A Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Update from Remote Year
TL;DR: Earlier this year, we declared our company’s commitment to creating a more inclusive platform for the communities working and traveling the world together with us. Since then, we’ve been working hard to bring this commitment to life and want to continue to share our journey transparently to keep the dialogue going, hold ourselves accountable, and inspire others to do the same.
Earlier this year, we published our first post publicly declaring our company’s commitment to creating a more inclusive platform for people to live, work and travel the world together. In that post, we detailed our company’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) journey - the pitfalls, the learning, and the opportunities ahead. We didn’t know at the time what the reaction would be, but it’s been positive and encouraging thus far.
Four months later, we’re even more certain that we cannot achieve our mission -- to create a more peaceful and productive world by fostering genuine human connections across diverse cultures and people -- without working harder to cultivate that world on our own programs. We’ve put a lot of work in over the past 4 months and we’re committed to continue sharing our journey transparently to keep the dialogue going and to inspire others to do the same.
Our first step was to create our own Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan based on the following three priorities:
We set these three priorities as our guiding lights because they benefit both our team and our customers. In this post, we will share our progress against each of our priorities, with the caveat that we still have so much more left ahead.
Progress: We formed a DEI steering team that consists of 4 out of our 9 leadership team members and drafted the company’s DEI priorities. When we rolled out our company’s 2019 goals, we included DEI as one of the projects staff could select as their personal contribution to the company’s goals. Over 20% of the company selected DEI, with the majority being staff members who directly interact with our customers - Program Leaders, Local Teams, Regional Teams, and the overall Delivery Team management. We were blown away by the energy and excitement to further this goal.
What’s Ahead: While we solicited volunteers for a Nation DEI Council from past and present Remote Year participants, we didn’t fully activate this in Q1. Simply put, there was a lot of work that needed to happen internally, including clarity of ownership, resources and priorities, before we could involve external voices. We hosted our first quarterly Nation DEI Council in April and are looking for ways to involve this group between the quarterly meetings.
Progress: This priority was challenging because there were so many places to start and it was easy to be overwhelmed by the thought that whatever we put out was going to be too little or too much to each person. In the end, we reminded ourselves that every journey starts with the first step and that we couldn’t let “perfect be the enemy of progress”. We focused on the most critical gaps in our customer journey and are now piloting the following with a few programs:
Progress: Since the beginning of 2019, we have hired and/or promoted 23 people across the company. Of these:
We are very proud of our efforts to increase the number of diverse talent coming into our funnel and will continue to do so.
Bringing people into the funnel is the first step, but we want to make sure we’re equipping our team with the right recruiting and hiring practices to mitigate unconscious biases that may be present throughout the process. We will be looking into providing the right training and resources to our hiring managers to ensure we are bringing in people who are not a culture fit, but a culture add.
We know that we’re not the only company learning and figuring out DEI out currently. There are numerous large corporations, universities, and organizations that are better funded, better staffed, and further along in this journey than us and have still publicly struggled with this. We have learned through our own journey that although it can be challenging knowing what to do and where to start, listening to understand is always the most important first step.
Thank you to our customers who have provided invaluable feedback along the way, to the team members who recognized the importance of this and have committed countless hours to driving our DEI goals, and to other organizations who have inspired us by sharing their journeys in this space. This journey so far has been hard, rewarding, eye-opening, and a true test and validation of our mission. We look forward to continuing this journey together with your collective help and support.
If you’d like to contribute to the efforts or have feedback, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All messages will be read by our leadership team.