At Gong, we decided that 2020 wouldn’t slow our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. In fact, if anything, this year’s challenges and heartbreaks have stoked our determination and fired up our enthusiasm. There is so much meaning and purpose in making positive change right now.
I’ve shared a bit previously about our efforts to increase diversity on our team, which included launching a new hiring hub in Atlanta. But DEI is never one and done. We’ve recently ramped two more projects and we’re ready to share the news. I hope it will inspire more companies to take concrete action now!
Pay parity matters.
Pay parity means making sure that employees in the same job and location are paid fairly relative to market and to one another, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or age.
Gong partnered with two external compensation consultants for support with this project. It’s critical to engage an unbiased third-party when conducting pay parity assessments. The project took several months to fully scope every position here at Gong in the US to understand each employee’s role and level of experience.
Our executive team fully backed this initiative. They’ve been clear DEI champions since Gong’s early days, and have set the tone for every Gongster we’ve hired. I can’t overstate the importance of having an executive team that advocates for these efforts. It absolutely sets the culture for every subsequent employee.
When the consultants presented their findings, we were pleased to learn that on almost every team, we already have pay equity. It was particularly heartening when we heard this was true in our engineering department, where companies often have pay disparity. We immediately corrected the compensation of the very small handful of employees who were exceptions in the consultants’ findings.
This type of pay equity assessment is not common among early stage, high-growth startups, that’s for certain. And we’re proud to be an outlier on this one. Here’s the rationale from our end:
- This is about focusing on what’s right today. It’s easy as a high-growth company to focus on the future… to think about how we’re going to attract more top talent. But we also want to take care of the people who are already here. The ones who made Gong a dream team. They deserve as much acknowledgement, care, and attention as our future plans.
- It’s important to address internal AND external culture. There’s more to DEI than making people feel welcome when they walk in the door. They also have to feel good about their job when they leave work. Yes, we’re incredibly proud of our diverse and accepting internal culture. (Honestly, it’s amazing.) But we want our Gongsters to feel good about their job when they refer talent when they get their paycheck, and when they hear how their peers are faring and how Gong stacks up.
Pay parity is a great way to address both of these perspectives at once. And while pay equity assessments may not be common, we plan to do them on an ongoing basis. When it comes to equity, you have to work at it. Here’s how we’re doing that on the regular:
- We’ve partnered with consultants to establish equitable salary ranges for all our roles, and will ensure that new positions follow suit.
- Every six months, we’ll compare our salaries against market data to ensure that we’re offering equitable compensation. Our annual salary planning happens in Q1 and we’ll have another look at the markets in July.
It’s critical to our DEI work that we have a clear path forward on this one.
Now onto our second recent move.
Why we’re raving fans of Flockjay and Tsofen!
I shared in my last post about Gong’s first-rate decision to open a hiring hub in Atlanta, Georgia. We’ve already added 11 Atlanta-based Gongsters to our roster, and plan to hire more SDRs. That’s where Flockjay comes in.
Heard of Flockjay? It’s an exceptional company that engages talent from diverse backgrounds for SDR tech roles in just 10 weeks. Their manifesto says it best:
“We seek to include and highlight applications from underrepresented, underserved, and non-traditional backgrounds. We do our best to reduce implicit and unconscious bias in our screening and training processes.”
For our part, we’ve donated Gong software to Flockjay for use in its classrooms and on its own team. Plus, our Gongsters are volunteering to coach Flockjay fellows through their initial career change. It’s a meaningful partnership between two companies whose commitment to diversity is more than platitudes and aspirations. It’s shaping people’s lives. Two of our Gong hires in the US this quarter came through Flockjay and that number will continue to grow.
Our team in Israel is taking a similar route, working with Tsofen, a non-profit founded by Arab and Jewish high-tech and civil society leaders. Tsofen supports the participation of underrepresented Arab engineers in Israel’s high-tech industry, and promotes the expansion of hi-tech into Arab towns. (Sounds like a familiar approach, right?)
Last quarter, members of Gong’s Jewish and Arab engineering team started volunteering in Tsofen’s mentorship program. They learned about the challenges facing Israel’s Arab population before pairing with Arab university students majoring in subject areas that are relevant to high-tech. Through one-on-one meetings, phone calls, emails, and mock interviews, the mentees receive guidance on career planning, interpersonal communication skills, networking, CV drafting, and interviewing. Like Flockjay, Tsofen helps pave a path into high-tech companies for its trainees.
Truly, we couldn’t be prouder to participate in the programs run by Flockjay, Tsofen, and more to come. We believe deeply in the change they’re effecting in the world, and have seen firsthand the brilliant results when underrepresented and underserved candidates are provided with path-bending opportunities.
I encourage you to think about your own company and what it’s doing to create a more diverse and equitable workforce. Is it putting its values into practice? At the end of the day, that’s what changes people’s lives. We’ll keep you posted as our work continues.
In the meantime, have a peek at our careers page and think about joining our exceptional team or sending a colleague or friend our way. There’s nothing better than being a Gongster!