How SendGrid takes action on diversity and inclusion

In light of the recently published findings in Culture Amp's 2018 Diversity, Inclusion and Intersectionality report, we wanted to put the spotlight on how companies are using our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) survey to act on related initiatives. Executives at SendGrid, a Culture Amp customer, joined us on a webinar to discuss how they’ve taken action on diversity and inclusion at their company. Our speakers included:

In this article, we’ll focus on the conversation between Pattie and Sameer as they outline their three-year journey with Culture Amp’s diversity and inclusion survey at SendGrid. Before we dive in, we first wanted to know: what’s SendGrid’s philosophy when it comes to D&I?

SendGrid’s approach to diversity and inclusion

While SendGrid values diverse ethnic representation - as evidenced by its executive leadership team and board - its scope of diversity goes beyond that one factor. Here’s how Pattie described their company’s unique approach to D&I:

“Diversity is about so many other dimensions - it's about being inclusive for all. At SendGrid, we live by our 4H Values: Happy, Hungry, Humble, and Honest. But we also recently added a tagline after thinking deeply about what D&I means: it's about being 4H for all.”

Sameer agreed and explained how the leadership team puts these values into action.

“Those 4H's have been woven into the fabric of the employee experience. During recruiting, four interviewers will interview a candidate, and they'll each represent an H. When new hires arrive at SendGrid, I spend 45 minutes with each new hiring class to discuss our 4H's. We have 4H awards quarterly, and it's part of every promotion cycle. It has a huge impact on the feeling of inclusion that comes when an entire organization has shared values.”

Now that we understand the lens that SendGrid views D&I initiatives through, let’s jump into a breakdown of how they’ve used Culture Amp’s survey for the past three years to gather data and turn it into action.

Year 1: Gathering the data

According to Pattie, SendGrid’s first year using the diversity and inclusion survey was all about collecting feedback. However, it was also a year of major learnings. For instance, Pattie and her team discovered that they were trying to tackle too many aspects of the survey results at once.

“We were trying to boil the ocean. While we did the survey and reported on it, we weren’t actually taking the survey data and saying ‘Hey, what is this really telling us? Where should we be focusing?’"After this experience, Pattie and her team iterated to use next year’s survey more intentionally.

Year 2: Identifying key themes and focus areas

Year two of the diversity and inclusion survey was a very different story. After collecting the results, SendGrid did a full-day offsite with its Prism team - comprised of Gridders who are passionate about D&I initiatives - to identify key themes. Through this discussion, the group narrowed down their focus to three areas:

  • Build connective tissue: The survey revealed that SendGrid’s employees were having a tough time building relationships with each other as the company grew. They needed to scale a sense of connection among everyone. 
  • Equalize voices in the workplace: The survey surfaced a significant difference, primarily when it came to gender, in terms of people feeling comfortable bringing contrary opinions to the table.
  • Improve the experience for underrepresented people: While the experience gap wasn’t huge, the leadership team at SendGrid still felt it was critical to lean in and figure out how to make it smaller.

Not only did the SendGrid team identify these areas of opportunity, they also took actions that mapped specifically back to each one. For instance, they:

  • Fostered special interests groups which resulted in activities like a hiking club, a biking club, and board game happy hours that allow people to easily connect with others with similar interests.
  • Hosted "Fireside Chats” to give different people at SendGrid the chance to come together and tell their stories.
  • Adapted workshops from Kim Scott’s Radical Candor work. They also organized listening groups, shared articles for discussions, and formed women's leadership groups.
  • Formed multiple Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to represent a wide range of interests. They also launched a D&I week to set aside time as a company to celebrate diversity.

According to Sameer, tackling these initiatives head-first has been incredibly impactful at all levels of the organization.

“As a leader, I've certainly made the assumption that our team experiences our company in the same way. But I had an eye-opening experience when I sat down with our Black Gridders Network, one of our ERGs. I was stunned at the conversation we were having, and the examples they were sharing with me about experiences where they don't feel like everyone else. I would encourage all leaders to find opportunities to spend time with the underrepresented groups within your organization and hear from them directly.”

Year 3: Moving the dial

SendGrid just completed its third year with the diversity and inclusion survey. While the full dataset hasn’t been analyzed yet, Pattie and Sameer said they look forward to publishing the results externally as they’ve been doing since 2014. Especially since they’ve been moving the dial in crucial areas since their first survey.

If you want to be the first to know about their 2018 survey results, be sure to stay tuned to SendGrid’s blog.

While surfacing findings through diversity and inclusion surveys is important, it’s equally crucial to identify the key areas of focus and take action on those specific issues. We’re grateful to our friends at SendGrid for sharing their diversity and inclusion journey.

Curious to learn more? Chat with our team to learn how you can build a more diverse and inclusive workplace.Book a demo

About Culture Amp

Culture Amp helps you make your company a better place to work. By making it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback, we enable HR leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact, and turn company culture into a competitive edge.

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