Changing the Face of Diversity in Tech: Our CBC Tech 2020 African American Inclusion Plan

Diversity — of thought, of ethnicity, of gender, of sexual orientation — any way you define it, it’s an essential piece of shaping ideas that can impact the world in meaningful ways. In the world of technology, it’s common knowledge that we don’t have enough of it. Underrepresentation of minorities and women has run rampant within the tech industry for decades, and though companies have continued to discuss the issue, creating new roles to address disappointing hiring statistics, the problem still persists. At TaskRabbit, the importance of diversity and inclusion has been a part of our DNA since day one, with a workforce that’s 58% female, 11% African American, 5% Latino, 11% Asian, and 11% LGBTQ. Even so, we know there is so much more to do.

We always have to ask ourselves what doing more truly looks like. How can we address these issues in a way that moves the needle and exposes our team, and the industry, to more of our best and brightest minds?

Today, we’re proud to present our African American Inclusion Plan in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus’ CBC TECH 2020 initiative. We believe it’s an important step towards making sure everyone has a seat at the table and can continue to bring great ideas to fruition in an industry that is consistently shaping the way we live our lives.

Here is the plan in its entirety below:

CBC TECH 2020 African American Inclusion Plan

Overview

In May 2015, the Congressional Black Caucus launched CBC TECH 2020 to bring together the best minds in the tech, non-profit, education and public sectors to chart a path forward to increase African American inclusion at all levels of the technology industry. The lack of African American representation in tech means that many of our best and brightest – the problem solvers, critical thinkers, and those that challenge conventional thinking – are not included, and America’s global competitiveness suffers as a result. By adopting a CBC TECH African American Inclusion Plan, organizations are expressing their commitment to use their unique capabilities and networks to contribute to increasing diversity in the tech industry.

TaskRabbit

TaskRabbit’s mission is to revolutionize everyday work. Our platform is dedicated to democratizing the way people work, giving them a destination to find help and the flexibility to create their ideal workplace. This gives us the unique opportunity to increase inclusion within the technology industry.

TaskRabbit has taken a special approach to building a two-sided marketplace that empowers everyday people to earn money on their own terms. We are the only platform that offers a wide array of services, across a variety of categories — handyman services, cleaning, delivery, moving, and personal tasks. Our service is offered in 13 states and 18 cities across the U.S. with over 50,000 vetted Taskers available to help. Our Taskers are able to set their own hours and enjoy workplace flexibility, no degrees or credentials required We are building a new class of skilled professionals and have removed the friction of the traditional hiring process to allow individuals to make meaningful contributions.

At TaskRabbit HQ, we think being open and approachable is the foundation of diversity, which is why we prioritize direct communication and invest in resources to make sure our team can successfully harness the skills and tools they need to have clear, productive conversations with one another. All employees work cross-functionally and interact directly with everyone in the company, creating a tight-knit, respectful community where people can depend on one other.

We know that diversity is critical to success and leads to organizational effectiveness and improved learnings from customers and employees. It can result in increased market share, productivity, improved retention and strengthened community relationships. Working to gain an inclusive environment will appeal to the best and brightest candidates and generate a more diverse company.

We are proud of our diversity recruiting efforts to date and can report that 11 percent of our company identifies as African American. Our approach has been to partner and build relationships with groups that can help us connect with underrepresented candidates, to mentor these candidates once they have joined our team, and to support the diverse members of our leadership team to maintain an active presence in the community and share their stories.

TaskRabbit is providing equal opportunities to people around the world to earn a living and connect with others in their community. Our product is working to generate change and will play a role in increasing the number of African Americans in the technology industry.

 

TaskRabbit’s Action Items

Outcome #1: Increase the representation of African American talent in our company from 11 percent to 13 percent by the end of 2016 in order to reflect the population in the United States.

Importance: African Americans make up 13.2 percent of the nation’s population,
however, at many companies only make up 2 percent or less of a company’s workforce. Our company should reflect the diverse country we live in and the best and brightest should be sourced from all ethnic groups.

