Kristina Campa-Gruca | November 7, 2019
The Google Challenge: A global company’s workforce fails to reflect global diversity
As the world’s most used search engine, Google has a truly global and diverse client base. While the company serves a global population, their 114,000 employee workforce was not representative of that diversity. In 2014, after conducting an internal analysis of the diversity of their workforce, Google realized their desire to build a representative workforce was not a reality: 83% of Google’s tech workers internationally were male, 79% of global leadership were male, and 72% were white. Recognizing that they could better serve their customers (all of us) by building a more diverse and inclusive organization, Google published an inaugural Annual Diversity Report and committed to holding themselves publicly accountable to building a more diverse and representative workforce.
The Google Solution: Set goals and hold leadership accountable to meaningful change
Since 2014, Google has released an annual update to the report to acknowledge both the shortcomings and successes they’ve achieved. In their most recent Annual Diversity Report, Google reports an increase in the number of Black, Latinx, LGBTQIA+, and women in their tech, non-tech, and leadership positions globally as well as a notable decline in attrition for these groups.
To achieve those gains, Google focused on three areas of importance:
- Systemic change is sustainable change. Google adopted a holistic approach, recognizing that institutional and systemic change drives true change. They focused on expanding and diversifying their talent pool externally, improving internal culture, and investing in pipeline programs to increase the number of job-ready candidates (i.e. coding and computer science programs for underrepresented youth).
- Data powers progress. A core pillar of Google’s effort has been to collect, publish, and analyze data about their workforce. And, as we read in Mary Mason’s blog post, anchoring that data review in a clarified purpose allows organizations to make smart use of DEI data. Google was able to do just that by identifying their purpose, vision, and using data to inform their baseline and benchmark progress to goals.
- Leadership accountability matters. To truly move the needle forward and make systemic change, engaging leadership was critical. Google provided departmental data to senior leaders, built their capacity to analyze it, and held each leader accountable to company-wide goals to foster a representative and inclusive workplace for everyone.
The Bottom Line: While data is critical to both diagnosis and solutions, leadership accountability drives lasting change
Google’s leaders were both willing and able to transparently identify and publish gaps in diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workforce. By engaging and holding leaders accountable to results, Google is able to drive lasting change.
The Talent Lesson: Schools should collect and analyze data while holding leadership accountable for meaningful change
Collect and analyze data.
Many of the organizations we work with have at least rudimentary data infrastructure in place. At a minimum, leaders should track examine hiring, recruitment, satisfaction, and retention by various demographic factors (i.e. gender identity and race/ethnicity). Indeed, tracking now will help identify areas of strength and growth, and accountability is key to achieving meaningful and lasting change. For ideas on where to start with data collection, check out Google’s metrics.
Engage and hold leaders accountable.
- Share your findings with your leadership team and board of directors
- If your organization is large enough, share tailored reports for each leader (disaggregated by instructional and non-instructional staff, team, etc.)
- Engage leadership in establishing your school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and create an action plan using SMART goals as a starting point
- Incorporate DEI metrics as a component of each leader’s performance evaluation (including the Executive Director / CEO)
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
These are my thoughts on how Google’s focus might be helpful in a school context. What do you think? What about this model might work for schools? Join the conversation with Kristina and the rest of the EdFuel team at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.