At Indeed, Inclusion & Belonging isn’t a trend — it’s one of our core values and central to our mission to help all people get jobs. It’s who we are, embedded in how we operate and here to stay. It’s how we work toward the ultimate goal of equality, within both our organization and society. 

While many tech companies today are deprioritizing diversity and inclusion and corporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the U.S. have been stagnant across industries, we’re continuing to invest in and maintain our commitment to continuous learning, operationalizing equity into our policies and processes and being an exemplar in a space that is constantly evolving. 

Recognizing the value in a name, we recently retitled our Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (DI&B) organization Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB+), a team I lead as Indeed’s vice president of DEIB+. Equity has always been embedded in our practices, but we’ve never formally called it out before. On our journey to evaluate and enhance our policies and processes for equity, we recognized it was time to take things a step further and explicitly share how we approach the work. 

The plus symbol is a special commitment: It acknowledges that there is more to this work than meets the eye, and it is our reminder to remain agile and consider the various perspectives and lived experiences that inform our approach. 

Why do this now? In today’s labor market, platitudes and performative behaviors from companies are no longer enough (not that they ever were). Companies are under an increased level of scrutiny given the rise of commitments during 2020. Workers, especially in younger generations, are demanding action on DEI like never before. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents to an Indeed and Glassdoor survey said they would consider turning down a job offer or quitting if they didn’t think company leaders demonstrated an understanding of and support for DEI initiatives. 

To successfully attract, retain and develop talent in this environment — as well as to improve representation in workforces — it’s vital to show how you’re taking meaningful action on these issues. Here’s a little more insight into what DEIB+ means and how to develop a holistic DEIB+ strategy that will drive business transformation.

Misty Gaither, Vice President of DEIB+

What DEIB+ Means and How It Supports Better Work for All

Indeed’s DEIB+ organization sits under the umbrella of Environmental, Social & Governance, rather than under Human Resources (HR), as it does in many companies. This is an intentional decision that allows us to continually prioritize diversity work, operationalize it across the business and work hand in hand with HR as a center for excellence with subject-matter expertise. 

Here’s how we describe Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging:

  • Diversity - Hiring for all aspects of representation — from age, gender and ethnicity to less tangible factors like perspectives and work styles — allows your workforce to better reflect the global communities in which we operate.
  • Equity - Giving everyone the resources needed to thrive and succeed, effectively moving everyone closer to success by “leveling the playing field.”
  • Inclusion - Actions and behaviors that create a culture in which employees feel valued, trusted and safe to be authentic. 
  • Belonging - A feeling or sense of community with others and the work environment that makes people feel connected.

With equity, each individual or group is given the tools and resources they need to thrive — as opposed to equality, an end state that means everyone receives the same thing. A widely circulated image offers one of the clearest explanations of the difference between equity and equality: If three people of unequal height were trying to see over a fence, you wouldn’t give them all the same size stool. The shortest person would need the tallest stool, the taller person might need a moderately sized stool and the tallest might not need a stool to see clearly over the fence at all. 

Because not everyone requires the same support to have an equal experience, equity can seem unfair to some. In the workplace, it might look like building a leadership program that is tailored to the needs of marginalized groups.

The shift to DEIB+ is significant because, for the first time, it clearly expresses how we’ve always approached the work of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at Indeed: by assessing our policies and processes for equity.

However, it's easy to get hung up on the acronym itself. What matters most is how you’re actually doing the work. Here are five ways to operationalize DEIB+ in your organization:

Five Ways to Drive DEIB+

1. Study the Quantitative & Qualitative Data to Guide Your Strategy

Conduct a landscape analysis to understand your company’s current situation so you can determine what areas need improving — and measure progress along the way. This involves taking a granular look at your organization’s composition, policies and processes, including:

  • Analyzing your talent attraction process and philosophy. Where are you sourcing talent? What levels are people being hired into, and what’s the rate of promotion across your organization? Break it down by gender, race, generation (age) or other demographics. 
  • If you have a globally distributed company, asking yourself: Are we making opportunities available to everyone, including outside of the U.S.?
  • Looking at the distribution of performance ratings and bonus payouts. What populations are receiving the highest and lowest ratings? What is their tenure at the company? Are these employees in-office, remote or flex? Inspect for recency and proximity biases that can contribute to higher ratings, which play a huge role in compensation.

