Company

Inclusion & Diversity Report May 2020: Principles During a Pandemic

By Dalana Brand
Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Although the world doesn’t look the same since our last post, our commitment to Inclusion & Diversity at Twitter has never been stronger. Since our last update, we transitioned more than 5,000 Tweeps to a fully virtual workforce, introduced new programs and benefits, and doubled down on inclusion in the age of COVID-19. We’ve accomplished a lot–– and learned some important lessons along the way. 

Here are the four key principles that have guided our Inclusion & Diversity response at Twitter:

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Put people first–– and really listen

Our priority has always been our Tweeps, their safety, wellbeing and security. In February, we were one of the first companies to announce a global WFH policy–– for us it was an easy decision. But it still required a massive amount of work to operationalize.

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We created Slack channels specifically to answer questions related to COVID-19, launched a COVID-19 focused global survey to take the pulse of our Tweeps, hosted more global all hands meetings to check in on everyone, and increased opportunities to connect virtually across teams–– especially our Business Resource Groups (BRGs).

Working from home, and trying to work at home during a global pandemic are different. So we reevaluated our global benefits to identify opportunities for enhancements. In addition to reimbursing expenses associated with Tweeps’ WFH set-up, we also increased our investments in mental and physical health benefits, and explored ways to better support caregivers learning to navigate our new reality.

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Lead with empathy & flexibility

Our deep listening produced some common themes. People were having difficulty focusing, and productivity was being impacted by the pandemic. This was especially true for Tweeps from communities of color, caregivers and/or those at higher risk of infection. So we introduced resources to help managers prioritize their own well being while managing a team, foster deeper empathy between managers and their direct reports, paused 2020 performance ratings, and made room for Tweeps to operate at reduced capacity when needed.

In partnership with @TwitterParents, we launched a special listening session for parents. What we heard was that our recently-introduced supplemental child care benefit wasn’t having the impact that we hoped because of shelter in place orders. What parents–– and everyone–– needed was more flexibility to manage through the pandemic in a way that worked for them. So we introduced flexible work schedules for Tweeps who needed extra time to take care of themselves and their families, and coached managers on how to lean in to asynchronous work, allowing Tweeps to get their work done how and when it suits them. And since there’s no keeping the kids out of the home office, we launched a weekly storytime with Twitter leadership to give everyone a break.

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We emphasized decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce, even before the pandemic started, which allowed us to quickly transition our Tweeps to being fully virtual. The past few months have proven this works for us and we made working from home an option for everyone whose roles allow it, permanently–– even after the pandemic ends. This decision will help drive workforce diversity by ensuring anyone, anywhere, can work for Twitter.

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Cultivate allyship

The virus doesn’t discriminate. Unfortunately, some people do. So we teamed up with @TwitterAsians to host Flock Talks for the entire company about COVID-19 and racism. We know there’s a direct correlation between conversations like these and the health of our workplace and our service. Tweeps from across the globe came together to share personal stories about the impact of COVID-19 and how people can be allies during the pandemic.

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We didn’t stop there. Via #TwitterTeamUp, we brought together a cross-functional group of leaders from BRGs, Product, Policy, and Trust & Safety to discuss the work being done to prevent misinformation around COVID-19 and anti-Asian rhetoric on the platform. We also launched a campaign focused on #AllyshipRightNow to address hate speech, encourage allyship, and create a space where personal stories from the Asian community could be shared.

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Conversation about COVID-19 in the U.S. must include its disproportionate impact on diverse communities. Via #DiversityPartnerships, we’ve hosted a weekly series focusing on underrepresented communities to call attention to the unique challenges they’re each facing during this crisis. We’ve had 8 sessions featuring 26 speakers including: Marc Morial (@NatUrbanLeague), Sindy M Benavides (@LULAC), KD Chavez (@acluhawaii), Pamela Prince- Eason (@WBENCLive), John C. Yang (@AAAJ_AAJC), Fatima Goss Graves (@nwlc), Alphonso David (@HRC), and Jill Houghton (@DisabilityIN).

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Double down on BRGs

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We have seen record growth in membership and participation across our BRGs–– more than 30% increase since the beginning of the year. We’re using this as an opportunity to enhance new member onboarding, invest more in virtual events, and accelerate expansion to ensure representation across our global locations.

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📣 @TwitterWomen

Unfortunately, the arrival of COVID-19 in the U.S. shuttered plans for Women’s History Month, so instead we hosted a virtual launch party featuring the stories of women from intersectional backgrounds worldwide. Flexibility was key, and our @TwitterWomen leaders rose to the challenge without missing a beat. The session was extraordinary and emotional, reaching more than 400 Tweeps across the globe.

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📣 @TwitterFaith

We committed to adding even more BRGs in 2020, and this January we were excited to introduce our newest BRG - @TwitterFaith. It’s time to move beyond merely “accommodating” faith, and instead, grow towards building a culture where faith, as part of someone’s identity, is welcomed, acknowledged, and celebrated.

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Spring, for so many people across the globe, marks holy months centered around faith, fellowship, family — and food. And so, @TwitterFaith launched #FaithFoodies. In the spirit of social distancing, Tweeps opened their homes to host cooking demos for traditional dishes, sharing stories of their family’s holiday traditions.

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@TwitterFaith also hosted its first ever Ramadan 101 workshop, giving Muslim employees the opportunity to build community, but also giving their colleagues, team members, and leaders a way to learn and practice allyship.

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Representation matters

It might look a little different, but we’re still hiring! We’ve recently evaluated all of our open roles on our Careers site to ensure those listed align to our most urgent business priorities. During these uncertain times, we’re being even more deliberate about hiring, development, and promotions throughout the business to ensure we’re still advancing our workplace representation goals. Check out the latest numbers here.

Our teams have been working hard to ensure that we can continue to bring the best and brightest talent to fill essential roles at Twitter. We know that times are tough right now so we want to make it easier than ever to connect with us because we want you to #JoinTheFlock.

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Now is the time to remain steadfast in our commitment to become the most inclusive tech company in the world. Now is the time to be consciously inclusive. Now is the time to come together. #UntilWeAllBelong

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@d_lux_brand

Dalana Brand

‎@d_lux_brand‎

Vice President, People Experience; Head of Inclusion & Diversity