Diversity and inclusion at Asana
July 31st, 2019
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) aren’t just words at Asana. In order for all of our employees to do their best work and for us to achieve our mission, everyone at Asana must feel respected and valued, and that they belong.
We know that valuing diversity and inclusion isn’t enough. Diversity impacts business, inclusion impacts culture, and together they lead to business success. We’re building our company and our culture the same way that we build our product: careful craftsmanship, design, testing, and iteration. It takes every single person at Asana to create the environment that we want to uphold, and we believe we need everyone’s involvement in order to make our diversity and inclusion goals a reality.
We also know that we live in an imperfect world, where certain groups are more acutely underserved and underrepresented. The work we do on our culture is never done, and we place the attention and resources on continuing to evolve our D&I approach to ensure that we address real-world circumstances and experiences head-on.
Each year, we update and share our D&I demographics publicly. We know metrics are an important part of staying accountable toward our D&I goals. However we also believe that being transparent around where we are, where we’ve come from, and where we hope to go is the most effective way for all of us as a company to uphold the commitments we’ve made to ourselves and each other.
As we share our D&I metrics from the past year, we also want to highlight the work that got us here, challenges we’ve faced, and our plans for tackling these challenges and moving closer to building a truly diverse and inclusive workplace at Asana.
Asana’s holistic approach to Diversity & Inclusion
Building a truly diverse and inclusive company requires that we are both thoughtful and strategic. At Asana, we focus on three pillars: Build, Recruit, and Thrive.
From the employee benefits and programs we offer, the company policies we have in place to the way we audit company language and behavior, we aim to build frameworks that support the entire employee lifecycle and our D&I initiatives. We offer a variety of spaces, tools, trainings, and programs to sustain transparency and foster a culture of openness and trust. Our training programs support our existing communities while establishing standards for inclusion, and our goal is for every employee to understand our commitment to them, as well as our commitment to building an inclusive workplace, from day one.
We aim to hire talent from diverse populations and backgrounds who have both the passion for our mission and the drive to make a positive impact. Our work in this area not only ensures that our pipelines are diverse, but also that all of our processes— from sourcing to assessment— are fair and unbiased. We know that in doing so, we’ll be building a great company, and a great product. Great candidates can choose to work anywhere, so we want them to know that when they choose Asana, they’re joining a team committed to their success.
When employees feel heard, respected, and valued, they can do their best work. At Asana, transparency is a core attribute of our product and our company, and we promote transparency and curiosity through our trainings, discussions, and programs. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a large part of our culture. They represent and support our various communities and allies to create a safe and positive space. Over half of our employees are members of one or more ERGs, and the majority of ERG events at Asana are open to anyone at the company. We encourage candid discussions and create space to understand and overcome our own biases and fears because we believe that’s when real change happens. We also measure the impact of this work qualitatively and quantitatively, by including questions in our annual engagement survey on belonging, so that we can continue improving the culture that we’re building for everyone.
Our D&I programs and initiatives
So what does this approach look like in practice? Over the last two years, we’ve launched a number of initiatives across each pillar. Here are just some of our active programs:
- Internal discussions and robust employee trainings that target biases and behaviors
- Comprehensive D&I curriculum during onboarding for every new hire
- Quarterly “Ask Me Anything”events with our Head of Diversity & Inclusion
- Mandatory harassment training for all employees
- Bias training for all employees, required for all managers, recruiters, and interviewers
- Inclusive Leadership training, required for all managers
- Interview skills training, required for all interviewers
- Recruiting initiatives that support growing diverse talent pipelines
- An expanded University & Early Career Recruiting program targeted specifically at universities with high representation of minorities and women, including HBCUs and Women’s colleges.
- AsanaUP, our software engineering apprenticeship program for individuals who do not have computer science degrees. Launched in 2018, the program has a 100% hire rate to date.
- Partnerships with organizations and events that are aligned with commonly underrepresented communities in tech including Grace Hopper Conference, TechInclusion, Latinas in Tech, Lesbians Who Tech, Latinx Summit, Women in Product, Code2040 Tech Trek, Tapia, and Out4Undergrad.
- The Asana Real Talk Series that promotes candid, open discussion
- Internal and external discussions that tackle hard, often uncomfortable topics, from experiences around identity, to workplace failures. These open and honest discussions not only create an inclusive space for employees to feel heard, but also provide allies an opportunity to move beyond being an ally in name only. Over the last two years, our internal series has discussed being black, being Muslim, and being an immigrant in America. Externally we’ve also led discussions on the uncomfortable truths of recruiting and being a Latinx Engineer.
- Employee Resource Groups that build community within our company
- More than 65% of Asanas belong to one or more of our three Employee Resource Groups (ERGs):
- Asana Women showcases the work and passions of women in the tech industry by providing a platform to celebrate their talents and spotlight role models.
- Gradient cultivates community for people of color and allies through conversations, community engagement, and creating spaces for everyone’s experience.
- Team Rainbow provides a space for LGBTQIA+ people and allies to support and learn from each other in a safe and loving environment.
- Our groups have not only hosted internal events, discussions, and workshops that support their own communities, but also support recruiting programs and partnerships. This year, we also launched our first external community effort, partnering with SFMOMA to highlight local artists who identify with the various groups to showcase their work year-round in our San Francisco office.
- More than 65% of Asanas belong to one or more of our three Employee Resource Groups (ERGs):
- Manifesting the change we want to see in the world
- There are many larger-scale initiatives that are in line with our commitment to ensuring an inclusive environment for everyone, and we are a signatory to many Amicus Briefs, including:
How we measure Diversity & Inclusion
We measure and share the impact of our work internally on a regular basis. Our engagement survey includes questions about belonging, respect, authenticity and diversity. We then look at this data across teams and identities so we can identify successes, challenges, trends, and further actions needed to support inclusion. This allows us to track and improve the culture we’re building, and make sure we’re building it for everyone.
We also update our representation data each year, most recently in June 2019. Of note:
- More than 95% of our full-time employees participate in submitting data.
- We distinguish between Engineering (all Engineering teams and Data Science teams) and Product (Product Management, Design, and User Research). Technical roles that support Sales, Marketing, Business Technology, or Web Development are captured in our Business & G&A function.
- We continue to break out our Asian category into Central, East, South and Southeast Asian categories to better reflect our employees.
- We share gender representation data for all employees (shown as Global), and race/ethnicity, age, disability and LGBTQIA representation for US employees only.
Our 2018-2019 Diversity & Inclusion results
For more details please refer to https://asana.com/diversity-and-inclusion.
Key learnings and what comes next
Our biggest learning this year is that we must move toward an integrated and data-driven Recruiting strategy to meet our representation goals. Key focus areas for the year include:
- Ensuring that our ERGs continue to have impact and support our Asana communities. We’re also committed to building a professional framework for our ERGs and their leaders, with an emphasis on structure, leadership development, and recognition
- Building a more diverse leadership team and iterating on our approach to the Rooney Rule to support our recruiting goals across teams.
- Increasing representation of race/ethnic minorities by equipping our Recruiting team to drive and support sourcing and engagement from groups typically under-represented in tech.
The journey continues
At Asana, we remain committed to driving our D&I work forward, particularly as we grow and scale our company. We also recognize that in order to achieve our mission we have a responsibility to support and advocate on behalf of marginalized groups in our communities, even beyond our walls. Together we’re building a better way to work, and showing the world that it’s possible to create both a product and a culture that supports transparency, trust, and inclusion.