In September of 2018, I wrote about our ambitions for diversity in engineering for the next six months and committed to another post in March 2019 sharing how we did. By sharing our learnings, we hope to encourage others to build a more diverse and inclusive team. In lieu of a typical blog post, I'd like to instead share an email that I wrote to our engineering team last month.

You’ll see (1) how we did, (2) our aspirations for the next six months, and (3) a new way of working to help us along the way. The email is only slightly edited, mainly to remove Gusto-specific jargon and update our most recent numbers (the current column).

gusto01-A2-1

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From: Eddie
To: Gusto Engineering
Subject: [FYI] Our Engineering Diversity & Belonging Aspirations and Approach

Hi team,

As you know by now, we’re committed to building a diverse and inclusive engineering team. As a reminder of why, we have three primary reasons:

  1. Better for the business: A more diverse team will help us build better products for our diverse set of customers.
  2. Better for the team: Diversity is important for a good engineering culture and increased work happiness. We want to hire and work with the best people.
  3. Better for the world: It’s the right thing to do. We see ourselves as part of a greater community with a shared responsibility to make the world a better place.

We’ve come a very long way since we started this journey back in 2015. Overall, 32% of our engineering team (defined as those in our software engineering and information security teams) comes from an under-represented group (URG). At Gusto Engineering, we define an individual as coming from an URG if they identify as a woman, Black, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, trans, or a non-binary person.

As you may know, we had hoped to increase diversity in our senior engineering positions (L3+). Six months ago, only about 9% of our senior engineers came from an URG. Today, that number is 18%.

Here are some other diversity statistics that you should feel proud of:

  • As stated before, 32% of our engineering team comes from a URG.
  • Our voluntary attrition rate for women engineers since 2016 is still zero.
  • 41% of recently-promoted engineers were women.

We’re making progress, but we still have a long way to go. And we’re not taking our foot off the pedal now!

We spent the last month thinking long and hard about how we can scale our efforts. In the end, we’ve decided to shift the Engineering Diversity & Belonging Committee from a workstream model to an accountability model. That is, instead of the committee organizing much of the work themselves, we’ll help teams set and reach their diversity and belonging aspirations.

Through this approach, we hope to partner with the teams inside Gusto that can have the most impact. By doing so, we hope to (1) increase diversity in our senior engineering positions from 18% to 25% over the next 6 months and (2) make this amazing team a place where everyone feels that they belong.

Thank you for all your continued support for the Engineering Diversity and Belonging Committee. If you have any feedback or suggestions on how we can improve, please let us know by joining our Slack channel, or come by our bi-weekly meeting.

Below, you'll find what we've decided to focus on in the Engineering organization:

Focus Aspirations for the next 6 months Responsible Team Current
# of woman/non-binary directly reporting to Eddie At least one Eddie
0
URG candidates who get a phone screen1 30% Eng Recruiting
23%
URG managers3 15% Eng Staff
24%
URG individuals who answer positively4 to the employee engagement question: “I would recommend Gusto as a great place to work” Variance among URGs and non-URGs by no more than 5% Eng Staff
-4%2
URG promotion rates Variance among URGs and non-URGs by no more than 10% Promotion Committee
Put up for promotion: 18%
Approved for promotion: -13%2
Compensation across gender and ethnicity Compa Ratio difference of 3% or less. Compensation Committee
Compa ratios:
100.6% for Men
100.5% for Women
101% for Ethnicity
Senior URG Engineers 25% All
18%

1 30% may not seem very aggressive at first glance. However, we feel more comfortable with this due to available URG representation for our currently open positions (of which 85% are for senior engineers).
2 Negative percentage indicates the number is in favor of non-URG. Positive numbers indicates the numbers is in favor of URG.
3 We recently exceeded our aspirations here! We’ll continue to push ourselves to achieve greater equality here and adjust our aspirations accordingly in the future.
4 Answered “agree” or “strongly” agree. Other possible answers are “strongly disagree”, “disagree” and “neutral”.

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As we’ve always done, we’ll continue to provide regular updates on how we are doing with diversity and belonging! Just as our Diversity and Belonging Committee is helping the relevant teams reach their aspirations, we hope that you, the reader, will keep Gusto accountable to our overall aspirations. We also hope that other technology organizations will be encouraged to share how they’re addressing diversity and belonging in their workplaces!

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