- For the fifth consecutive year, women have been promoted at a higher rate than men.
- Representation for women and underrepresented minorities (URMs) amongst mid level and above managers and individual contributors increased from 35% to 37% for women and 10% to 11% for URMs.
- Dropbox representation of women is 40% company wide and our leadership representation is at 41%.
- We launched two programs, Project Maia and Dropbox LEAD:
- Project Maia focused on retaining women and URM talent. Project Maia invited over 130 Dropboxers to share what mattered to them while working at Dropbox and what motivated them to stay, resulting in a 96% retention rate for participants.
- Dropbox LEAD focused on career development and advancement for women and underrepresented minorities early in their careers. Over the duration of the program, 38% of the participants were promoted and 98% were still at Dropbox at the end of 2020.
- We created a six-month Truth and Reconciliation program to help Dropboxers understand the root causes of systemic racism against the Black community in the US.
- We launched enABLE, a new ERG focused on neurodiversity and employees with different physical abilities.
- In 2021, we will expand our DEI programs to focus on the impact that managers can have on their teams and continuing to create more inclusive hiring and recruiting practices.
At Dropbox, culture is our shared set of values, beliefs, and actions. It’s how we work together each day. Our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts are a major part of our culture, how our systems function internally, and how we think about our business. Looking back on 2020, we made strides in building a diverse employee base, evolving our inclusive culture, and integrating DEI principles into our core business functions.
We introduced three Diversity Commitments to focus our efforts and build understanding:
- Hire a diverse team
- Develop and advance equitably
- Engage in personal growth
Additionally, we focused on increasing representation of women and underrepresented minorities (URMs1), held managers accountable in our retention efforts, and helped Dropboxers actively participate in creating an inclusive culture.
Our 2020 Aspirations
Our philosophy on DEI remains the same: to build an employee base reflecting the diverse customers we serve globally. In 2019, we set out to increase representation of URMs and women amongst mid level and above managers and individual contributors. We reached our goals and in 2020, expanded our aspirations to include senior-level individual contributors. We also welcomed Michael Seibel, Group Partner at Y Combinator, to our board of directors. We diversified our external talent pipeline at all levels, created career development programs for mid-level Dropboxers, and promoted internal talent to reach and exceed our aspirations:
Women at manager level
URMs at manager level
Living Our DEI Strategy Through Our Diversity Commitments
In 2020, we made our DEI strategy a reality by focusing on our Diversity Commitments as an organization. Aligned to the theme, “I am committed,” we asked every Dropboxer to make these three commitments:
Hire a diverse team
- For Managers: I partner with my recruiter to create a diverse candidate pool when hiring for open roles.
- For Individual Contributors: I use my networks to create a more diverse candidate pool.
Develop and advance equitably
- For Managers: I develop my team equitably, sponsoring team members for expanded responsibility and promotions.
- For Individual Contributors: I equally support all team members in their development and advancement.
Engage in personal growth
- For Managers: I challenge myself and my team to learn about and become aware of our preconceived notions, take action to reduce bias, and resolve conflicts in the workplace.
- For Individual Contributors: I challenge myself to learn about and become aware of our preconceived notions, take action to reduce bias, and resolve conflicts in the workplace.
So that Dropboxers can live out our Diversity Commitments, we have infused DEI into every part of their experience. See the map below to understand exactly how DEI fits in.
Now, let’s take a deeper look into what we did in 2020 for each of our commitments.
Hire a diverse team
Industry and University Recruiting
- The industry recruiting team strived to attract and hire a diverse workforce with a focus on manager-level talent. 2020 was a difficult year for hiring, but we leveraged diversity talent mapping to inform our sourcing strategy. We used a “screen-in vs. screen-out” approach for applicants, focusing on the value they could bring Dropbox vs. skills they might be missing.
- The university recruiting team created a robust set of programs to attract our most diverse new grad cohort and intern class yet. We hosted virtual Employee Resource Group (ERG) roundtables for interns to hear from Dropboxers and included them in the DEI Fundamentals Training. Externally, we launched a workshop series for students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and integrated a new recruiting tool, Canvas. Our overall internship applicant pipeline grew from 7% URM to 10% and from 26% women to 34%.
Conferences and External Engagement
In 2020, we shaped our external engagement strategy to attend conferences promoting mentorship and recruitment of diverse talent. Because of our strong volunteer force and representation from leaders, the following conferences were a success:
- ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing
- AfroTech World
- Grace Hopper Celebration
- Out & Equal Workplace Summit
- Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National Convention
- Women in Product
Launched in 2018, IGNITE gives new software engineers from non-traditional CS backgrounds the opportunity to apply for a six-month long, paid apprenticeship with Dropbox. We continued the program into 2020, with our latest cohort completing their program in April. Seven of the nine participants (78%) from this year’s group were hired as full-time employees, and since the beginning of the program, we’ve hired 76% of participants.
We also partnered with Next Chapter, a program aimed to help formerly incarcerated individuals succeed in tech. We welcomed two apprentices from Next Chapter in 2020 to receive on-the-job training, mentorship, and project experience at Dropbox, as they work towards a full-time position at Dropbox or another tech company.
