Workplace

Should your salary depend on meeting DEI goals?

Diversio just raised $6.5 million to use AI to fix DEI.

Diversio Analytics Product Demo

Laura McGee has spent her entire career thinking about diversity and business. At one point, she helped lead the Trump-Trudeau Council for Advancement of Women, working with the prime minister and president to build a plan to grow the North American economy through diversity. During that time, she kept hearing from CEOs that they cared about diversity and wanted to improve, but that they had “no data and no metrics.”

That was when she decided to build Diversio: a platform that makes data collection, as well as acting on it, “super simple.”

The company just announced a $6.5 million Series A from First Round Capital, Golden Ventures and Chandaria Family Holdings. Protocol spoke to McGee, Diversio’s founder and CEO, about how it’s using data and AI to help companies get closer to its DEI goals.

Here’s how it works: The platform starts by collecting data through an anonymous four-minute pulse survey that goes out to all employees. This survey collects information on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability as well as mental health. It also asks participants about everything from whether they feel heard by their teams to if they’ve experienced workplace harassment.

Diversio then combines that survey data with data around recruiting and hiring, as well as representation in different roles and teams. Questions that this data can answer include, “How do different departments do? How are different levels represented? How is talent advancing from a racial and gender lens?” As McGee pointed out to Protocol, often companies are good at bringing diverse employees in, but they are bad at keeping and promoting them.

What’s unique about Diversio is how it benchmarks this data against the company’s dominant group, which more often than not for tech company leadership is heterosexual white men without a disability. It then analyzes the data for significant differences in experience between that group and nondominant groups to help the organization locate its biases and specific DEI issues, both as a whole and within specific departments and roles.

For example, one question might be, “Do you feel that your opinion is valued by your team?” The average response rate for people of color might be 6.5 out of ten and 8.0 for the dominant group. That 1.5 delta helps pinpoint where the inclusion issues might lie.

Where artificial intelligence comes in is the platform’s free-text analysis. Diversio has trained its natural language processing algorithms on free-text data to identify what it calls “inclusion pain points,” or specific drivers of behavior or working conditions that influence the scores. One example might be that, in employee survey responses, many people talk about time off being a problem, with a significant difference between groups in that perception.

Diversio executive summary This startup is using data to improve employee diversity.Image: Diversio

The final piece of Diversio’s offerings is its recommendation engine, which spits out potential solutions tailored to the company’s specific DEI issues. According to McGee, the database currently includes about 1,600 recommendations, which Diversio gathered by scraping “every program and policy intervention we could find globally for diversity and inclusion.” One example of a solution: the 40% rule, in which job candidates must be at least 40% women, to make sure there’s equitable opportunity.

The idea is that companies can pick and choose the solutions that sound right for them, implement them and re-survey their employees as often as quarterly or once a year.

According to McGee, some of the most common issues experienced by the 400-or-so companies currently on Diversio include mentorship and sponsorship for non-dominant groups, as well as underinvesting in neurodiverse employees and employees with disabilities.

In terms of solutions, she’s observed that one of the most effective has been tying a portion of executive compensation to the company’s inclusion scores. Tying compensation to inclusion “really motivates action,” McGee said.

As to what the influx of cash is going towards, McGee said she sees it being allocated 50% towards growth by way of sales and marketing and 50% towards investing in the tech, from improving the NLP to refining the recommendation engine.

Interestingly, Diversio itself has used Diversio the platform, another example of tech dogfooding in action. McGee said she didn’t fully understand how diverse the company was until the survey results came back and so many people self-identified as having a mental health disorder, for example. “Candidly, I didn’t fully appreciate the value of the product until I saw the results,” McGee said.
Workplace

Why you should put Netflix binging on your to-do list

The former Todoist productivity expert drops time-blocking tips, lofi beats playlists for concentrating and other knowledge bombs.

“I do hope the productivity space as a whole is more intentional about pushing narratives that are about life versus just work.”

Photo: Courtesy of Fadeke Adegbuyi

Fadeke Adegbuyi knows how to dole out productivity advice. When she was a marketing manager at Doist, she taught users via blogs and newsletters about how to better organize their lives. Doist, the company behind to-do-list app Todoist and messaging app Twist, has pushed remote and asynchronous work for years. Adegbuyi’s job was to translate these ideas to the masses.

“We were thinking about asynchronous communication from a work point of view, of like: What is most effective for doing ambitious and awesome work, and also, what is most advantageous for living a life that feels balanced?” Adegbuyi said.

