Senior Director of People Operations and Strategic Programs, Culture Amp
“Culture Amp is committed to building a world of work where everyone can thrive, which is impossible without organizational justice. We’re committed to designing our organization for equity.” – Didier Elzinga, Rod Hamilton, & Doug English, Founders
In 2020, hundreds of companies, Culture Amp included, stated their commitment to the idea that #BlackLivesMatter and, more broadly, a commitment to anti-racism within their companies. As a part of that commitment, Culture Amp published their Anti-Racism Plan: the specific pillars of our strategy to tackle anti-Blackness at Culture Amp and the projects that would build the foundation of evolving towards being a more anti-racist company. In 2021, we’ve seen the continuation of a horrifying (and centuries-long) trend: White supremacist violence committed against not only the Black and Indigenous communities but also against the Asian community, most starkly in the terrorist attack last week in Atlanta.
We absolutely condemn any and all racist violence and are committed to supporting our community through our work. A core part of that work to evolve as an equitable and anti-racist company is accountability, and that’s what we’re sharing with you today. Here, you’ll get an update on how well we’ve kept our commitments, the impact that our program of work has made, and the next steps we’ll take on our long-term journey of organizational transformation. As we look to incorporate much of this work into our “business as usual,” we’ll explore what worked from this year and expand our focus to create greater accessibility for Campers (including Black and Indigenous ones) with disabilities.
Supporting our people
Our first and most urgent priority was to support those disproportionately harmed by racism and White supremacy. When relevant, we’ve had leadership acknowledge racist or traumatic events and allowed employees to “call in Black” (in addition to our formal leave programs), and held space and processing sessions with Camp Culture, our ERG for Campers who are racially or ethnically minoritized. We also partner with AWare Catalysts to run a mental health program specifically designed for marginalized Campers. We’ll continue to offer these services to better the employee experience, and this year, we’ll also offer the program to Asian employees as well.
Throughout the year, we provided monthly updates to the company on how we tracked against our anti-racism goals, including running the programs and initiatives we committed to. We also included updates around how we would improve the experience for Black Campers. Our stretch metric was to improve the representation of Black Campers within the company.
Overall, we’re proud of what we accomplished. We have gotten closer to national representation parity in all our major locations while improving the promotional trajectory and leadership opportunities for Black Campers. Most importantly, our Black Campers are 10% more engaged and 26% more likely to say they belong at Culture Amp than our average company response.
We’re proud of the extensive anti-racism education that we’ve offered to all Campers and will continue that journey this year. For all Campers, we offered self-guided learning journeys on anti-racism, and our employees organized a White Allies reading group. We partnered with Seed&Spark’s Film Forward program to run a quarter-long racial justice film and discussion series and offered a Managing Across Racial Dynamics course for managers of Black Campers. All of our executives completed a 5-month Equitable Leadership Coaching program focused on anti-racism, while more than 70% of our senior leaders completed one or more of these programs, and more than 50% of our company has joined the ally community for Camp Culture. This year, we’ll continue offering our anti-racism education, including introducing a new self-guided module on anti-Asian hate and barriers in the workplace. We’ll also expand our library of self-directed learning to include modules on disability and accessibility to increase employee engagement around true anti-racism.
We’ve also worked to ensure that our knowledge creation and talent processes are supporting this anti-racism journey. We’ve re-factored our global productivity tools to access information Campers need to do their jobs more accessible and have audited our core talent processes, including performance management, promotions, and pay. We feel confident that these programs have an impact because 89% of Black Campers agree that Culture Amp is “a great place to make a contribution to [their] development.”
We’ve also opened up access to Culture Amp products for organizations that are doing critical racial justice work. We’ve provided discounts of 38% to for-profit businesses that are Black- or Indigenous-owned, and we have given away more than $150,000 in free software to nonprofit (NFP) organizations focused on racial justice through the Kevin Wiggins Racial Justice NFP Grant, named after our Special Advisor to the first phase of this work.
What we didn’t do
There are still some goals we haven’t achieved, and they are our key focus in 2021. The first and most obvious is that while we have improved the representation of Black Campers globally, we do not yet have a Black leader representing us at the senior leadership (Director+) level. This is a key focus of our recruiting team and an explicit goal for the 2021 program.
We also didn’t complete our entire program of work, given the level of care needed during the year. All of the commitments we canceled or put on hold were external or marketing facing, aligning to our intention to always prioritize internal work over the performance of that work.
Continuing the journey with Culture Amp
Overall, we are most happy to report that our survey data shows that Black and Indigenous Campers’ overall experience has improved. This tells us not that we should stop investing but rather gives us greater confidence that our approach to creating structural change is working and to double down on the investments we’ve made while innovating in new areas. Please stay tuned, and we invite you to join us on this journey.
Learn more about The Kevin Wiggins Racial Justice Non-Profit Program
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