Look at all of these data points and more on a regular basis, then conduct a quarterly organizational “health update” to monitor your progress and set new goals.

2. Listen to Your People

Employee engagement surveys are a valuable source of data, but they are often reactive. To keep a finger on the pulse of your workforce, conduct proactive “stay interviews” with segments of your population chosen based on the diversity goals you're trying to accomplish. Implement upward feedback surveys that allow employees to share about their experiences with managers. 

For example, two of Indeed’s key governance goals are increasing our workforce representation of women globally at all levels to 50% and increasing the representation of U.S. workers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to 30% by 2030. By having targeted conversations with these employees, we can better understand how to retain them and prepare them for leadership positions by equipping people managers with the proper tools.

Engage in open conversations with people from backgrounds that are not well represented in your company. Stay updated on global current events to understand additional barriers or sentiments that may prevent them from showing up as their authentic selves. Ask them, “What are your experiences, and where could you use more support to thrive in the workplace?” 

Then, act on the feedback and make changes. Collecting information without taking action can quickly erode trust and compromise psychological safety if you don’t close the loop by making action plans accessible and measuring progress. 

3. Embed Equity in Your Policies and Processes

The first step in addressing your policies is understanding historical context. Why were certain policies written, and do they still support your goals? Do they make sense for the current environment, or could they be creating barriers to DEIB+? For example, paid family leave has been found to boost workforce participation for working women, so improving these benefits by making them accessible for all gender identities could result in improved diversity and inclusion.

Additionally, processes created during a company’s initial phase may not have been built to scale or may unintentionally exclude some populations through unconscious bias. Who might be unintentionally excluded today because they historically haven’t had a seat at the table? Hiring and interview processes in particular can pose barriers to employment and opportunities for promotion.

4. Establish Programs and Partnerships

Once you’ve determined your representation goals, design programs that provide employees with differentiated experiences and resources, such as apprenticeships, mentorships and boot camps. Either develop programs in-house or consider partnering with other organizations that might have additional resources and expertise.

In addition to operating 10 global, employee-led Inclusion Resource Groups (commonly known as Employee Resource Groups), Indeed also partners with organizations such as Mother Honestly, which offers resources for mothers and caregivers in the workplace; Out and Equal, which is focused on equity, belonging and psychologically safe environments for the LGBTQIA+ community; and AfroTech, which provides Black employees and other employees of color with mentorship and sponsorship opportunities. 

Partnering is a signal to job seekers and current employees that we are doing the work, we're doing it in a meaningful way and we're doing it well — but we don't have all the answers.

5. Encourage Allyship and Action

On the road to equality and doing things equitably, don’t play into the narrative that we have to “fix” women or people in marginalized groups in order to get there. If a group is known to carry an extra burden, why should they alone take on the additional work of a training program? They’re not the problem. We need to look at structural factors that create barriers and build leadership accountability into all DEIB+ efforts. 

To address systemic issues, make DEIB+ activities and learning experiences available to the majority population and people in positions of power within your company. The MARC initiative — Men Advocating Real Change — from global nonprofit Catalyst equips men to use their unique opportunity and responsibility to become advocates for equity. Programs like this help to activate allyship and extend ownership of creating an equitable and inclusive workplace across all members of an organization. 

The success of Indeed’s DEIB+ strategy is due in large part to significant executive-level engagement, especially from CEO Chris Hyams. Because it’s not the responsibility of one group or even just the DEIB+ leader, and it’s no longer enough just to be an ally — you also have to be an activist and accomplice. It takes everyone working together, from the top down, to create a future of better work for all. 


For more details about DEIB+ at Indeed, including workforce data and initiatives, download our 2022 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Report.