Power in Diversity Starts With Data

Exactly one year ago, on May 1, 2017, Lob’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group met for the first time. The DIWG is a forum for advocates across Lob to define, advocate for, and execute actionable ways to make Lob more diverse and inclusive. About a third of the company participates in these gatherings, and every department has taken part in our conversations over the course of the past year.

We quickly found that that it was easy for us to get aligned on our principles—“Power in Diversity” is one of Lob’s Core Values, and came straight from employees—but hard for us to define concrete plans that would make the kind of impact we wanted. So, we asked for help. We started inviting professionals working in the D&I space at other companies. Folks like Ciara Trinidad (Blend), Albrey Brown (Hack Reactor), Maurice Wilkins (CZI), and Lucia Guillory (Patreon) generously made time to visit us and share their experiences and advice.

An early piece of feedback that resonated with us is that data capture is critical for measuring progress. If you believe, as we do, that diversity is a competitive advantage, then you should treat it like any other aspect of your business. You need data to measure the effectiveness of the things you’re doing.

We created a self-identified demographics survey, using Lever’s resources as a template. We’ve now run two iterations internally, and it’s been baked into our biannual employee engagement survey so we can track change over time.

Today we’d like to share our diversity statistics. These statistics reflect the makeup of Lob employees in January 2018. We’ve made some progress since we last talked about our diversity goals (where we committed to at least 25% gender and 25% ethnic diversity on our overall team). However, the data also highlights some obvious issues: we don’t have diverse representation in our company leadership or on our engineering team. So, to be clear, we’re not sharing these figures because we think we’re done. We’re sharing them because we want to be accountable to the public for building a more diverse and inclusive team over time, and because we want to contribute publicly to the wider conversation about representation and equity in tech, just like the organizations and people that have inspired and helped us along the way.

All Employees

lob diversity graph

Engineering

lob diversity graph

Operating Team

lob diversity graph

 

A few notes on how we administered this survey:

  • We included a “Prefer Not to Answer” option on all the self-identification questions. Those have been left out of these statistics.
  • We included “Non-binary” and “Gender non-conforming” answers in the question about gender. At the time this survey was administered, no employees at Lob self-identified with these groups.
  • There’s no great way to segment race and ethnicity. We’ve been tweaking our segments over time in response to employee feedback (for example, we broke out “Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander” in recognition of their underrepresentation in tech relative to members of East and South Asian communities). Internally, we think of all groups outside “White/Caucasian” and “East Asian/South Asian” as being underrepresented in tech.
  • Most companies that share their diversity figures group their engineering, product, design, and data science departments into one “Tech” bucket. At the time this survey was administered, only Engineering had enough members to be broken out into a separate group. Teams of 3 and fewer were grouped together into an “Other” category to preserve responder anonymity. That’s why we’re presenting our Engineering team stats instead of talking about our technical teams as a whole.
  • Our Operating Team consists of department heads and is analogous to an “Extended Leadership Team” at larger companies. Most companies that share their diversity statistics group Director-level titles and higher into a leadership bucket.
  • Our employee engagement survey also found that 91% of Lob’s employees agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “The employees at Lob care about building a diverse and inclusive environment.” Sliced by self-identified gender, 97% of men agreed, and 80% of women agreed.
  • 78% agreed with the statement “I believe in the approach the company has taken to encourage diversity and inclusion.” 80% of men agreed, and 73% of women agreed. We’re currently conducting an internal assessment to better understand issues that disproportionately affect women employees.