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Why more companies should focus on hiring & investing in diverse workplaces

Christian Sutherland-Wong - Glassdoor CEO joins Yahoo Finance’s On The Move to discuss the importance of improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Glassdoor, the employment rating site, is rolling out a new feature where people can comment directly and rate directly their employers when it comes to issues of race, diversity, inclusion. We are joined now to talk more about this by Christian Sutherland-Wong. He is the Glassdoor CEO. So Christian, it seems now like an obvious thing to put up on the site. What kind of reception are you seeing? I mean, in other words, are a lot of people already putting ratings up on the site for their employers?

CHRISTIAN SUTHERLAND-WONG: Yeah, I mean, it does seem obvious now. And in fact, when we established Glassdoor 12 years ago as the place for people to come and talk about what it's like to work at their company, one of the key topics that people talked about from the beginning was diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

What we're seeing in the wake of the George Floyd murder, is a 63% increase in people mentioning in their reviews, diversity, inclusion, racial justice, even Black Lives Matter. So with that, we've now decided to shine a light specifically on helping job seekers understand how is a company doing when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

ADAM SHAPIRO: What avenues do you provide for companies which may get a negative or a poor score on this issue to respond?

CHRISTIAN SUTHERLAND-WONG: Yeah, I'd say no company is perfect in this regard, as we look out. And every company, I believe, has room for improvement it comes to diversity and inclusion in their workplaces. For our reviews, we allow our employees to respond. And that includes if there's a review that mentions topics of diversity and inclusion.

But as part of this recent release, what we've also rolled out, is to allow employers to talk about their diversity inclusion programs in their company, as well as what are their current stats and what are their goals. And the goal here is to drive greater transparency, allow companies to have a say, but also to be driving accountability, so that companies really raise their game in this regard.

AKIKO FUJITA: Christian, I realize this is about employees rating their employers, but I am curious how you even measure diversity and inclusion. I mean, what are the qualifiers? Are there any guidelines for these employees to follow to see, here's a checklist that can really determine whether, in fact, this is being addressed at a company?

CHRISTIAN SUTHERLAND-WONG: Yeah, I mean, in product, the ways we measure diversity and inclusion is we allow people just to give a rating out of five stars on what they think of how the employer is doing. One other thing we're doing, is we're also starting to optionally allow users in the US to give us their demographic data. And so the hope here, is that over time as we collect this demographic data, we can show back not just how a company rates across the average employee base, but specifically how do certain demographics rate this employer, which I think really gives you an inside view into how the company is doing.

When it comes to tips in this respect, what we're seeing on the platform from the voices of employees, first and foremost, focus on hiring a more diverse workplace. I don't think companies as a whole have done a great job at that historically. Second, really focus on investing in programs that drive a more inclusive environment, an environment with a broad set of people a diverse set of people feel like they belong. And then more and more, you are seeing a call from employees to ask for their leaders to be public and to be transparent on their views in this area.

DAN ROBERTS: Christian, Dan Roberts here. While we have you, if we can just zoom out a little. I'd be interested to hear how Glassdoor has been affected by the pandemic. I mean, maybe it's wrong of me to think this way, but in the past, you think of people reviewing their employer on Glassdoor and you think of it, or I did, as very much a office type of thing.

People are thinking, what's the culture like, what's the workplace like, what's the office like. Now it's been seven months where most people or many or most, depends on your area, city, country, are not going into the office. How has that changed either the amount of reviews you're seeing get posted? More, fewer and so on.

CHRISTIAN SUTHERLAND-WONG: Yeah, we've seen a whole range of things that are due to COVID, ups and downs, different industries booming, different industries and office obviously suffering a lot. One thing we have seen a lot of, as you mentioned, is people talking about COVID, people talking about remote working in their reviews. And one of the first things we saw, was how good is the company doing when it comes to their response to COVID.

Are they looking out for their employees? Are they communicating effectively? I mean, this continues to be a really common theme. And the other thing we're seeing a lot of now, is this embracing of remote work across a broad swath of companies, which I think is going to have a long-term market change on the whole jobs market and landscape, which we're seeing play out both in the reviews, but also in jobs that are posted on our site, where more and more companies are much more open to having remote employees fill those jobs.

JULIE HYMAN: When it comes to diversity and inclusion and the COVID response, who's doing best and worst in the ratings on your site?

CHRISTIAN SUTHERLAND-WONG: It's still early days. In fact, we only launched the product last week. So we're still gathering a corpus of data. That said, we did test it with a handful of companies, some of the largest companies in the US. And some of the most viewed companies on our site. And we are seeing some tech companies, like Salesforce, doing really well in our early ratings.

Have a full 4.6 out of 5-star rating when it comes to diversity and inclusion. But as we collect more data, we'll get a better feel for how companies across the board. And I think within a few months, you'll have basically any company in the US and across the world should have a diversity and inclusion rating.

JULIE HYMAN: Christian, thank you. Christian Sutherland-Wong is CEO of Glassdoor.