This is a guest post by Nancy Vance, the director of talent, diversity, and inclusion at Classy.
With the launch of our third-annual diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) report, I am struck by how much has changed in three years. When we launched our first report in 2018, we were one of the first companies in San Diego willing to open the curtain and shine a light on our internal practices and demographic data. This wasn’t an easy exercise, but we knew we had to look in the mirror if we wanted to truly stand for something (a foundational Classy core value).
Today, more than ever, employees, candidates, and customers are all demanding this type of transparency because DEI is now a global conversation. Transparency and accountability are considered “table stakes” across all markets and sectors. I am so proud that Classy has played a role in normalizing the sharing of information like our DEI activities, and we hope that it becomes as standard as reading about a company’s founding story on their website.
Our most recent DEI report dives into how Classy zeroed in on policy and partnerships to advance our DEI goals, while creating meaningful value throughout the process. After several years of establishing a formal DEI framework, we knew it was time to kick the accountability and governance into high gear. As a sneak peek, this post elaborates on some meaningful milestones shaping Classy’s DEI initiatives through policy and partnerships.
Assembling a DEI Committee
We needed outside expertise and quickly assembled our first-ever DEI committee, consisting of both external changemakers and internal Classy employees. Thanks to our chief impact officer’s vast network, we were able to find the perfect set of external subject matter experts to advise us on our DEI journey.
Internally, we went through a rigorous vetting process (inclusive of interviews and essays) to select committed employees with unique perspectives. The committee convenes formally twice annually and is available on an as-needed basis to provide feedback on policies, programs, and initiatives.
This committee helped us stress-test our assumptions, and validated (and in some cases, debunked) our thought process.
Creating a Diversity Dimension Hiring Checkpoint
In our hiring process, we implemented the diversity dimension as a checkpoint to ensure every candidate slate is reflecting at least one dimension of diversity before we move a candidate forward to an offer.
As a direct result of this process change, we were able to double the percentage of ethnically diverse hires in just seven short months. This policy, coupled with dissolving geographical restrictions due to COVID, have enabled us to prioritize and ensure diversity across our hiring process.
Establishing Stakeholder Policy and Community Guidelines
At the turn of 2020, we established our first-ever stakeholder policy and community guidelines to serve as a code of conduct with our customers and community. Though this is uncharted territory (and we are still working out the kinks), we now have a very solid blueprint of how our mission and values relate to our customers and product.
The process is led by Classy’s head of sustainability and stakeholder impact in partnership with our general counsel and our DEI committee, who continue to shape improvements and iterations.
Attaining Our B Corp Certification
The B Corp Certification measures inclusive values that help us quantify and shape the way we treat employees, customers, vendors, our community, and more. It also provides guardrails against some of the more superficial gestures that will fail to yield meaningful results. We’ll continue to use the assessment and the B Corp community assess our programs and ensure progress.
We’re proud of what we accomplished in 2020, and are excited to move even further beyond positive intent to effect tangible change.