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Gong goes ‘open book’ on its diversity targets

Data means the world to us here at Gong. It’s our everything — our differentiator and our prized product offering. So when we conduct any type of self assessment, we use a numbers-backed approach.

We’ve talked in previous posts about our recent hiring hub in Atlanta and our DEI programs and surveys. This time around, we’re sharing some internal diversity goals and data about our hiring practices. We recognize that not every tech company would go this public route, but we think it’s important to get comfortable with bold transparency.

We shared these numbers with our internal teams first, and now we want to go a step further and share them with you. Why? So we can hold ourselves accountable and contribute to a broader discussion about diversity in tech, where it’s very much needed.

So let’s talk about how our team at Gong plans to increase diversity through our hiring practices.

How did we set our targets?

We’re focused on boosting the number of women at Gong globally and under-represented minorities in the US. With the help of our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consulting partner ReadySet, we considered the average representation in the sector — and no, it’s not good. Next, we looked at our hiring targets (#wearehiring!), knowing that we’re in a massive growth phase that will continue for some time. That accelerated growth means we can have an impact at every level, in every department, and across every function. 

With those considerations, our DEI partner suggested that we can reasonably expect to boost diverse representation on our teams by 7-8 percentage points over a two-year period. With this information, and after several discussions at the leadership level, we were able to land on numbers that factored in our operating principles, our projected growth, and what we can push ourselves to achieve. We want to get there and then continue to ‘challenge conventional wisdom’ (one of our operating principles!) by pushing the needle beyond that point.

And now for the numbers.

In April, we announced our current demographic composition as well as our target numbers at an all-company meeting led by our CEO, Amit Bendov. (Pssst: There are exciting hiring announcements coming soon for our leadership team! Follow us on LinkedIn to get the scoop.)

Overall, we will increase the representation of women and under-represented minorities at Gong by seven percentage points by the end of 2023. (Our definition of under-represented minorities includes people who identify as Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian/Asian-American, or 2+ races.) That means we’ll raise the percentage of women working at Gong from 42% to 49% globally. We’ll also boost under-represented minority Gongsters in the US from 23% to 30%. 

We know these targets are ambitious when the representation of women and people of color in tech and sales is low. It’s also clear that ensuring our workforce reflects the diversity of our customers is critically important. That’s why we’re building inclusive teams, so everyone can #belongatgong. The conversations that have emerged as part of this process have been welcomed and valuable, though not always easy. We certainly encourage other companies to move toward these conversations and practices. They’ve brought positive change into our company!

How are we doing so far?

In the first quarter of 2021, we kicked things off with a 1.2 percentage point increase in the global female population since Q4 of 2020. There was also a 3.9 percentage point increase in the population of under-represented minorities in the US in the same time frame. 

We knew that our move to Atlanta and our work with Flockjay would help us build momentum, and we’re excited to see the difference that these initiatives are already having. It feels good to be part of the solution. And we really appreciated the recent shout out from The Wall Street Journal in its article, The new push for corporate diversity comes with an Atlanta address.”

Any effort to increase diversity must be backed by investments and a real commitment to build inclusive teams. We’ve continued to conduct employee workshops, and we recently delivered courses on ‘Expanding your talent pipeline’ and ‘Inclusive interviewing’. We also hosted lunch-and-learn sessions on giving and receiving effective feedback, and interpersonal and systems bias.

There’s more on the horizon and we’ll keep you posted as we pursue our targets. We’ll keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t so we can share lessons learned. Everyone here is excited about what these new targets mean for our company, and we’re proud to be working toward real change inside Gong. Until our next update, we encourage you to have DEI-focused conversations at your organization, especially if you’re in tech! Every step forward helps.

Sandi Kochhar

Sandi Kochhar is the Chief People Officer at Gong.

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