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Remarkable Achievements in DEI Recruiting Award 2021


This year, many companies had to take a real hard look at their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) strategies and initiatives. Do their efforts live up to their promises and commitments made earlier? 

While we still have a long way to go with diversity recruiting, unbiased hiring, and building inclusive workforces, we saw a lot of companies make a significant change and push forward on their promise for progress. We saw organizations investing in inclusive hiring practices, setting diversity hiring goals, analyzing talent practices to be more equitable, and creating thoughtful and strong DE&I strategies and initiatives. 

We are beyond excited to recognize companies who are taking a data brave approach to hiring and are actively investing in hiring teams who represent the changing face of America. This 2021 DE&I Remarkable Achievements Award is a recognition of companies that have shown exceptional effort to invest in DE&I and are introducing diversity as a key pillar in their hiring strategy. These organizations demonstrate a strong alignment with our mission at Canvas—to make the world more equitable. 

The Diversity Hiring Badge: What It Means

The Canvas badge honors these organizations' dedication and commitment. These badges serve as a symbol of these companies' commitment to a diverse workforce. When you see this badge, you can know you’re working with or doing business with an inclusive employer. 

Thank you for all of the hard work you do to create a diverse and inclusive workforce. 

Highlighting 15 2021 DE&I Remarkable Achievements Award Winners

Learn what diversity hiring means to these companies and their advice on how to approach diversity recruiting. 

Addepar 

Carlos Pineda, University Recruiting Manager at Addepar states, “A piece of advice I have for teams is to lean into your team's differences. Meaning, identify something you aren't familiar with that they may celebrate, eat, or say and ask questions. Seek understanding and celebrate it. It's more than likely going to be an AHA! moment for you as you learn more about them but also about different life experiences. In that way, it'll help you connect with your diverse pipeline as you seek to hire great and diverse talent.”

Alteryx

Jamie Lewis, Manager, Early in Career Programs, shares, “One of Alteryx’s core values is equality, which means it’s present in everything we do from recruiting to onboarding to the employee experience. When hiring, we strive to provide equal opportunities to people of different identities, backgrounds, and experiences. Our leadership team, our hiring managers, and our Talent Acquisition team are all aligned in ensuring that we make meaningful progress achieving this goal.” 

 When starting a diversity program, talent teams should consider the following advice from Jamie, “Be willing to have open communication with your hiring teams about diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and examine past recruiting practices. Employers should experiment with new processes or technologies that help to mitigate bias in the recruiting lifecycle and enable an equitable and inclusive candidate experience. Remember, the road to equality can take time, so be patient and acknowledge small wins along the way.” 

Audible 

The Audible team shares, “Audible’s mission is to build and sustain a culture of respect, one that fosters meaningful connections. We respect and celebrate the full spectrum of human experience. That’s why we encourage a sense of community both within the walls of Audible and outside of them. In everything we do, we seek to empower, engage, and inspire our colleagues, creators, listeners, and communities.”

“We know that when we see ourselves reflected in our workplaces and feel celebrated for who we are, we’re inspired to express our authentic selves. When an employee feels respected because of—not in spite of—their individuality, it leads to greater creativity and innovation. We truly believe that the nurturing and full use of our employees’ unique backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and talents is at the heart of our competitive success.”

The team at Audible states, “At Audible, we call the embodiment and practice of these beliefs Spectrum and Belonging (S&B). S&B actively celebrates the glories of the human spectrum, inviting our differences to the table and creating space for all to be heard.  We actively recruit people from a broad spectrum of backgrounds to build a supportive and inclusive workplace. We take steps to ensure employees have a sense of belonging, value, and opportunity. We believe that creating equality in the workplace empowers our employees to innovate and build deeper connections with our customers and communities.”

Benchling 

For Benchling, “diversity hiring is really about inclusive hiring. This means creating and maintaining a hiring process that is equitable and that ultimately yields results that support our DEI goals,” explains Roni McGee, Head of DEI at Benchling. “Those results being: 1) Creating a process that dismantles the idea that diversity hiring is synonymous with “lowering the bar” 2) That we hire underrepresented talent and 3) That a sense of belonging is created during the hiring process.”

Roni states, “If we could give one piece of advice to other companies starting their diversity hiring journey, it would be to define what diversity or underrepresented groups means to your company and then to your teams. This will help create specific and measurable hiring goals.”

Chief

The Chief team shares their advice to talent teams when starting their diversity hiring journey, "To make diversity and inclusion a priority in hiring, you should first take a good look at your internal practices. You can explore hundreds of job boards and networks to source diverse talent, but if your internal practices don't support that talent once they're hired, you won't retain them. Start with your interview questions –– check them all for bias. Link questions to specific core competencies needed for the role. Then look at your inclusion practices within the organization. If you recruit diverse candidates, do you have ERGs, access to services, equitable compensation, and leveling? Hiring and employee experience need to be in sync if you want to build a diverse and successful team."

