Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, Silicon Valley Female Leaders Urge Tech Firms to Measure Diversity Right

Former Reddit CEO and other prominent tech leaders launch Project Include.

BySusanna Kim
May 04, 2016, 1:21 PM

— -- Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao and other female tech leaders have shared some do's and don'ts for companies to improve inclusion and diversity in their industry, including specific recommendations.

Project Include was launched Tuesday by the eight women, including engineers from Pinterest and Slack Technologies. The group shares seven recommendations, detailing how tech companies, big and small, can make improvements in training and resolving conflicts.

When Pao was the CEO of Reddit, she eliminated salary negotiations, which she said can be detrimental to women. Last year, Pao lost her lawsuit against her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, with accusations of gender discrimination.

Project Include's recommendations also touch on harassment. The group recommends making one of the first 25 hires within a company a human resources person and have a clear anti-harassment policy.

Among the group's recommendations is to measure diversity and inclusion for the sake of accountability.

Here are some other do's and don'ts that Project Include shares when it comes to these metrics:

Don't inflate numbers:

Some companies include non-engineers in their definitions of engineering teams, Project Include notes. Therefore, they are "artificially inflating their diversity numbers with groups that are usually more diverse," according to the group's website.

Don't have bad surveys:

"Poorly designed surveys can not only produce incorrect results but, even worse, be offensive or damaging," Project Include states. "Employee distrust of company-administered surveys, particularly around sensitive questions, can skew results due to misrepresentation or lack of response. Running surveys too often can create survey fatigue, lowering participation rates and similarly skewing the data."

Do consider using existing metrics:

"There’s a lot to recommend when it comes to using existing metrics definitions and surveys, particularly on third-party survey platforms that can aggregate results across organizations," Project Include states on the website. "Doing so automatically accommodates many of the best practices recommended below. It also means that data is immediately comparable across companies."

Do share your results:

Not all metrics need to have the same level of transparency, Project Include says. The group recommends companies with 50 or more employees to publish diversity reports at least yearly, and for "high-growth companies that are hiring rapidly," at least twice yearly.

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