“Building the world’s first smart workspace depends on diversity of experience, thought, and representation at all levels. For us, diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just the right thing to do, they are the only thing to do." - Drew Houston, Co-founder and CEO, Dropbox
Throughout 2019, we worked to enhance our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices and programing into an organizational movement. With the appointment of our new Head of DEI, Danny Guillory, our goals went beyond just building a diverse workforce. To create a community that is representative of the world around us, we need to give employees the tools to adopt inclusive and equitable behaviors that infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion in our day-to-day operation. The first step was defining the meaning of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Dropbox:
Diversity means hiring a workforce representative of the world and its different dimensions.
Equity means ensuring our work environment, systems, and structures create the opportunity for all Dropboxers to achieve personal and professional development.
Inclusion means proactively integrating our collective differences into our culture, solutions for our customers, and our business strategy.
By putting the tools for inclusion in the hands of employees, we can make Dropbox a great place to work for everyone. Here’s what we achieved and learned in 2019 and what we are planning for 2020.
It takes all Dropboxers to put our DEI practices into action. This year, leadership continued to prioritize our investment in DEI with a fully staffed team and supporting partners across Recruiting, Talent Management, Learning & Development, and People Analytics. With the resources to back them up, our DEI Team focused on two key areas to reach our aspirations—how we hire people, and how we create an inclusive culture where all Dropboxers can grow and achieve their full potential.
Setting and exceeding our 2019 Aspirations
In 2019, we focused on increasing representation of underrepresented minorities (URMs)* and women in senior leadership across all functions. Having leaders who represent all Dropboxers, our communities, and our customers is extremely important for the quality of our work experience, creating a sense of belonging, and accomplishing our business objectives. Through collaboration between the DEI Team, Recruiting, and hiring managers, we exceeded our goals.
Here is the progress we made:
Beginning of 2019
Aspiration for end of 2019
Actual for end of 2019
URM Senior Leaders
Women Senior Leaders
Over the course of the year we also made some key hires in senior leadership including our new GM and VP of Self Serve Business, Asha Thurthi, and added two new members to our board of directors, Lisa Campbell, CMO and SVP of Business Strategy of Autodesk, and Karen Peacock, Chief Operating Officer of Intercom.
We’re excited to be able to share this progress and hope to continue to attract, retain, and promote a diverse group of leaders at Dropbox.
*Note: At Dropbox, underrepresented minorities (URMs), are defined as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, or Pacific Islander.
We drove our hiring efforts this year through four key strategies:
- Creating a diversity sourcing team that specializes in identifying candidates within and outside of our traditional pipelines
- Hosting highly curated networking events for senior URMs and women in technology in the Bay Area
- Training all talent moderators (Dropboxers who lead our hiring debrief sessions) on Unconscious Bias
- Reviewing and revising our candidate preparation packets for applicants to entry level engineering roles to make the interview process more transparent
Partnerships for hiring across all levels
We drove a number of events through external partnerships to increase diversity in our candidate pools and create greater brand awareness. Our partnership network included organizations such as:
- Grace Hopper Celebration
- National Center for Women & Information Technology
- National Society of Black Engineers Professional Development Conference
- Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
The different events we drove through these partnerships resulted in:
- 3,400 potential candidates interacting with Dropbox
- 1,600 candidates actively entering Dropbox hiring pipelines
- 100 Dropboxers volunteering at a variety of events throughout the year
We also launched projects internally to revamp our hiring processes across University Recruiting, Product, Design, and HelloSign, a company we acquired in 2019. These process changes are currently underway, and we hope to see an increase in representation of women and URMs in these functions in 2020.
Although we increased overall representation for both women and URMs across the company, our results for new hires at all levels in 2019 were mixed—39% women (down 3 percentage points) and 17% URMs (up 4 percentage points). We understand that these efforts will take time and remain committed to improving workforce diversity across all groups.
Creating an Inclusive Culture
In addition to hiring a diverse group of employees, we also want to create an environment where everyone has an opportunity to grow and achieve their full potential. Here are a few of our highlights from 2019:
- Updated Unconscious Bias training now required for all managers in the US: We piloted and drove this training for all US-based managers with an 80% participation rate. In addition to training the remaining 20% of our US-based leads and all new managers, we plan to expand this training to our global leaders in 2020.
- Hosting the first BlackDropboxer Summit: Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) continue to be a cornerstone of Dropbox culture. They are employee-led communities that bring greater awareness to the unique experiences of our diverse populations in the workplace and beyond. In December, we held our first BlackDropboxer Summit in San Francisco. Black employees from across the US came together to talk about how we can improve retention and create a deeper community for Black Dropboxers. The two-day event consisted of career development sessions, networking, and volunteering with our local partner, Bret Harte Elementary. The event was universally well received, with participants leaving as even more connected members of the Dropbox community.
- Continuing the IGNITE Apprentice Program: In October of 2018 we launched our first apprentice program focused on providing opportunities to new software engineers from non-traditional CS backgrounds for a 6-month mentorship and hands-on learning program at Dropbox.
- Introducing Self-Identification and ERG selections: In partnership with our LGBTQ+ employee resource group, Pridebox, we updated our HR information system with additional fields to allow Dropboxers to select their gender identities and sexual orientation with a wider range of options. Additionally, Dropboxers are now able to select ERGs as members or allies to support the organizations that are most important to them. These expanded options will allow people to represent themselves in the most accurate way possible. This data helps us learn more about our communities and develop targeted programs to help them grow.
- Expanded our global leave policy for all employees: In late 2018 our People Team assessed our current leave policies and made the push to raise the global minimum for new child leave to 24 weeks. This enhancement allows all parents to be able to care for their growing families and transition back to work after their leave.
Supporting the Development of Women and Underrepresented Minorities
Investing in career advancement was also key to meeting our aspirations in 2019. We developed a number of unique programs for URMs and women at critical career junctures to prepare them to take the next step professionally.
- Piloted Engineering, Product, and Design (EPD) Professional Development Program for URMs and Women: This pilot brought 62 women and URMs nominated by their managers to experience a six-month professional development program that provided individual training, coaching, and networking opportunities with Dropboxers from across the company. Based on the positive response, we will expand the program in 2020 to include all Dropbox business units.
- Piloted Career Conversations and “Stay”meetings: This pilot provided tools and resources to managers and women and URMs in EPD to better facilitate having long-term career development conversations with managers and skip-level meetings with senior leadership.
- Diversity of participants in Leadership Programs: We ensured that our Learning & Development programs included a diverse set of participants, as well as education on inclusive leadership as an essential part of the curriculum.
What’s to come in 2020: Our next act in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Executive Staff as champions of DEI
Dropbox understands that its executive leadership team sets the tone for diversity, equity and inclusion within our organization. As a result, we have in depth diversity engagement plans for each of our leaders.
All Dropboxers are at the core of creating inclusion
Dropboxers are at the heart and soul of our efforts. We know they have the most significant impact on creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace. In order to make inclusion a reality, we are expanding diversity education for managers and individual contributors, ensuring they all receive the tools to support their efforts, and providing them different forums and resources for ongoing support. We expanded our support for our ERGs with the addition of a full time ERG Program Manager, and continue to grow our partnership network to give Dropboxers even more opportunities to engage externally.
Creating an unparalleled environment for underrepresented minorities and women
Looking ahead to the rest of 2020, we will continue programming for mid-level women and URM Dropboxers. These programs will encourage personal and professional growth, and ensure that managers are active participants in their career development.
These strategies, along with the foundation we have already built, give us the ability to create an inclusive environment. With partnership from across the company, and our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we believe we have the team, support, resources, and energy to make an even larger impact this year.