Develop and advance equitably
Over the past five years, women have been promoted at higher rate than men. URMs have been promoted at about the same rate as non-URMs, demonstrating parity and equity in our processes. Here are some of the programs that have helped us achieve these aspirations:
Retaining diverse talent
To promote equitable advancement, we must prioritize retaining female and URM talent — which is why we launched Project Maia. Dropboxer participants were selected based on survey data, attrition patterns, and exit interview insights. Then, the participants co-created retention plans with their managers through “stay interviews.” Over 130 Dropboxers shared what mattered to them while working at Dropbox and what motivated them to stay. At the end of 2020, 96% of participants remained at Dropbox, and we continue to track the long-term impact of this project.
Dropbox Leadership Exploration and Development Program (Dropbox LEAD)
The Dropbox LEAD Program launched in 2020 to help high-performing, mid-level women and URMs grow their professional networks, increase visibility with senior leaders, and prepare for their next career move. Participants enjoyed career workshops, internal and external mentorships, peer group forums, and tailored assignments. As a result, many participants have taken on more responsibility and have been promoted or placed in the pipeline for promotion.
Engage in personal growth
Truth and Reconciliation: Addressing the Black Experience in America
With the increased visibility of the Black Lives Matter movement, Dropboxers were called to be stronger allies to the Black community. Dropboxers stood up for civil and human rights by raising over $1M for the Black Lives Matter Network, National Urban League, and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Additionally, in partnership with the Museum of the African Diaspora and Dr. Keith Leonard of American University, we created Truth and Reconciliation to help Dropboxers understand the root causes of perpetuated inequality for Black communities in the US. Academics, poets, activists, and artists joined us to discuss policing, economics, education, public health, legislation and policy, and resistance movements through a variety of media. This program was a top-rated learning experience at Dropbox in 2020, and we plan to continue the series in 2021.
Growing our DEI training suite
We have three core trainings for all Dropboxers: DEI Fundamentals, Inclusive Leadership, and Ally Skills and in 2020, we redesigned each to make them more engaging and informative:
- DEI Fundamentals: Added deep dives on micro-aggressions, belonging, and team dynamics.
- Inclusive Leadership Workshop: Helped leaders understand how to create an inclusive team environment and integrate DEI into every part of the business.
- Ally Skills Workshop: Gave Dropboxers actionable tips on how to be stronger community allies.
Staying connected with Employee Resource Groups
Our vibrant ERGs continued to be an important piece of our DEI strategy, with the sense of community they offered even more important given the year’s uncertainty. Here are some highlights:
- We launched enABLE, a new ERG focused on neurodiversity and employees with different physical abilities. The group hosted their first heritage month during US Disability Awareness Month with a variety of speakers and talks focused on accessibility and mental health.
- Women@ and enABLE provided insights that led to a company-wide caregiver and mental health stipend to help offset the cost and mental health impacts of working from home.
- BlackDropboxers hosted their second three-day summit with events focused on fostering community and growth. We heard from speakers Dr. Chela White-Ramsey, Alex Wolf (tech anthropologist), James White (Jamba Juice founder), and Issa Rae (actress).
Grassroots Diversity Groups at Dropbox
There are several self-organized groups at Dropbox focused on amplifying DEI — including Ladies Who Create (LWC) and Diverse Dropbox Design (3D). They hosted candid conversations and infused inclusivity into the design team’s ways of working. 3D also supported the nonprofits Inneract Project (helping middle schoolers visualize a career in design) and Blacks Who Design (sharing advice on preparing portfolios for the tech industry).
Our legal team’s diversity working group offered our external law firms their expertise to adopt internally and other teams, such as Women in Finance and the Circles Mentorship Program, contributed to our strong sense of community at Dropbox.
Core Business Integration
We’re in early stages of integrating diversity into our business through the Product Diversity Council and the Dropbox Catalyst program.
- In the Product Diversity Council, engineering, product, and design teams partner with the DEI team to conduct regular product reviews with ERGs, flagging potential biases in new product development.
- The Dropbox Catalyst Program shares remote-working knowledge and resources with minority and women-owned businesses. The program gives VIP access to our product offerings with favorable pricing.
What comes next
In 2021, we’ll continue our Diversity Commitments to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Dropbox. We’ve already set 2021 aspirations to hire, retain, and advance women and URMs at the manager level and above. Here are some of our plans:
Hire a diverse team
- Develop function-specific hiring aspirations with accountability benchmarks for our C-suite and their functions.
- Leverage our Virtual First strategy to create more diverse pipelines with regards to ethnicity, gender, educational pathways, and geographic locations.
Advance and develop equitably
- Continue Project Maia and Dropbox LEAD programs, focused on retaining and elevating Dropboxers at the early and mid-career levels.
Engage in personal growth
- Expand our Truth and Reconciliation series to highlight region-specific gender and equality issues (in Europe, Asia, and US).
- Launch a recognition program for Dropboxers championing diversity, and develop a plan to hold all Dropboxers accountable for building an inclusive community.
- Introduce DEI office hours for employees to learn about our current programs and how they can make an impact.
We know DEI is a journey, and as we become a Virtual First company, our diversity strategy and initiatives are even more crucial to maintaining human connection. In 2021, we will provide Dropboxers and managers with tools to personally grow, contribute to our inclusive culture, and help us exceed our aspirations. Our collective effort and community is the only way we will move the needle forward in creating a truly inclusive Dropbox.