Our mission is to improve the way the world builds software. This is intentionally vague because software is broken in many ways. It’s broken by building the wrong product, by the wrong people, for the wrong reasons, or for the wrong people.
Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) directly works to repair what’s broken. Great software is built by great teams. We cannot build great teams if they are not equitable, diverse, and inclusive. We can’t build great software either.
Why? A homogeneous team ultimately serves a homogeneous group. People outside of that group are left behind and so are their ideas, contributions, and needs. Excluding people from tech makes the industry worse—more oppressive in its nature and more limited in its capabilities.
According to multiple studies, working with people who are different from you can challenge your brain and sharpen its performance which:
- leads to improved and more accurate group thinking
- can change the way that entire teams digest information needed to make the best decisions
- helps keep your biases in check and makes people question their assumptions
- results in greater innovation
We’ve recently switched from using the term DEI to EDI as a point of clarification around our strategy. Find out more about why.
As a 65 person company of mostly cis-white-males, we’ve got a problem. Sadly, many companies experience similar issues. There’s no excuse. We are committed to improving.
Empowering people who are often denied access to the industry is the right thing for everyone, including the industry itself. Aside from reducing oppression being completely worthwhile in its own right, becoming smarter and higher performing problem solvers will enable all of us to be better people, do better work, and will enable us to outperform our competitors who aren’t doing this work. Essentially, we’ll be able to grow in a sustainable way allowing us to make a bigger impact on the industry.
In order to create a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment, in 2020 we began using The Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Benchmarks (GDEIB) created by The Centre for Global Inclusion, an organization of EDI experts whose mission is to improve diversity and inclusion practices around the world. At a high level, the GDEIB helps TD determine strategy and measure progress in managing diversity and fostering inclusion in all areas of the business. The GDEIB is organized in 14 categories, with levels of achievement and individual benchmarks from inactive to best practices; teaching activities; user tools; and supports. Although the GDEIB covers 14 separate areas of business, we’ll be focusing on 3-4 at a time.
As we get better at this work and gain a reputation for improving EDI, the momentum will build. We want to be a place where people of all colors and backgrounds want to join and want to stay. By being more equitable, we’ll grow a more diverse team and ensure a truly inclusive environment., We will be able to provide equitable opportunities to more people, thus leading to being better positioned to achieve our mission in ways we haven’t even considered yet.
When we answered why we do this work and think it’s important, we discussed the ways in which EDI work helps us achieve our mission of improving how the world builds software. Our mission—and how we can achieve it through EDI work—certainly benefits TD, and that benefit spreads to our clients. Our goal to improve the way the world builds software is the reason our clients hire us. The reasons that EDI is important for us are also the same reasons it’s important for our clients.
This work will make us attractive to a more diverse candidate pool. It will also make us more attractive to clients who care about EDI, whether they want consultants who can help improve it, or they want relationships with organizations who understand the need and value of best EDI practices.
Incorporating EDI efforts throughout our business will help us with our sales pipeline and the type of work we have the opportunity to do. This directly impacts our bottom line, while adding significance—that the work we do matters. Improvement and progress in EDI improves our careers and also the lives of so many others.
If we can improve and really dramatically change TD, we will have the opportunity to leverage our experience to help our clients move down the path of real EDI work. We can achieve our mission in new and impactful ways, including providing opportunities to those who are so often left out.
Why do we think antiracism is important? Racism is everywhere. It’s not enough to not perpetuate it; we need to actively work toward dismantling it.
What do we do to support antiracism? Not enough, but we are learning from our mistakes and are committed to implementing best practices to provide People of Color with equitable opportunities while understanding and removing the barriers that stand in the way of that equity.
One advantage of our culture is the fact that we understand antiracism is important. As ridiculous as it may sound, many companies don’t have that baseline established. Reinforcing the positive aspects of our culture will put us in a better place than most companies out there. Since we believe antiracism is important now, if we utilize hiring to maintain that aspect of our culture, we’ll become even stronger in our convictions.
We hired a recruiter in 2020 because we needed help sourcing new people from untapped networks. We needed documented information regarding what we did in the past that did and didn’t work, and why we made changes. Our hiring process should be well documented. As a direct result of this hiring work paired with systemic changes in our company regarding equity and inclusion, our team is growing and becoming more diverse in many forms, including race.
Currently we’re documenting everything more thoroughly—our processes and systems in place—in order to reduce biased interpretations of them. Bias gets used against underrepresented groups the most. We’re striving to remove as much bias as possible.
Once here, we’re working to improve the support our people receive. We’ve established processes for growing our internal networks to provide job-specific support. We’ve also established our first employee resource group this year. This group specifically serves our employees of Color, providing them with a safe space to interact, and a direct line to leadership to improve their experiences as Test Double employees.
We’re also striving to be more transparent in our actions, goals, metrics, and—most importantly—communication. As part of this I shared strategic objectives for EDI with the entire company and have been providing a monthly update to communicate progress in a transparent way. We are also gathering and will share anonymized employee demographic data at regular intervals, as an indicator of our progress toward equity and to hold us accountable.
Communication around EDI has included a report on specific projects and progress at our company-wide retreat, as well as supporting ongoing learning opportunities through a regular EDI newsletter and Slack channels dedicated to inclusion and antiracism.
We hire great folks. We have talked about EDI for years and it has been frustrating several times over as one white man was hired and then another.
Our frustrations are not with our people. Our people are awesome.
Our frustrations lie in not recognizing the need for diversity and equity plans, actions, and measurements sooner. By addressing these now, we’ll set ourselves up for more awesome people at Test Double in the future.