Why Snap Should Release Its Diversity Numbers

Why Snap Should Release Its Diversity Numbers
In its S-1 filing Snap Inc. said that diversity is about more than numbers, which is true–but numbers are important too.

Buried inside Snap Inc.’s S-1 is an innocuous line about diversity: “We fundamentally believe that having a team of diverse backgrounds and voices working together is our best shot at being able to create innovative products that improve the way people live and communicate.” But it also seems to resist the idea of quantifying this diversity: “That’s because we believe diversity is about more than numbers. To us, it is really about creating a culture where everyone comes to work knowing that they have a seat at the table and will always be supported both personally and professionally.”

Snap’s S-1 says that it has invested in inclusion and professional development programs as well as outreach. But it’s hard to know how committed it is to diversity without making those numbers public. Data tells us that creating a place where people of different backgrounds, ethnic or otherwise, can convene and collaborate is crucial to retaining a diverse workforce.

“Focusing on improving culture before improving diversity numbers isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” says Stephanie Lampkin, CEO and founder of blind recruiting software Blendoor. She notes that a review of more than 1,300 Snapchat employee profiles on LinkedIn shows that Snap’s diversity is on par with other tech companies in Silicon Valley—which is to say it’s not very diverse. And while that may not be surprising within the industry, she says it is surprising for a company that operates in Los Angeles, a city known for having as many varieties of people as it does koi ponds in backyards.

And though Snapchat has expressed interest in both attracting and retaining employees that don’t fit the typical Silicon Valley sugar-cookie mold, the fact that it hasn’t released any information about its workforce makes its talk of creating a diverse culture ring hollow. Especially since the company hasn’t publicly outlined diversity goals of any kind. The benefit of disclosing diversity figures at companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest is that job candidates have better insights into whether those tech companies are really for them.

“It’s important to know that [as a minority] I’m not going to represent a token for you or I’m not going to be in charge of making your team diverse when you haven’t made it a priority in the past,” says Chipps. By tracking progress out in the open, a company may actually attract the kind of candidates it wants.

Making the tech industry more reflective of the population it serves isn’t an easy task. But the conversation and path to making your workforce more diverse is as important as getting there. Doing so will require intention, commitment, and an openness to failed initiatives as well as successful ones. That means sharing diversity numbers, information about inclusion programs, and facilitating open dialogue on this subject.

Read more…https://www.fastcompany.com/3067859/why-snap-should-release-its-diversity-numbers