Curious If Diversity & Inclusion Efforts Are Sticking? Ask Employees If They Belong

Intuit’s commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I) dates back to 1993, long before I became Intuit’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer. Back then—and today—Intuit has led the way in creating a safe, inclusive and ethical work environment where employees can do the best work of their lives. I’m grateful to be part of an organization

Intuit’s commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I) dates back to 1993, long before I became Intuit’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer. Back then—and today—Intuit has led the way in creating a safe, inclusive and ethical work environment where employees can do the best work of their lives. I’m grateful to be part of an organization that prioritizes this important work.

I haven’t always been this fortunate. I previously worked at a company that wasn’t exactly accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. I often heard hostile remarks about gay and lesbian people, and the unwelcoming culture forced me to choose between being myself and talking openly about my partner, or staying silent in fear of retribution and prejudice. As many of us know—it’s painful to keep any part of your identity hidden or separated from your “work self.” As I wrote for Quartz, it feels like hiding a piece of your true self every time you have a conversation, take a meeting or walk into the office. It’s exhausting.

No one should feel like they have to “cover” or hide a part of themselves or their background to fit in. That’s why we decided to measure employees’ perceived “sense of belonging” as part of our Pulse survey. By asking employees to tell us whether they are connecting with their community and feel as though they belong, we can better understand if our inclusivity programs are working to their full extent. In fact, initial data tells us there’s a slight gap between how men and women feel about how they belong here at Intuit, and we’ve already started to make changes across our leadership team to ensure we’re leading more inclusively and encouraging diverse backgrounds.

While our diversity numbers reflect the strides we’re making to attract and retain the world’s best talent, these belonging metrics (see below) are also a candid look at what’s really happening inside our walls and where there are opportunities to improve. While these metrics are relatively high compared to industry benchmarks we have more work to do to reduce variation between teams and address gaps in experience.

When we think about a sense of belonging, it starts with building trust & communityship. Here are five strategies (among many) we have in place to increase these belonging metrics to ensure all on our employees have the space and acceptance to unabashedly be themselves. Like our peers who have been embracing diversity in their workforce for decades, we evolve these programs alongside our next-generation culture to ensure all employees find a place where they belong at Intuit. Whether you’re an Intuit employee looking to get more involved or find support, or seeking ways to build and find communityship, here are some of the programs we have in place.

1. We care and give back

It’s a program and a value at Intuit, and our employees take it seriously. We just wrapped up our season of service around the globe and ended the fiscal year with amazing results. Collectively, we’ve supported 2,647 nonprofits, given 36,652 hours of our time and donated $4.9 million (including what Intuit has matched) to a wide range of organizations. Even beyond the time and dollars we’ve given back as a company, employees have had opportunities to learn new perspectives and get to know the communities where we work and serve.

2. Employee resource groups

Our 11 employee networks embrace cultural, ethnic and faith-based communities and are open to everyone at Intuit. These networks are key to ensuring employees learn and understand cultural, religious and ethical differences. From hosting educational meetings to leading pride parades and everything in between, these groups have an active presence across our offices and service as authentic communities for our employees.

3. LGBTQ+ Allyship program

Since launching our allyship program three months ago, we’ve had 249 employees take a training designed to educate and inform about barriers the LGBTQ+ community faces on a regular basis. We’ve heard reports that “safe space” signs have been proactively added to nearly all of our office locations by allies who have undergone the training and want to stand up and speak out.

One employee reported back:

“As someone who is transgender, I was amazed at how much vital information was included. In so much LGBTQ+ training, trans people feel like an afterthought and our issues are only briefly mentioned. I actually cried at my desk seeing so much vital information presented. From the very clear and simple definitions of what being transgender is and why pronouns are so important, to the spectrum chart differentiating identity and orientation, these are things I could only wish for in past LGBTQ+ presentations.”

4. Returnships, mentorship and sponsorship

Intuit’s returnship program, Intuit Again, provides an opportunity for technologists to return to work after taking a break in their career for caregiving purposes. We first launched the program in India in 2015, followed by Mountain View and soon San Diego. So far, the program has achieved amazing success—we’ve graduated four classes and retained 75% of the participants to accept full-time jobs at Intuit or one of our partner organizations.

5. Inclusive leader training

We know that ensuring employees feel included, and like they belong, starts with the manager-employee relationship. We launched inclusive leader training this year at Intuit’s annual leadership conference, starting with the 400 top leaders at Intuit. We dove deep on what it means to lead inclusively as part of a safe, inclusive and ethical work environment. We are now working with our Talent Development team to introduce training and communications about our safe, ethical and inclusive work environment to all people, and eventually all employees.

We are constantly working to ensure our managers and leaders are well-equipped to put inclusivity into practice. Our leadership team understands that not having an inclusive culture comes at a great cost because employees “cover” or hide their individuality when they don’t feel valued or their differences are perceived as a barrier. We equip managers to demonstrate genuine interest in and welcome contribution from all employees. We are learning and striving to build our core capabilities around leading inclusivity, from cultural competency to transparency to inclusive facilitation.

Our work with diversity, inclusion and belonging is far from done, but we’re proud of the strides we’ve made and transparency we’ve brought to our process. Our hope is that all employees feel they belong at Intuit and can be themselves, no matter where they’ve come from, what they look like, what they believe, or how they think. It’s this diversity that will drive us forward, together.