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The case for demystifying diversity reports in tech

Protocol | Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter where we share the latest tips, tools and insights to help you stay informed about the modern tech office. Today: How companies are tracking diversity, workplace transparency, and the future of hybrid work.

—Amber Burton, Reporter (twitter | email)

Demystifying corporate diversity reports

On Thursday, a team of my colleagues launched the Protocol Diversity Tracker, which collects and analyzes diversity reports from across the tech industry. The tracker allows for our readers to compare, contrast and keep track of the latest diversity report data from an ever-growing list of tech companies that are making the information public.

The project comes after a second wave of tech organizations big and small pledged more transparency in reporting diversity numbers following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. The result has been a slew of annual reports measuring gender, race and diversity among employees and leadership. My colleagues Biz Carson and Megan Rose Dickey took on the challenge of sorting through them all and reported on the renewed importance of diversity reports and the need for standardization.

There are many reasons behind the delay in making the reports public over the years, but one central concern is leaders who are afraid of getting it wrong.

  • "A lot of folks I think sit on the sidelines because they don't want to get it wrong. And I think most organizations don't want to misrepresent what their data is," Bernard Coleman, chief diversity and engagement officer at Gusto, told Protocol.

The industry is not yet a decade into sharing diversity reports publicly. Some of the largest tech companies, including Google, Microsoft and Facebook, began sharing diversity data in 2014 after an engineer at Pinterest issued a call to action via a blog post. And though this was a victory for transparency, the way in which companies have gone about collecting and sharing the information has been far from standard, making it more difficult to compare one company's progress to others.

On Thursday, a new diversity report was released by a group of DEI experts from academia and the tech industry. The Action to Catalyze Tech report aims to drive diversity, equity and inclusion in tech and provides a number of recommendations for companies to take action. Google, Apple, Twitter and Netflix have all pledged to share data with the group and publicly report progress toward diversity goals.

Even with the increase of corporate reports, some tech leaders still think it's all politics. A growing number of organizations and groups are aligned with the view that politics should not be brought into the workplace and are refusing to comment on social issues — that includes sharing diversity numbers.

  • "It's relatively new that this gap is emerging in tech. I think that's probably one of the reasons why you still see some holdouts, because there are certain companies whose founders and leaders really believe, 'This is not our place to discuss this,'" Bo Young Lee, Uber's chief diversity and inclusion officer, told Protocol.

Read on for the full report.

These tech companies want to tell you all their secrets

When it comes to criticism, is the best defense full transparency? Sam Corcos, co-founder and CEO of health startup Levels, thinks so. Levels is one of the handful of tech companies that has embraced what they call "radical transparency." Everything the company does is transparent to the public, from posts of their weekly team meetings to strategy documents and investor updates. All can be found by anyone online with just a few exceptions, like time-sensitive information, pending agreements and corporate announcements. While some may look at this decision with a sense of awe, Corcos told Protocol it was not eagerly adopted at first by everyone inside the company. His own co-founder was one of the biggest opponents in the beginning. Like with any new initiative, the culture had to adapt to one of transparency.


Read the full story here.

A MESSAGE FROM TRELLO

If your organization wants to belong to that class of innovators during future times of change, there are methods you can use to continue innovating even when the waters are murky. Just like with running, you have to make innovation a daily habit in your company—not just an activity you practice when the conditions are right. Here are four ways you can set yourself up for success.

Learn more

Today's tips & tools

In the latest edition of "Things We Didn't Know We Could Do in Slack," we're talking about ways to keep things from getting lost in the chat platform. There are two simple tools that can keep you from endlessly scrolling to find something from a colleague: pinning and posts. Both functions allow you to draw attention to information you want colleagues to keep handy. Here's what they are and how to incorporate them into your Slack routine.

  • How to pin a message: Pinning a message simply pins a note to the top of a channel so you and your team will always see it. This can be anything you want your team to remember or have easy access to. To pin something to a channel, hover over a message, click on the icon with the three vertical dots, and then click "Pin to channel" or "Pin to this conversation." That's it!
  • How to create a post: Creating a post is often for longer messages and information that you'd like to share and draw attention to. It's also easier to find when scrolling through a channel because it's formatted like an inset document and labeled "Post." It also expands when you click on it. To make a post, click the lightning-bolt icon below the message box, scroll to the Slack icon and then click "Create a post." You are then able to add a title, add text and share. You can also format and add images like you would in a text document.

The future of work is still hybrid

In case you were wondering, the people have spoken and the future of work still looks hybrid — no matter what your boss may want. This week, Ernst & Young launched its first Future Workplace Index with survey results measuring executive sentiment and behavior. The takeaway? The traditional office will soon be a relic of the past, to be told of only in books and movies. Here's the latest in future of work stats from EY:

  • The future company will no longer be tied to an office location. According to the survey, 72% of office-based organizations are working in a hybrid setup, and 75% said they don't expect to have a primary office to report to in the future.
  • Corporate leaders appear to agree that offices will no longer play a starring role moving forward. 87% of companies surveyed by EY said "the pandemic has changed the role of the office for their organization."
  • Why might companies be willing to adopt this new behavior? Productivity has increased for many. 57% of surveyed business leaders said productivity is better than before the pandemic.

Around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.

How the shortage of child-care workers has sent shocks across the American workforce and contributed to the lowest labor-force participation among women since the 1970s. Buckle up for this one.

A fascinating Q&A about the future of work with an MIT professor.

Employees at Netflix and Facebook have proven tech workers are no longer afraid to speak up against their employers.

One long read: Eyes are still on the possible Texas tech exodus.

One last thing: Protocol wants to hear from you!

Do you hate talking politics at work? Or do you feel it gets in the way of doing your job? Protocol wants to talk to you for a story. We'll take the good and the bad and verified sources can be anonymous. To reach out to our reporters, reply to this email or email us directly: workplace@protocol.com.

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to workplace@protocol.com. Have a great weekend, see you Tuesday.

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