#BelongAtGong: Our annual update on DEI and belonging

Sandi Kochhar May 24, 2022

We are passionate about our mission to unlock reality to help people and companies reach their full potential. We are proud of the revenue intelligence category and The Reality Platform™ we’ve built. We love that we have raving fans.  

As the Chief People Officer at Gong, it’s imperative to me that all employees feel valued, empowered, and included. Our commitment to building a company that dedicates itself to creating a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and belonging – or #BelongAtGong, as we call it – is a part of our DNA and who we strive to be.

To be the very best and to help people reach their full potential, everybody must have the opportunity to succeed in a fair and equitable workplace.

When we announced the opening of Gong Atlanta, I wrote how we “deeply value diversity, equity, and inclusion, and action.” We shared then, and still believe now, that the Gong “team composition should reflect our customers and our country.”

In November 2020, I wrote about how the year’s “challenges and heartbreaks have stoked our determination and fired up our enthusiasm.” We specifically shared our focus on pay equity and partnership with organizations championing talent from non-traditional backgrounds — both initiatives closely tied to our DEI goals.

About a year ago, we recapped our 2020 #BelongAtGong year. And in May of 2021, we went “open book” on our diversity targets and detailed the numbers.

So how are we doing one year later?

The highlights

We’ll start with the progress.

We saw across-the-board increases in representation for women and Underrepresented Minorities (URM). Gong defines URM as Latinx, Black/African American, and Asian/Asian American. 

48% of our global new hires in FY22 identified as women.  At the end of FY22, women comprised 46% of our global workforce, an increase of 4.4% from a year ago. Additionally, 40% of Gong’s senior leadership positions – defined as Director and above – are held by women, an increase of 12.9% from a year ago. 

Hiring highlights include Kelly Breslin Wright as our President and Chief Operating Officer and ServiceNow Chief Financial Officer Gina Mastantuono being elected to our Board of Directors. Attracting a diverse bench of senior-level talent will allow us to hire and grow exceptional  talent at all levels.

36% of our US new hires in FY22 were from a URM group. At the end of FY22, URM employees comprised 31% of our US workforce, an increase of 5.9% from a year ago.

The net: ​​We’re attracting and hiring a more diverse talent pool and continue to trend in a positive direction.

While the above traction is fantastic and something we are very proud to report, we still have work to do.

Areas for improvement

While the total number of URM leaders in senior leadership positions increased, the ratio didn’t keep pace: URM talent in leadership roles decreased 4.4%. We know it’s important to have more diverse representation at the senior leadership level and we are invested in changing that trajectory at Gong.

Here’s what we’re doing to make that happen. 

What is working

We are thrilled to share several programs that are paying dividends to increase diversity and belonging at Gong:

Data transparency: Being open and sharing our DEI data with every single Gong employee is essential. This level of openness helps keep us accountable and allows us to celebrate where we’re making progress while still being conscious of areas that need improvement.

Annual Pay Equity analysis: An essential part of our commitment to DEI is to pay employees equitably and fairly.  That means compensating employees the same when they perform the same or similar job taking into account experience level, job performance, and tenure. We are now entering our third annual Pay Equity study, partnering with an external firm to ensure our pay is fair and ethical.

As a company that prides itself on reality, data and insights, it’s only natural these attributes translate to DEI efforts. More insights and data = better-informed teams that can take action

Dedicated DEI team members: We have hired professionals in both the Talent Acquisition and People Business Partner teams dedicated to helping Gong move the needle in attracting, developing, and retaining amazing diverse talent. In addition, we are investing in a new role, and are on the hunt for our Global Head of Diversity Recruiting.

Looking beyond tech: We have piloted a unique Sales Development Representative (SDR) Bootcamp to increase our URM and female talent pipeline. The bootcamp focuses on attracting sales reps from non-tech industries, which have diverse talent pools. 

Investment in Gong Circles: Gong Circles, our Employee Resource Groups, connect, engage, and support underrepresented employees in the workplace. At Gong, these groups are focused on increasing belonging and employee growth. 

Last year we also increased the investment in our Circle Leads with professional coaching and DEI training. We’re committed to their growth, learning, and development as they step into these important leadership roles.

Including DEI in our Leadership Principles: When we rolled out our leadership principles earlier this year, we not only named diversity as a core principle — cultivate belonging and diversity — but we also wove DEI concepts into our other principles.

A strong “Co-Pilot” program: This program enables Gong employees to participate in executive leadership meetings and Board of Director meetings, exposing them to senior levels of the organization to learn and engage.  We have encouraged women and URM employee participation to foster our future leaders. 

As with all things DEI, these programs will continue to evolve and grow, and we’re always on the lookout for new programs to support our employees.

What’s next?

Efforts to work on improving DEI are never done. 

Creating opportunities and changing behaviors: Partnering with our learning and development team, we’re looking at launching company-wide mentoring programs, allyship training, and talent acceleration programs.

Providing a transparent, equitable, and consistent candidate experience: We’re reviewing our interview approach to root out bias and equip candidates to navigate the hiring process with confidence and clarity.

We can continually improve and will forever strive to be better than we were yesterday.

That was our commitment when we launched #BelongAtGong a few years ago and will continue to be our commitment going forward.

WRITTEN BY
Sandi Kochhar

Sandi Kochhar is the Chief People Officer at Gong.