Unfortunately, 2021 hasn’t brought the global reset that we all thought it would. Despite progress with vaccines in some countries, the pandemic still rages in others, exacerbating inequality. We have seen a surge in antisemitism, Arab hate and Islamophobia following violence in Israel and Palestine. We were rocked by revelations of unmarked grave sites of indigenous communities in Canada, and we continue to grapple with racial justice and abuse, most recently spotlighted in the aftermath of the Euros, and protecting the right to vote in the US.
These challenges remind us of the importance and urgency of our work. At Twitter, that’s how we’ve approached 2021, and I’m pleased to share that we've made good strides––especially in Tweepforce representation. In fact, the first half of 2021 saw significant gains for representation of global women and US Tweeps from under-represented communities. Check out the latest numbers here.
We’re determined to keep up the momentum. We’re also mindful that diversity without inclusion doesn’t work. What’s the point of investing deeply in hiring great talent from underrepresented backgrounds if you don’t create an environment that constantly empowers them to share and leverage their unique perspectives and insights at your company?
Our Business Resource Groups (BRGs) - central to driving inclusion across the company
We receive a lot of questions about the work we’ve done with our BRGs over the past few years, so I’m sharing an overview here.
We kicked off a company-wide listening tour with the leaders of our BRGs in 2018 and learned a lot from them. The most common theme was around resourcing and support: Tweeps were struggling to balance their full time role with their vast BRG responsibilities, their managers didn’t have visibility into their BRG work or the tools to empower them, and there was confusion about where to go in the business for resources or support. We also heard a lot about the desire to be more globally inclusive and intersectional in the work–– but they already had too much on their plate. Here’s how we responded:
We also know there’s work to do beyond BRGs. As we continue to build momentum in our diversity hiring, we are redoubling efforts across the business on inclusion.
Cultivating an inclusive culture
Core to belonging is ensuring that Tweeps who are most impacted by traumatizing world events get the support they need from us, while also ensuring allies can learn about the complex issues at hand and how to help. As the ground beneath us shifts, we continue to refine our approach. With each step we learn and grow, and appreciate the support of our Tweeps along the journey.
We recognize the challenges distributed teams have in building an inclusive and collaborative culture. We’ve recently updated our onboarding resources to provide managers and teams with more support and guide best practices for fostering team unity and inclusion. We also launched a new initiative for all people managers to drive participation in existing company-wide I&D programs that help build an inclusive mindset. Starting this year, all Tweeps who manage people are required to get their #InclusiveManagerBadge🏅 by:
For 2021, we are also developing Twitter’s principles of Inclusive Leadership, which we’ll integrate into our manager onboarding, and launch as a stand-alone e-learning module so anyone, anywhere can take the training, regardless of role, tenure or location.
We've also deepened our collaboration with the Employee Relations (ER) team as they are on the front lines of fielding concerns when underrepresented Tweeps feel excluded. For example, our I&D Health Check Up program (a monthly customized report for each member of our leadership team) now includes information about the prevalence of gender and race-related complaints raised to ER. This helps our executive leadership better understand the types of issues that adversely impact Tweeps' experiences, including the extent to which underrepresented Tweeps feel fairly and respectfully treated, as well as the best way to address root causes.
We were honored to receive a top score on the Disability Equality Index® (DEI) for 2021 and be recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion”. We also recently joined The Valuable 500, a coalition of companies and leaders committed to putting accessibility front and center. We have work to do and are determined to accelerate progress on our journey to be one of the world's most accessible tech companies.
Despite all this progress, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re especially mindful that the changes we’re making to scale across the business don’t always reach regions around the world with the same impact. We’ve recently expanded our International I&D team including @Olivia_McEvoy, our new I&D International Lead who is based in Dublin. We are excited for what the future holds, including in tailoring regionally relevant solutions as well as programs for the hiring, retention and promotion of Tweeps around the world.
We also know we don’t have all the answers. We’ve heard from our peers that many companies are piloting new approaches to drive progress on inclusion. Have you seen something in your company that stands out for its impact in cultivating a more inclusive culture? We want to hear from you–– let’s continue the conversation! Find us @TwitterTogether. We’re in this together #UntilWeAllBelong.
Did someone say … cookies?