Keep Reading Show less
Lizzy Lawrence

Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She's a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school's independent newspaper. She's based in D.C., and can be reached at llawrence@protocol.com.

Sponsored Content

Why the digital transformation of industries is creating a more sustainable future

Qualcomm’s chief sustainability officer Angela Baker on how companies can view going “digital” as a way not only toward growth, as laid out in a recent report, but also toward establishing and meeting environmental, social and governance goals.

Three letters dominate business practice at present: ESG, or environmental, social and governance goals. The number of mentions of the environment in financial earnings has doubled in the last five years, according to GlobalData: 600,000 companies mentioned the term in their annual or quarterly results last year.

But meeting those ESG goals can be a challenge — one that businesses can’t and shouldn’t take lightly. Ahead of an exclusive fireside chat at Davos, Angela Baker, chief sustainability officer at Qualcomm, sat down with Protocol to speak about how best to achieve those targets and how Qualcomm thinks about its own sustainability strategy, net zero commitment, other ESG targets and more.

Keep Reading Show less
Chris Stokel-Walker

Chris Stokel-Walker is a freelance technology and culture journalist and author of "YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars." His work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian and Wired.

Workplace

It's OK to cry at work

Our comfort with crying at work has changed drastically over the past couple years. But experts said the hard part is helping workers get through the underlying mental health challenges.

Tech workers and workplace mental health experts said discussing emotions at work has become less taboo over the past couple years, but we’re still a ways away from completely normalizing the conversation — and adjusting policies accordingly.

Photo: Teerasak Ainkeaw / EyeEm via Getty Images

Everyone seems to be ugly crying on the internet these days. A new Snapchat filter makes people look like they’re breaking down on television, crying at celebratory occasions or crying when it sounds like they’re laughing. But one of the ways it's been used is weirdly cathartic: the workplace.

In one video, a creator posted a video of their co-worker merely sitting at a desk, presumably giggling or smiling, but the Snapchat tool gave them a pained look on their face. The video was captioned: “When you still have two hours left of your working day.” Another video showed someone asking their co-workers if they enjoy their job. Everyone said yes, but the filter indicated otherwise.

Keep Reading Show less
Sarah Roach

Sarah Roach is a news writer at Protocol (@sarahroach_) and contributes to Source Code. She is a recent graduate of George Washington University, where she studied journalism and mass communication and criminal justice. She previously worked for two years as editor in chief of her school's independent newspaper, The GW Hatchet.

Enterprise

Arm’s new CEO is planning the IPO it sought to avoid last year

Arm CEO Rene Haas told Protocol that Arm will be fine as a standalone company, as it focuses on efficient computing and giving customers a more finished product than a basic chip core design.

Rene Haas is taking Arm on a fresh trajectory.

Photo: Arm

The new path for Arm is beginning to come into focus.

Weeks after Nvidia’s $40 bid to acquire Arm from SoftBank collapsed, the appointment of Rene Haas to replace longtime chief executive Simon Segars has set the business on a fresh trajectory. Haas appears determined to shake up the company, with plans to lay off as much as 15% of the staff ahead of plans to take the company public once again by the end of March next year.

Keep Reading Show less
Max A. Cherney

Max A. Cherney is a senior reporter at Protocol covering the semiconductor industry. He has worked for Barron's magazine as a Technology Reporter, and its sister site MarketWatch. He is based in San Francisco.

Policy

The great onshoring: Inside the transcontinental chip race

The second annual Trade and Technology Council emphasized the centrality of semiconductor onshoring to U.S.-EU military objectives.

For chip manufacturers, free-flowing subsidies for now might come at the cost of a potential overcapacity problem in the longer term.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

The prospect of global conflict permeated the room at this year’s Trade and Technology Council, which concluded in France earlier this week. The second annual gathering of U.S. and EU officials yielded a joint statement that mentioned some form of “Russia” or “Ukraine” more frequently than “technology,” “regulation,” “investment,” “security” or “competition.”

The conflict in Ukraine, having already escalated into a U.S. proxy war, seemingly convinced the EU to fall in line with the American tech policy agenda.

Keep Reading Show less
Hirsh Chitkara

Hirsh Chitkara ( @HirshChitkara) is a reporter at Protocol focused on the intersection of politics, technology and society. Before joining Protocol, he helped write a daily newsletter at Insider that covered all things Big Tech. He's based in New York and can be reached at hchitkara@protocol.com.

Latest Stories
Bulletins