The Three Pillars of Spotify’s Diversity and Belonging Strategy
Travis Robinson understood the importance of belonging in the workplace long before becoming the Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Spotify. For Travis, his career as a D&I professional is just as much about finding a space where he can be himself as it is finding space for other people.
“The beauty behind it has been because I’ve found solace in it for myself,” Travis said in the latest episode of the “Untapped” podcast, where Tariq Meyers, Canvas’s Chief People Officer, discusses diversity, equity, and inclusion with industry leaders. “I needed to believe it for myself, and why not create and step in spaces and in roles that I’m able to create that for an organization so I can allow myself to be that authentic part of me.”
That authenticity has allowed Travis to help create a strong diversity and belonging strategy at Spotify that is based on three pillars: accelerate diversity, infuse inclusion, and amplify belonging.
Three Pillars of Spotify's Diversity and Belonging Strategy
1. Accelerate Diversity
In this part of Spotify’s diversity and belonging strategy, Travis says the company pays close attention to metrics—and not just when it comes to how many employees from underrepresented groups have been hired. Instead, Spotify also analyzes data related to leadership, engagement, and employee experience.
“We are data-informed. We look at the data and slice it quite a bit,” Travis explained. “So representation for us is more than just getting folks in the door. It’s really looking at attrition and all of those pieces, and also the timing, the tenure, and what are some predictive analytics that we can think through. Like if we’re seeing black women leave after three years, why are they leaving, and at what level?”
2. Infuse Inclusion
Though Travis understands that having a successful diversity recruitment strategy means more than just getting underserved groups through the door, he recognizes that in the past, recruiters focused more on the hiring piece than they did the employee experience piece. With this in mind, the second pillar of Spotify’s diversity and belonging strategy focuses entirely on employee experience so everyone working there feels like they are in the right place.
“It’s really about shifting behaviors and making sure that leadership behaviors, mindsets, and the communities we develop are inclusive,” Travis said. “We want folks to feel that they can actually be included in a community at Spotify internally and be proud.”
3. Amplify Belonging
The amplify belonging pillar applies to both what happens on the Spotify platform, as well as inside of the workplace. Travis describes it this way:
“Amplify belonging is what you see on platform. That’s cascading of people inside doing the work to impact folks on the outside, to listeners across the globe. That is a cross-functional that's working with everyone in the business in addition to partnering closely with our equity and impact team, which covers the portfolio of corporate social responsibility; my side of diversity, inclusion, and belonging; social impact; sustainability; climate change; and actions that we can take. So really that amplified belonging is how we see the platform.”
Through this strategy, Spotify strives to create a sense of belonging for all of its employees so they can bring their whole selves to work.
“Belonging for me is where I can show up in a room, and I don’t have to think about who I am—where I know my identity, I know who I am, but that is not my first thought when I walk into a room,” said Travis. “So the experience, the environment, the people see me for who I am and see me for the beauty and the complexities. But all of that, it doesn’t matter. It’s just that baseline of, ‘We accept you. We love you for who you are. And we’re here to do the work that we have to do in the workspace.’”
To hear more about Travis and his work at Spotify, listen to this week’s episode of “Untapped.”
More about Spotify and Travis Robinson
Their platform is for everyone, and so is its workplace. The more voices they have represented and amplified in their business, the more they will all thrive, contribute, and be brilliant. Spotify is all about action, not just words, stating, "We all have the best intentions, but for us, that isn’t enough. To accelerate a diverse culture, we’ve put a dedicated strategy into action. This is it." Find out more about their investment into DE&I on their website.
Travis Robinson is a people and brand evangelist, specializing in curating connections and experiences for diversity, equity, and belonging. Travis currently serves as Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Spotify. He previously served as Vice President, Head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Universal Music Group, the first for any major label music company. While at Universal Music Group, he also served as co-chair of the Internal/Institutional Change committee for the Task Force for Meaningful Change. Prior to joining Universal Music Group, Mr. Robinson was head of global Diversity Recruiting & Americas Campus Programs at Spotify. He has also served in similar roles in diversity & inclusion and human capital at other industry-leading, multinational brands such as: J.P. Morgan, Federal Reserve System, and W Hotels. In his community and economic impact work, he is involved in advocacy and change work for equity with underrepresented communities. He is an Advisory Board Member for Diversity and Inclusion We The Project, an accredited Investor with The Gaingels Network, and is Co-founder and CEO of Zeal Culture, The 12th Avenue Agency, and Belonging.