Being people-first: How Greenhouse is inspiring the evolution in workforce diversity

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9 mins, 46 secs read time

We see companies rising to the challenge of an uncertain job market by putting their people first – and winning. People-first companies embrace the philosophy of prioritizing people in all of their decision-making. They win great new hires and they win at business. Here at Greenhouse, we’ve always embraced the spirit of being a people-first company, which is why I’m excited to share this update on our workforce diversity goals.

Building a people-first culture and company today starts with acknowledging that many of us have been living through some of the most challenging times we’ve seen. From war to economic uncertainty to social injustice, it’s hard to leave your “personal life” at the door as we engage with increasingly complex work in hybrid and remote working environments.

That’s a big reason why, for Greenhouse, our first and foremost aim is inclusion. To get there, we are relentlessly focusing on diversity, equity and allyship.

That means we will ensure that:

  • Representation in our teams and leadership reflects where we live and work

  • Growth and career development opportunities are fair and equitable across all communities

  • Allyship, shared knowledge and building proximity to people who are different from ourselves will be a key driver in how we measure our success around our new IDEA efforts

This also means that our internal diversity team is changing focus. We’re excited to announce that we will now be going by the “Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Allyship” or IDEA team as we continue to laser-focus on inclusion and building our allyship efforts across our business and systems.

We’ve learned over the last several years that workforce diversity goals are important to our business outcomes. They help us measure progress toward advancing diverse representation, growth and allyship across the organization.

Greenhouse is on a strong growth trajectory and we’re on the cusp of becoming a 1,000-person global company. As we continue to establish our leadership in the Hiring Software category, our customers are continuing to come to us for what’s next in IDEA hiring best practices. As we scale smartly, we know we have a unique opportunity to establish comprehensive and meaningful goals to measure our progress in hiring, growing, and supporting a diverse workforce.

This all starts with measuring, setting and reporting on diversity goals.


Taking a look back

In 2016, we established our first set of diversity goals using US EEOC data:

  • By 500 employees, no single gender or racial/ethnic group will make up more than 60% of our company

  • By 1,000 employees, no single gender or racial/ethnic group will make up more than 60% of management


Since then, we undertook an extensive program of work to grow our inclusion programming, education, communities and org-wide support for IDEA initiatives. It included:

  • Launching our company's annual Inclusion Survey in 2017; most recently earning 91% positive sentiment around our inclusion efforts in 2022

  • Founding a formal DE&I Council, employee resource groups and affinity groups dedicated to helping us move the needle on our various IDEA goals

  • Focusing full-time on diversity sourcing and developing a comprehensive, global hybrid strategy to meet the needs of our diverse employees

  • Increasing diverse workforce representation: At the manager level, we increased BIPOC representation from 25% in 2020 to 38.5% of hires in 2021
  • Increasing diverse workforce representation: At the director level, we increased BIPOC representation from 40% in 2020 to 80% of hires in 2021
  • Developing a comprehensive IDEA training program, including allyship trainings, for all Greenhouse employees to understand their part in creating an inclusive work environment

  • During immense anti-Black racism and social unrest, we developed and are continuing a partnership with the #TechforBlackFounders consortium

  • Providing mentorship and sponsorship opportunities to Black, Indigenous & People of Color (BIPOC) and women employees to help us more accurately reflect the communities we operate in

  • Organizing and developing panel discussions and speaking engagements with Greenhouse leaders and acclaimed global IDEA speakers

  • Bringing in financial planning, mental health and mindfulness resources for BIPOC employees via our partnerships with Community Roots Financials, HealHaus and Modern Health

  • Scaling our Virtual Realities program, which supports meaningful conversations to help give Greenhouse employees the time and space to process recent disturbing global events

  • Increasing our corporate social responsibility giving and efforts toward positively impacting the Black+, LGBTQ+, Hispanic/Latinx, API and other underrepresented communities – in 2022, we’ve continued this important work with our most recent donation-matching efforts for the people of Ukraine

  • Continuing DE&I hiring technology innovations across our product roadmap with inventions like our candidate name pronunciation feature and pronouns projects


We’ve done all this to inspire confidence in Greenhouse as an equitable place to grow for all employees, to create more consistency in expectations across levels and departments, and to strengthen our internal talent pipeline for leadership roles by connecting underrepresented groups at Greenhouse with core leadership and management skills and capabilities.


Where we’re at now

When we reached our 500-employee mark back in November 2021, we had already achieved the gender component of our 2016 goals. However, while we were really close, we missed the racial/ethnic component of our goals by two percentage points.

We created new focus areas, and changed and improved systems, processes, activities and IDEA initiatives. We also worked to make massive strides toward reporting on and making pipeline diversity more predictable.

Then, this year, in Q1 2022, we were proud to announce that we had achieved our previously established workforce diversity goal of having no single gender or racial/ethnic group making up more than 60% of our employee population. By staying relentlessly focused on representation and inclusion goals, and by really keeping at it, we have been able to meet both of these goals.


