A Plan For Creating a More Inclusive Culture
17 April, 2018
A big goal for us this year was to improve our company's diversity and inclusion. While creating an inclusive culture isn't something that happens fixed overnight, I do believe it's a problem that can be chipped away at.
I set up a program that we call the "micro-actions" framework. The idea is pretty simple: every month, every member of the engineering team is expected to complete one "micro-action". A micro-action is a <15 minute action to demonstrate an attempt at making a more diverse and inclusive culture. This can be a wide range of activities — referring a friend from an underrepresented group, asking for feedback after a meeting on how participation could have been more inclusive, randomizing who takes meeting notes, etc. And then once a quarter, we ask our team to take a macro-action — this is a 1-3 hour activity (eg., going to an event) aimed at learning about diversity and inclusion. Though we're only a few months in, I've already seen some micro-wins. My managers spent a week or two only sourcing female candidates and we started seeing results from this, and three of my direct reports went to Lesbians Who Tech and were able to write up some learnings for the rest of the organization. We had a company event and set a goal of a 50/50 women-men split. Although we didn't quite get there, 34 percent of the attendees were women, which was significantly better than in the past. It also helped contribute to a campaign in March for Women's History Month where people posted daily to our company-wide slack channel on a women who inspired them (with a brief bio).
While we're far from having this problem solved, I think this approach really helps to keep diversity and inclusion at the top of everyone's minds. Now that there's demand from the team for actions to do, people are happy to sign up and help out.
Ken Pickering, VP of Engineering at Starburst Data, emphasizes the importance of cultivating the company culture -- particularly its most important aspects -- during a hyper-growth phase.
VP, Engineering at Starburst Data
Sabeen Syed, Senior Engineering Manager at HashiCorp, talks about how she supports her team to come up with all kinds of ideas and why creating a structure that would encourage these efforts is vital for fostering a culture of experimentation.
Senior Engineering Manager at HashiCorp
Roy Pereira, CEO at Zoom.ai Inc., speaks on his experience building a gender-balanced team in Canada and the efforts he made to adjust sourcing and hiring to meet his goal.
CEO at Zoom.ai Inc.
Wadah Sayyed, Director of Engineering at HPE, outlines all the actions he took to ensure the successful integration of two teams following the acquisition.
Director of engineering at HPE
Daniel Burke, Engineering Manager at Square, describes how he built a diverse team -- in all possible ways -- that championed cohesion and collaboration in their most unique way.
Engineering Manager at Square
You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.
Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.