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Lessons in Diversity - RailsConf Portland 2022

June 08, 2022

Lessons in Diversity - RailsConf Portland 2022

This talk covers strategies and learnings from Wrapbook's journey in building a diverse and inclusive engineering team.

We cover what's we tried, how it wasn't enough, and what eventually worked for us in growing a diverse engineering team.


June 08, 2022

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  1. Building a diverse engineering team Learnings in building a diverse

    and inclusive team
  2. Hello 👋 Zaid Jess

  3. Diversity @ Wrapbook

  4. The easiest way for production companies to compliantly onboard, pay

    their workers, and insure their projects
  5. Founded 2018 $127 million in funding from Tiger Global, Andreessen

    Horowitz and others 170+ people strong 68 in Engineering … and growing About Wrapbook
  6. Back in October 2020 5 person engineering team (20 total)

    Plan: grow the team to ~40 by end of 2021 ☝ Hiring the right people is critical
  7. The Challenge Stand out as a small startup Compete with

    large established players Build a diverse team (in a not so diverse industry)
  8. Standing out is not so hard Positive interview experience Faster

    with less time commitment than others ☝ Can be compressed to a single day of interviews if needed Reflects what happens on the job ☝ NO battle of the egos interviews Remote First
  9. Why care about building a diverse team? The right thing

    to do Diversity leads to better outcomes Team reflects the diversity of our customers A chance to improve the industry
  10. Ok, but how? Start with the fundamentals.

  11. Support From Leadership It’s not about individual effort Needs to

    be a scalable and repeatable process linked to company goals
  12. Reduce Bias Establish job levels and expectations Standardize hiring process

    Objective hiring criteria 👈 As much as possible Inclusive job descriptions Multiple interviewers Record decisions independently Reflect and discuss afterwards to eliminate bias
  13. Include diverse interviewers in all interviews? Puts a burden on

    individuals from under-represented groups What’s the impact on their career?
  14. Create an Inclusive Environment Filter out people who would jeopardize

  15. Filter on Attitude to Inclusion Ask about it! ☝ “I’ve

    never been asked this before.” — Lots of candidates
  16. Don’t Lose People After Joining Make onboarding a breeze Assign

    an onboarding buddy Improve and iterate with each new hire
  17. So how did this all work out?

  18. Great feedback from candidates… …regardless of success in the interview

    process Engineering Grew from 5 to 21 by Oct 2021 BUT…
  19. Not making progress on gender diversity ~10% Women/NB representation on

    Oct 1st, down from 20% 🤔 But this was supposed to be working...
  20. Double down Set OKR for gender diversity: • 20% 👈

    Too low • 30% 👈 OK for industry • 50% 👈 Matches census, improves representation in the industry
  21. Never Compromise on Rubric and Expectations 🙅 Never compromise on

    standards 💭 Be aware of unconscious biases
  22. What did we try?

  23. Partner with Organizations Helps, but not enough on its own

    BIPOC and Woman/NB Industry Groups
  24. Reserve a Role? This doesn’t scale Discriminatory: What happens if

    we get a qualified candidate? A role reserved for under-represented groups
  25. Rooney Rule Works fine if trying to fill 1-2 positions

    Doesn’t work if you’re hiring people as they pass the interview The policy originally required every team with a vacancy to interview at least one diverse candidate before making a new hire.
  26. Leverage Sourcing Efforts Some success Top of the hiring funnel

    dried up Source underrepresented groups for a month
  27. 💡 Create a Database Of Names Thousands of female names

    Include black, latino and other ethnicities Use these as part of the search terms ✅ Success!
  28. Make the Strategy Permanent Sourcing: 100% focused on improving diversity

    on the team Applicants: Any background Referrals: Any background ✅ Non-discriminatory. ✅ Repeatable. ✅ Scalable.
  29. The result?

  30. Gender Diversity at Wrapbook Today >32% female/non-binary representation (from a

    low of 11% in October) …and growing
  31. Recap Diversity from the start Reduce bias Focus on inclusion

    Company and leadership buy-in Talent team is a key partner Sourcing focused on underrepresented groups Increased gender diversity from 11% to >32%
  32. → Join Wrapbook wrapbook.com/careers