Databricks

Alexa Friedman, University Recruiting Manager at Databricks, offers one piece of advice to talent teams when starting their diversity hiring journey, “This is a process of learning, un-learning, and re-learning. We have to start by acknowledging our own biases and finding team members and community members who will help us see past those as we design hiring practices that truly increase access and equity.”

Degreed

When asked what diversity hiring means to the Degreed team, here is what the team had to say.

Susie Lee, SVP, Global Business Transformation & Optimization & Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging Executive Officer, shares, "Diversity hiring means hiring the best talent based on an individual's expertise, knowledge, skills and proven track record, and that they are a true reflection of the global customers we serve in the marketplace."

Janice Burns, Chief Career Experience Officer, shares, "Diversity hiring means acquiring the most skilled talent available in the marketplace that brings the unique experiences, skills and perspectives required to optimize team effectiveness and performance. It is about the deliberate creation of a talent mosaic that comes together to innovate, solution and drive value."  

Cayla Snydeman, VP, People, states, "Diversity hiring means hiring the best person for the role while ensuring we have diversity of being, thinking and actioning at all levels of Degreed. We strive to show diversity at all stages of the hiring process so we can create a more diverse workforce to better serve our clients."

Sarah Danzl, Head of Global Communications, reveals, "Diversity is more than the color of skin or gender orientation. Diversity in hiring means thinking about variety in opinion, thought, experiences, geographies, too. It means being willing to hire the best person for the job no matter where they are located, which is something Degreed has valued from our start in 2012."

The Degreed team shares their advice to anyone considering starting their diversity hiring journey.

Susie reveals, "One piece of advice for talent teams is to have strong guiding principles to use as a framework in the end to end hiring practices (pipeline, interview, compensation, onboarding experience etc)  of your company, and be the advocate and challenge the hiring managers when biases, preferential treatment or diversity principles are not achieved."

Janice explains, "Look at your current practices to ensure that you haven’t built in hidden biases.  Common practices to avoid:

  • Posting all jobs when a “high-potential” has already been slotted for the job
  • Giving preference to executive leadership referrals for open roles  
  • Going to the most exclusive schools to find summer interns and college hires
  • Requiring college degrees for jobs that can be done well if the person has the right skills and experience  
  • Denying a person to post for a job that is two or more levels above their current job level, even if they have the experience  
  • Judging runway and future contributions based on someone’s age
  • Utilizing personality assessments to qualify candidates for a position

While none of these practices may seem to hinder inclusive hiring when taken alone, the combination of 2 or more can have a devastating impact on diversity, equity and inclusion."

And Sarah, shares, "People are more than their resume. Resume’s capture so little of what someone has accomplished, the skills they have or what they are capable of. Begin by understanding skills, preferring skills over titles or pedigree so that you have a more inclusive and diverse approach to the candidate pool."

Dropbox

Lucy Tobias, Head of University Recruiting at Dropbox shares, “I believe that diversity hiring shouldn't be seen any different than hiring, it should always be about creating access and opportunity for anyone. Diversity hiring should be about building pathways for individuals to succeed, so they can bring their best selves and perspectives, and in turn, I believe everyone succeeds.”

When asked for her advice to other talent teams, Lucy reveals, “Diversity hiring isn't just about hiring someone to fill a role, but it should be about nurturing someone to succeed in their journey. When a team is first starting out or even if they're well established, I think it's important to remember the "why" behind what you are setting out to do, diversity hiring should always stay intentional and be authentic.”

Figma

Kristen Dauler, University Recruiting, Manager at Figma shares, "Diversity and accessibility is core to Figma's DNA. Our mission is to make design accessible to all. Figma exists to lower barriers at all stages of the design process so teams of all sizes can build better products together. The same thinking carries to our recruiting strategy, where we are committed to creating equitable opportunities and consistent processes for all candidates, regardless of background or identity. At Figma, this means creating a culture of shared ownership in recruiting (one where all employees are invited and expected to participate), evaluating tools and platforms that help mitigate biases at all levels of the funnel, and evolving our processes often to better serve our talent communities."

Kristen also shares her one piece of advice talent teams should consider when starting their diversity hiring journey, stating, "There's a reason we refer to this work as DE&I. Diversity hiring cannot standalone without thoughtful programs and initiatives in place to ensure equitable opportunities for development, growth, and belonging. Recruiting must work closely with teams across the entire organization to build a holistic strategy and create larger, lasting change."

Gusto

Head of Employee Engagement at Gusto, Bernard Coleman, reveals, “At Gusto, during the hiring process and beyond, we focus on the totality of the employee experience. And we do that through an intersectional lens: attracting, recruiting, hiring, onboarding, engaging, progressing, and retaining our talent.  We know that each piece of the employee life cycle is unique and intertwined. When applied holistically, diversity—along with equity, inclusion, and belonging—allows us to optimize that experience that allows us to develop products that are innovative and solve the complex problems of more than 100,000  small-and-medium-sized businesses, their employees, and the communities they serve.”

