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Diversity and inclusion: moving beyond the numbers

Diversity and inclusion: moving beyond the numbers

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace has gained widespread attention, especially over the last year—and rightly so. Of course, fixing a problem starts with acknowledging it, but when it comes to inclusion, we’re divided on if a problem even exists. In a recent SurveyMonkey poll presented at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech Conference, we found US workers divided right down the middle about whether there are still significant obstacles facing women and racial and ethnic minorities in the workplace (49-48% for gender, 48-48% for race). This data is a chilling reminder of the work we need to do.

Today we’re releasing our first external Diversity Report at SurveyMonkey. We feel strongly that all companies need to be transparent and accountable in order to move the industry forward. We measure our demographics to understand where we have gaps and study our inclusion practices to further tear down barriers for our employees and the industry. By creating an environment that strives to eliminate bias, we can unlock the true potential of all groups to thrive.

I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in our goal to achieve gender parity. At SurveyMonkey, we currently have 45% female representation overall, 32% in leadership, 30% in technical, and 58% in non-technical roles. These numbers are better than industry benchmarks, but the bar is woefully low, and we’re challenging ourselves to raise it higher. We’re just getting started.

We have more work to do when it comes to ethnic and racial diversity. We’ve taken steps to drive change, including connecting with students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). I recently joined our recruiting team on a trip to meet with students from Claflin University, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Morehouse, South Carolina State University, and Clark Atlanta, and can assure you: those who place the blame for the lack of underrepresented minorities solely on the “pipeline” are misguided.

I love data and the truths numbers illustrate. However, in our industry’s pursuit of number parity, we run the risk of losing what really matters most—the “why” behind the data. To enact true change, we need to hear, understand, and act on the voices and opinions of the people that demographics and statistics represent.

To find out, our research, strategy, and D&I experts created a survey measuring our employees’ sense of inclusion and belonging. Leveraging research on the topic and the expertise of the pioneers of that research, we explored which questions matter most in telling the story of how employees can thrive in the workplace.

We recently deployed the survey internally and expect to have results later this year. The data will inform us of what next steps we need to take to create an even more inclusive workplace at SurveyMonkey, where everyone can bring their true selves to work each day.

This is important for us as a company, and it’s equally important for us to pay it forward. We will make our survey available as a benchmark-able template, so all companies can measure this crucial component of organizational well-being.

Our hope is by listening to the voices that matter most, we can all move beyond the numbers.


Our end-to-end guide includes free templates and expert advice for building an inclusive company culture.