Reflections on Glassdoor’s DEI Journey | Glassdoor for Employers
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Reflections on Glassdoor's DEI Journey

A message from Jacob Little, Head of People Experience and DEI

Jacob Little is the Sr. Director of People Experience and DEI at Glassdoor. Jacob grew up in Russia and Germany as the child of Baptist missionaries, and his coming out process was more difficult than it should have been. Alongside his career in Talent and Organizational Development, Jacob has been involved in ERGs for over a decade, as the co-chair of Walmart Pride, Levi's Pride, and as the Vice-President of the Board of Directors of San Francisco Pride. Jacob is passionate about creating cultural transformation by evolving mindsets, systems, and processes.

Glassdoor recently released its third annual DEI Transparency Report. Our transparency report was born in 2020 out of the recognition that we as an organization could do a lot more to create and nurture a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture. Like many organizations, we paid lip service to the value of DEI but didn't dive into the uncomfortable conversations necessary to dismantle structural inequities that exist in the workplace.

During the racial reckoning of the summer of 2020, we recognized not just our own need to transform, but the opportunity we had missed to be a leader on matters of DEI. Millions of job seekers come to Glassdoor every day in search of insights about company culture, employee experience, and workplace policies so that they can find a company they love - and that loves them back. How could we host such a powerful platform without recognizing our responsibility to lead by example?

The price we paid

Here's one example of the opportunity cost we incurred by not investing sooner in our culture of DEI. In early 2020, I received a message from a Glassdoor user - a member of a historically marginalized group - sharing that she chose a job at a company that was on Glassdoor's Best Places to Work list. The fact that it had one of the highest Glassdoor ratings on our site gave her confidence that she was making the right choice. However, after joining there, she discovered a culture of sexism, bias, microaggressions, and racism. Male colleagues took credit for her work, she was the victim of racist comments and behavior, and she witnessed the same for other women and people of color at the organization. 

She realized that the organization's Glassdoor rating didn't accurately reflect the true experiences of marginalized groups - it reflected the experience of white people. She closed her message by asking us to consider adding demographic fields to our Glassdoor ratings so that underserved job seekers could better understand the experiences of people like them in the workplace -and see the gap (if any) between people of privilege versus marginalized groups. Such a feature could be a powerful way to empower job seekers who face barriers in the workplace.

Charting our course

When I shared her message with Glassdoor's leadership team, I learned that the feature she suggested had actually been discussed for many years, but never prioritized. It wasn't prioritized because there was no one at the decision-making table who could represent the needs of underserved job seekers. As a result, we missed years of opportunity to support all job seekers in more meaningful ways.

While we acknowledge that we didn't prioritize these features when we should have, I'm proud to say that we quickly charted a new course. By October 2020, that user's letter had galvanized a cross-functional team into action. First, we launched an effort to ask our users to provide their demographic data with us. By February 2021, we had gathered the data we needed to add impactful features to our platform, such as the ability to: 

  • Review pay disparities across gender and race/ethnicity 
  • See company ratings by various demographic dimensions 
  • Compare companies across seven categories:n  race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, parental and family caregiver status, disability, age, and veteran status
  • Add diversity and inclusion programs and commitments to employer profiles

This gives underserved job seekers more powerful information in their job search and adds an additional accountability mechanism for companies on their DEI initiatives. (If you haven't shared your demographics on Glassdoor yet, we encourage you to do so! This will make this feature more meaningful for more job seekers).

We learned a lot in 2020, and Glassdoor's leadership team made conscious efforts to create transformational cultural change across the company. We believe that because of the power of our platform, we have a special responsibility to lead on matters of culture, employee experience, and equity. nd we put our intentions into action.

In my next post, I'll share our 5 Principles of DEI, and how we've used them to transform our employee and candidate experience.