Ripple was founded in 2012 to realize the vision of the Internet of Value and has grown to 500 employees across 9 global locations.
Alison Crawford is the Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, with a focus on initiatives and programming that ensure every employee can bring their whole selves to work.
During a great conversation, we learned so much about what it takes to build a DEI program, get the executive leadership team involved, and improve company culture to be inclusive of all employee identities.
What does demographic data enable DEI leaders and their teams to do?
Alison: Executing a global self-ID campaign is no small feat, whether at a public company with 30k employees or a venture-backed company with closer to 500 employees. It’s important to have an understanding of how the results will serve not only the company, but make the experience better for all employees at every stage of their tenure.
Collecting demographic data first enables us to better understand our current workforce and identify the biggest opportunities for representation. Sometimes we make assumptions on how “diverse” a team is since we’ve all been remote. It’s really easy for people to fly under the radar. Especially for the “onlys” on a team.
“It’s not hard to build a diverse organization but it’s hard to build an equitable one.”
With a solid baseline established, we look for additional opportunities to provide best-in-class employee benefits. We gather demographic data beyond what’s required by EEOC (employee participation is completely optional) to surface things like gender identity, sexual orientation, and caregiver status. This not only allows us to surface disparities across geographic regions (eg., paid parental leave in the UK vs US) but also ensures that we’re offering benefits to employees that really allow them to transition to their next phase of life. Whatever that looks and feels like.
How did you go about collecting self-ID demographic data for a global team?
Alison: We use ChartHop for the end-to-end process.
“Having used other solutions in past roles, I appreciate that the functionality in ChartHop allows DEI leaders to be agile and hands-on with survey questions without relying on an external team.”
I’m able to preview the form and immediately go back in and make necessary changes if anything doesn’t look or feel right.
Creating the custom forms in the ChartHop platform allows me to tailor the survey to each of our geographic regions. This is really important because depending on where employees are located, the questions could look drastically different (eg., race and ethnicity categories available in the UK will look different from Brazil). We’re also very intentional in making sure the categories that appear on each regions’ form are aligned with what’s available on their local census.
I then filter and pull a report within ChartHop of employees in each region and send the appropriate form to each group directly from the platform. By doing everything in one place, I’m able to send reminders as needed, keep track of completion rates and share out milestones. For example, the completion rate for non-US employees was 75%, which is well ahead of industry averages! Such a high level of participation is key to surfacing disparities and inequities in all regions. DEI can be perceived as just a US thing, even though issues DEI programming seeks to solve, like gender oppression and discrimination, are global.
How do survey results inform executive leadership decision making?
Alison: We are in the process of developing quarterly DEI scorecards for each of our executives that represents their piece of the organization. This scorecard will break down the demographic data and also make a recommendation on where they should be each quarter, based on their function. The recommendation takes into account market benchmarks for the roles. An example of this is that Engineering’s goals are often very different from the People team’s goals, from a gender perspective.
With numbers in hand, we can see where representation is moving in the right direction and better understand what programming needs to take place to see those numbers continue to shift. Going back to the Engineering example, if we want to see more women on that team, we may take a look at the interview process and ask, “What does the interview process look and feel like when women are interviewed for technical roles?” and “How does that look and feel different from when men interview with us?” If we find there’s a difference, we’ll then work to understand why.
In short, the DEI scorecards ensure we’re being intentional with conversations and making real changes.
How does self-ID/demographic data impact company culture?
Alison: One of the things I’m most proud of is the seven Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that launched a year ago. As a function, DEI is still relatively new at Ripple and these ERGs have been crucial to building awareness around identity within the organization. It’s one thing to hop on a call and see people but it’s another to learn about the complexity of their identity. It’s not just about a box that they check but really every aspect of where they are from, what’s important to them, what they bring to work, and what they don’t bring to work.
These groups have been instrumental in making the business better.