Your honesty and transparency will position you to determine if your environment is supportive and inclusive.
How to Support Colleagues Dealing with ADHD Burnout
The experiences above may not resonate with you personally, but perhaps you’ve noticed other people you work with describe or experience them.
If you’re a manager, there are several ways you can support colleagues with ADHD (as well as neurodivergent employees more generally) to help prevent burnout. Ask for clarity on when they have felt the most supported at work. Discovery questions like, “how did you feel at that time?” or “how was the pace of that project?” can help you to understand their actual capacity.Download this free guide if you’re looking for more ways to support your neurodivergent coworkers. Work with your DEIB and HR team to develop new neurodivergent inclusivity standards to help you stay ahead of the ADHD burnout cycle.
💎Worried about bias in the workplace? Watch the video to the end to find out how to reduce it!
📼Avoiding bias in the workplace requires a lot of effort. Play this video to get three top tips that will help you. You'll hear from Ben Lopez, Talent Acquisition Manager for EMEA at Workiva, who shares advice on how to create a more fair, equitable environment where everyone feels welcome and has a seat at the table.
📼Acknowledging bias in the workplace is the starting point. Tip #1: Recognize Bias. Take the time to recognize your own bias. Both conscious and unconscious. And look out for bias within teams and among peers. Work together to understand how you can all avoid each of those biases that you may encounter.
📼Avoid sneaky bias in the workplace! Tip #2: Rely on a structured process. Whether it's about interviewing, promotions, or performance reviews, relying on a consistent, fair, and objective process will help guard against bias. Document the process to keep both you and your peers accountable. And when it comes to interviewing, work with your peers and other participants to define clear questions and objectives to cover with each candidate.
Reduce Bias In The Workplace By Knowing Different People - Tip #3: Widen Your Network
Don't always engage with the same people. Widen your internal network, and interact with different teams, and different departments. Get to know those with different life experiences, different academic backgrounds, and different work experiences. Understanding those who are different from us allows us to be more empathetic and create an environment where we all feel a sense of belonging.
📨 Are you interested in joining Workiva? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ben Lopez
With a robust background in recruitment, Ben is an agile and well-networked talent acquisition leader. He’s been recruiting high-caliber talent around the globe for 15 years, spanning SaaS software, professional services, oil & gas, and healthcare across four continents. If you are interested in a career at Workiva, you can connect with Ben Lopez on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Workiva
Workiva was founded to transform the way people manage and report business data with various collaborators, data sources, documents, and spreadsheets. Today, people all over the world use their platform to seamlessly orchestrate data among their systems and applications for transparent and trusted connected reporting and compliance. At Workiva, they are innovative in everything they do—from how they build their software, to how they serve their customers, to how they treat their employees.