Bernard’s piece of advice to talent teams is to “Expand the aperture of what talent can be -- look at adjacent talent profiles and move away from “culture fit” to “culture add.” All too often, there is a limiting view of what talent looks like. When you look at adjacent profiles, talent teams can produce more pathways and introduce previously unseen talent profiles into the pipeline.”

LifeLabs Learning

Ashley Schwedt, Leadership Trainer & DEI Lead at LifeLabs Learning, shares diversity hiring means to her, stating, “I actually like to think about it as inclusive hiring, fair hiring, or unbiased hiring. Diversity means the presence of differences, which isn't necessarily a qualifier for hiring. Creating fair and unbiased hiring practices means auditing the language in our job descriptions for inclusive language, making sure those job descriptions are getting in front of the right people, assessing candidates on observable skills and knowledge rather than years or type of experience, creating structured interview questions and scoring, and so much more. To actually cultivate team diversity, there's no magic solution. It takes dedicated time and effort to prioritize hiring quality over hiring speed. But if the focus starts at cultivating a diverse pipeline, then it gets easier to move quickly later on.”

Ashley goes on to share one piece of advice to anyone starting their diversity recruiting strategy, sharing, “Candidate visibility, job description, interviewer training, structured interview, behavioral questions, interrater reliability, transparent information...the list goes on. No one change is going to fix everything, so audit your process and figure out where the biggest gaps are, and start there. Is there diversity in your pipeline? After screening? After the first round interview? In the offer stage? Once you explore where diversity is lacking, start there.”

Lyft

When asked what diversity hiring means to Katelyn Amidon, Recruiting Manager, Early Talent Programs at Lyft, she responded, “Diversity hiring is about creating opportunity and breaking down a system that has been rooted in inequity. Wherever I can advocate for students from different backgrounds, races, education levels, or socioeconomic classes, my mission is to give students a chance to pursue their dreams. That starts with demanding more equity in hiring practices, upleveling future talent, and building a culture that supports and celebrates diversity in our workplace.“ 

MongoDB 

Emily Cardner, Senior Manager, Campus & Recruiting Programs at MongoDB explains “Diversity hiring means providing opportunities to all potential candidates, regardless of their backgrounds and identities.” 

Emily reveals, “One piece of advice I would give talent teams looking to increase their D&I recruitment strategy is to set goals and track your progress. Examples can be partnering with more affinity groups on campus, creating a more equitable recruitment process for candidates, or increasing your employer brand with folks from different backgrounds. Regardless of your strategy, you need to write it down, identify owners, track your progress and communicate it clearly with your stakeholders.”

Pax8

“At Pax8, we strive to continually expand diversity, equity, and inclusion by attracting and hiring talent from various underrepresented groups,” said Susan Mitnick, Chief Human Resources Officer at Pax8. “When you create an employee base with people of mixed genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and generations, you develop a culture filled with diverse backgrounds, experiences, skills, and expertise. As a result, you broaden thinking and elevate innovation, driving the company forward and providing a space where employees feel represented and heard.” 

"Creating a diverse and inclusive culture requires a strategic and comprehensive approach to hiring," said Susan Mitnick, Chief Human Resources Officer at Pax8. "Our talent acquisition team uses several resources to attract candidates from different backgrounds, including Canvas's innovative technology, participating in career fairs that attract a diverse pool of candidates, partnerships with universities, and organizations that provide up-skilling. These methods provide a pipeline of talented and diverse individuals, enabling us to continue expanding Pax8's progressive culture." 

Roku

Lauren Berger, Head of University Relations at Roku, shares, "To our team, diversity hiring means focusing on bringing in the best and strongest talent with intention. Hiring people who come from different backgrounds and experiences creates stronger teams that can solve unique problems and achieve ambitious goals. We put a strong focus on widening the net when it comes to where we find talent and create equitable interview experiences, so everyone has an opportunity to show us their unique strengths."

Lauren shares a piece of advice to other teams who are creating a diversity hiring strategy, "Understanding the goals of your organization and connecting how inclusive hiring can help the business achieve those goals. Diversity means something different to each team you support. It’s important to explore and understand your starting point so you can find ways to build capabilities to do this well and efficiently while demonstrating how hiring diverse talent is a value add to your culture."

Samsung 

“A company is only as good as its talent. Adding diverse voices, ideas and perspectives is not only enriching but invaluable! Your products and more importantly, your culture will be better for it. It’s a no-brainer!” states Stefanie Fackrell, Manager, University Programs and DEIB Programs at Samsung Research America.

Zoom

Nicole Perzigian, Global Emerging Talent Program Leader at Zoom, shares, "At Zoom, we look to hire the best and the brightest from the broadest backgrounds, in order to make Zoom and the world a more equitable place. We take action to strategically drive progress in and outside of Zoom, beginning with our early talent identification program. In order to attract a diverse pool of candidates, we first ensure they are reflected in our top-of-funnel talent pipeline such has having a diverse set of external partnerships. Zoom and our Global Emerging Talent Program are committed to broadening our own external partnerships, which we are confident will help grow the broad set of talent in our pipeline."


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