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Lever's Powerful Approach to Diversity and Inclusion

"You build environments that allow for people to thrive regardless of their background. You ensure that you create a safe place for people to go, to learn, to grow and to fail. The rest will fall into place."
Lever's Powerful Approach to Diversity and Inclusion

by Melissa Ramos

Ciara Trinidad works at Lever, a company that builds recruiting software used by Lyft, Quora and more.

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Can you tell me a little about your role as Head of People Development & Inclusion at Lever?

As the Head of People Development & Inclusion at Lever I work to ensure that Leveroos are empowered to bring their most authentic selves to work but that they also have clear expectations for their growth within Lever. 

I also work on ensuring that Lever is an inclusive work environment by managing our employee resource group programs, helping the recruiting team with diversity recruiting strategies and giving our people managers the insight that they need to coach and support their teams regardless of background. 

What does people development look like at Lever?

As with any startup of our size (a little over 100) it's still a work in progress. At Lever, we're focusing on building out development programs that focus on individual strengths and opportunities while ensuring that company needs are taken into consideration.

We like to focus on a build your own path model, where you are able to really choose where you would like to grow and have the tools you need to ensure that you are your manager are aligned.

We still have the luxury of being able to try new and innovative things and then scrap them if they don't work. This also means that we have to be completely okay with admitting our failures or mishaps. It's a work in progress, for sure. 

Lever’s diversity numbers are incredible. What has been the most impactful part of your inclusion strategy?

The level of enthusiasm, input and care that every single Leveroo has. This is going to sound obnoxious, but we really don't have an inclusion strategy. Diversity & Inclusion is so core to what we do here that we haven't really needed a specific strategy around it thus far.

To say that we don't think about it would be a lie, but we aren't looking to hit a certain number of underrepresented minorities or are targeting specific groups to help our demographics. We believe in radical transparency and because of that it keeps the way that we grow very open and honest.

Eventually, I'm sure we'll need to move in that direction and will have to think specifically about how we want to be growing, but for now, we make sure that we write as much as we can about what it feels like to work at Lever and that's worked for us. 

What’s the number one mistake people make when trying to hire a more diverse workforce?

Focus on the numbers. As more and more diversity numbers get published by tech companies, I see similar responses; "how do we make our workforce more diverse?".

To me, it's pretty simple. You hire those people. You build environments that allow for people to thrive regardless of their background. You ensure that you create a safe place for people to go, to learn, to grow and to fail. The rest will fall into place. People who love where they work will tell other people, they'll want to share it with them. That's the most important piece. 

How should companies measure diversity and inclusion?

Engagement. How engaged are your teams/employees in creating an inclusive workplace. Where do you notice that engagement slips away. D&I is more than how many colors are in your workforce, it's about a diversity of thought, too. It's about creating space for other opinions and it's about what you do with said opinions. Measure engagement, ask hard questions and listen to the answers. 

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