Action Steps:

  • Maintain our partnership with CODE 2040 to continue to recruit African American talent.
  • Continue to have diverse members of our Executive team participate in public speaking events to help generate awareness and share our recruiting efforts.
  • Offer one annual internship (at least 20 percent of company’s internships) to African American students to provide experiential education opportunities through which they can gain experience, leadership and communication skills to help prepare them to enter the workforce.
  • Devote 20 percent of the company’s external recruiting budget and 20 percent of the hiring manager’s recruiting time to sponsor and attend one career fair or conference annually, focused on African American recruitment to generate awareness and develop connections.
  • Starting in May 2016, post all job descriptions on at least three job boards specifically to recruit African Americans. This may include college job boards that target these communities.
  • By the end of 2016, collect Equal Employment Opportunity Commission approved information from our Tasker community (50K+ people) to understand the demographics of that group. Increase recruiting and marketing efforts to ensure that the diversity of the nation’s population is reflected in this community.

Outcome #2: Retain African American employees by developing a supportive, diversity-friendly culture.

Importance: A lack of support, community and resources is a threat to
underrepresented groups in the workforce and can lead to attrition. It’s vital to provide support and opportunities to these groups in order for them to build a strong foundation and thrive.

Action Steps:

  • Continue to maintain and cultivate an open and approachable office culture by providing employees with annual communication training, scheduling weekly company wide meetings for employees to share ideas and feedback, sharing business statistics and financial information on a monthly basis.
  • Starting in May 2016, provide mentorship and support by pairing employees with a more senior team member who is also from an underrepresented group.
    Starting in July 2016, provide networking and public speaking opportunities to all employees in this group, once a year. Sponsor their participation in a conference, hackathon or special event.
  • Starting in June 2016, coordinate gatherings once a quarter for African American employees in the office. Bring in inspirational speakers to meet with the group at least once a year.
  • Recognize and celebrate major events and holidays within African American communities.

Outcome #3: Increase awareness and educate our company on the importance of diversity and understanding unconscious bias to support the recruitment and retention of African Americans.

Importance: Unconscious bias can plague companies and lead to unfair recruiting,
hiring and evaluation practices, creating a homogeneous culture. It’s
important to distinguish and identify this behavior to generate awareness and encourage unprejudiced interactions and conduct.

Action Steps:

  • Starting in June 2016, host one workshop per year on diversity and unconscious bias. Train all new managers as they join the team, specifically on how to recruit for diversity.
  • By September 2016, analyze and identify barriers to inclusive recruitment, interviewing and hiring. Train hiring team on how bias and interviewing skills can affect employee selection and create barriers.
  • By December 2016, measure our effectiveness. Collect and analyze data on recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and retention and develop list of best practices.

Outcome #4: Strengthen awareness around the importance of increasing diversity within the technology industry by sharing our initiatives and the results of our efforts with the public.

Importance: By publicly sharing our efforts and progress, we hope to inspire others to take action and develop their own initiatives to increase diversity within their company. Transparency generates conversations, and encourages our accountability and the longevity of our efforts.

Action Steps:

  • By September 2016, revamp and maintain the careers page on our company website to share current diversity efforts and data. Post testimonials from underrepresented employees.
  • By December 2016, publish data on company website after analyzing recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and retention efforts. Continue to update website with current data each quarter.

 

Partnership Opportunities:

Code 2040 creates access, awareness, and opportunities for top Black and Latino/a engineering talent to ensure their leadership in the innovation economy. We will continue to partner with CODE 2040 to source intern candidates and develop relationships with Black and Latinos interested in entering the technology industry.

Paradigm Consulting partners with companies to build strong, more inclusive organizations. We will partner with Paradigm to train our team to recognize and minimize biased behavior, contributing to a more effective and inclusive culture.

Management Leadership for Tomorrow equips high potential minorities with the winning playbook and personalized coaching that allows them to reach their full leadership potential and maximize their impact at every stage of their careers. We will partner with ML4T to help attract, develop and retain diverse, high potential talent by tapping into their large network.

 

Learn More:

TaskRabbit, www.taskrabbit.com/careers, Emily Bergen: emily@taskrabbit.com
Congressional Black Caucus, https://cbc-butterfield.house.gov/tech

TaskRabbit

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