Twitter Details Its Inclusion and Diversity Efforts During the Covid-19 Crisis

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The company is leaning even more on its business resource groups

Twitter’s Inclusion & Diversity Report for May 2020 focused more on highlighting initiatives the company has put in place since the Covid-19 crisis than on data about hiring and workforce percentages.

Vice president of people experience and head of inclusion and diversity Dalana Brand said in a blog post, “Although the world doesn’t look the same since our last post, our commitment to inclusion and diversity at Twitter has never been stronger. Since our last update, we transitioned more than 5,000 tweeps to a fully virtual workforce, introduced new programs and benefits and doubled down on inclusion in the age of Covid-19. We’ve accomplished a lot––and learned some important lessons along the way.”

She added that Twitter’s efforts in the time of the coronavirus pandemic have been driven by four key principles:

Put people first––and really listen: Brand said Twitter created Slack channels specifically for questions about Covid-19, issued a global survey, hosted more global all-hands meetings to check in on employees and increased opportunities to connect virtually across teams, especially via the company’s business resource groups.

Brand wrote, “Working from home and trying to work at home during a global pandemic are different. So, we re-evaluated our global benefits to identify opportunities for enhancements. In addition to reimbursing expenses associated with tweeps’ WFH setup, we also increased our investments in mental and physical health benefits and explored ways to better support caregivers learning to navigate our new reality.”

Lead with empathy and flexibility: Twitter found that employees were having difficulty focusing, impacting their productivity, and this was especially true for people from communities of color, caregivers and those at higher risk of infection.

Brand said the company introduced resources to help managers prioritize their own well-being while performing their duties and to foster deeper empathy between managers and their direct reports.

Twitter also suspended 2020 performance ratings and took steps to enable the company to operate with a reduced workforce, if necessary.

The company teamed up with @TwitterParents on a special listening session for parents, finding that its recently introduced supplemental child care benefit was not helping due to shelter-in-place orders, so the alternative was flexible work schedules to enable employees to juggle work and family responsibilities, as well as coaching managers on dealing with asynchronous work.

Brand wrote, “And since there’s no keeping the kids out of the home office, we launched a weekly storytime with Twitter leadership to give everyone a break.”

Cultivate allyship: The company teamed up with @TwitterAsians to host “Flock Talks” for the entire company about Covid-19 and racism, and it brought together a cross-functional group of leaders from its BRGs and product, policy and trust and safety teams to a #TwitterTeamUp to discuss efforts to prevent misinformation about the coronavirus and anti-Asian rhetoric on the platform.

The social network also kicked off an #AllyshipRightNow campaign to address hate speech, encourage allyship and create a space where personal stories from the Asian community could be shared.

And the company has hosted a weekly series in which underrepresented communities call attention to the unique challenges they’re each facing during this crisis.

Double down on BRGs: Brand said membership and participation in Twitter’s BRGs is up over 30% since the beginning of the year, and it is taking steps to enhance new member onboarding, invest more in virtual events and accelerate expansion.

Twitter

With plans for Women’s History Month scuttled by the pandemic, @TwitterWomen hosted a virtual party featuring the stories of women from intersectional backgrounds worldwide, reaching over 400 employees across the globe.

The company’s newest BRG, @TwitterFaith, hosted its first-ever Ramadan 101 workshop, giving Muslim employees the opportunity to build community, and also giving their colleagues, team members and leaders a way to learn and practice allyship.

Brand wrote, “Spring, for so many people across the globe, marks holy months centered around faith, fellowship, family—and food. And so, @TwitterFaith launched #FaithFoodies. In the spirit of social distancing, tweeps opened their homes to host cooking demos for traditional dishes, sharing stories of their family’s holiday traditions.”

Finally, Brand addressed hiring during the pandemic, writing, “We’ve recently evaluated all of our open roles on our Careers site to ensure that those listed align to our most urgent business priorities. During these uncertain times, we’re being even more deliberate about hiring, development and promotions throughout the business in order to ensure that we’re still advancing our workplace representation goals … Our teams have been working hard to ensure that we can continue to bring the best and brightest talent to fill essential roles at Twitter. We know that times are tough right now, so we want to make it easier than ever to connect with us because we want you to #JoinTheFlock.”

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