Expanded focus areas and new goals

We have four new 2022 Workforce Diversity Goals that we were excited to share with our staff during our June 2022 All Hands presentation:


Objective 1:

Lift our diversity underperformance in representing Black+, Hispanic/Latinx+ and Native American+ talent among all employees and in leadership roles through tailored recruitment efforts while continuing our success with the Asian & Pacific Islander community.




Objective 2:

Bolster Greenhouse's global presence, specifically in EMEA, with increased representation of nationality diversity and of the LGBTQ+ population through focused recruitment efforts.





Chart: Global staff gender representation by race


Objective 3:

Strengthen our equity and career development approach as we continue to become a more distributed company.




Objective 4:

Build increased allyship across intersectional identities and regions by improving education and knowledge across Greenhouse geographies, levels, teams and for people with diverse abilities.


What’s changed with our new goals?

Our goals are now more globally applicable and inclusive of people with diverse abilities, people from diverse nationalities and people in the LGBTQ+ community. We’ve also added a concentration on allyship within our already robust training programming, and we’ve refined representation metrics with a focus on continuous improvement.

Moreover, we're working to shift our goals from Census-specific benchmarking to evaluating ourselves against other best-in-class companies when it comes to our diversity metrics. We have plans to work with department leaders to cascade our new goals across levels for each team, and we’ll be evaluating our goals on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. We’re going to work to make sure that we are measuring the right outcomes as we continue our exponential growth.


Insights and applications

If you’re part of your organization’s diversity team and trying to decipher what your next move should be, I suggest starting with the four following steps:


1. Assess

Work to assess and analyze your organization’s perception of your current IDEA efforts. There are many ways to do this, from running surveys, focus groups and proximity sessions to bringing in external consultants for support and benchmarking. At Greenhouse, we’ve benefited from working with a diverse array of external agencies and consultants along with internal feedback to help us create focus for our IDEA efforts as we’ve expanded our footprint globally.


2. Align

Align the feedback you’re receiving from various stakeholders (employees, customers, boards of advisors, etc.) with your company’s mission, vision and values. If your company is only seeing IDEA work as a temporary need or solution, share any of a growing number of IDEA ROI statistics to prepare your company to adapt to the changing economic landscape, and to handle the challenging solutions needed to address the next frontier of work.


3. Allocate

Once you’ve completed an initial or ongoing assessment, be sure to allocate appropriate resources based on your company’s level of prioritization and commitment to IDEA work. For example, if you’re a small business, you may want to start by allocating a portion of someone’s job toward these efforts, while spreading out other IDEA responsibilities across other roles. As you grow your organization, adapt and carve out space for an IDEA function with a dotted line to your c-suite. If you’re a mid- to large-sized company, begin by resourcing an IDEA team to start building and tackling a long-term strategy and roadmap via company-wide initiatives, analytics, projects and policy changes. Benchmark yourself across other like-minded and similar-sized companies within your industry.


4. Address

Create focus for your various teams, and work to alleviate the concerns employees from diverse backgrounds are bringing up. Unfortunately, it only takes one negative experience around IDEA to tarnish people’s trust in their leadership teams and company. Educate and prepare your HR and leadership teams to exhibit inclusive behaviors. Also, if you’re a leader, remember that it takes a lot of courage and energy for people from underrepresented backgrounds to bring IDEA issues to the forefront. So, when they do, create an environment where leaders believe their team members, and work to educate or exit people not aligned with your company’s mission, IDEA goals and values.


Our commitment to ongoing assessment and growth

What’s our why? At Greenhouse, we activate the conditions for a diverse, agile and healthy community to win and thrive. We understand that as a hiring software company with thousands of customers and millions of users worldwide, we have a unique opportunity to continue establishing our leadership in IDEA best practices across a variety of industries.

While many companies heightened their focus on IDEA during the pandemic and increased racial and social injustice, IDEA has been embedded in our work since our inception, and we’re committed to this being a long-term, ongoing effort.

We know there is still plenty of work ahead of us when it comes to our IDEA commitments at Greenhouse. That’s why we’re taking the time to create our second multi-year roadmap and strategy to encompass the breadth of our shared IDEA work. We’ve also launched our first-ever internal self-identification program, starting with our EMEA employees and then moving on to our North American employees in the latter half of the year to help us support these goals.

We expect the changes we’ve made to our workforce diversity goals and to our approach to positively impact Greenhouse and the professional landscape as a whole through our targeted recruitment, retention, development and thought leadership efforts.
The future of IDEA work at Greenhouse is limitless, and we’re looking forward to continuing to share our wins and learnings along the way with you, our Greenhouse community.


Learn more about how Greenhouse is building belonging here.

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Jamie Adasi

Jamie Adasi

(pronouns: she, her, hers) is Greenhouse's Head of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Allyship. She’s focused on building an infrastructure that addresses the complex diversity needs of Greenhouse and its communities through actionable teachings. Outside of the office, you’ll find her hiking in the mountains, exploring and learning about new countries and cultures, spending time with her global family, and exploring her hometown in the DC metro area.

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