Employees have the right to come to work every day and feel a sense of belonging. They have the right to see role models who look like them, and to have the communities they identify with outside the workplace support them inside the workplace. They have the right to the same opportunities, the same chance to succeed, and the same space to feel at home.
These aren’t just ideals, but baseline expectations we are committed to at Yelp. Here are some of the ways we have been working to meet those expectations:
First, we have a diversity task force at the executive level to hold ourselves accountable to the problems and opportunities we identify. The task force includes our CEO, COO, CFO, and others who are regularly responsible for driving any other business initiative. Most importantly, the group reinforces executive buy-in and helps to remove the roadblocks that sometimes stand in the way of creating meaningful change. With this task force, we are building on our existing diversity strategies in our largest business areas, including using data to challenge assumptions, operationalize inclusion, and lean on senior leaders to advocate for and mentor individuals to help accelerate their careers.
Among recent initiatives, we established a new employee resource group, BlackBurst, that is expressly focused on the Black community at Yelp. BlackBurst builds on DiverseBurst, our long-established employee resource group for people of color and their allies. We appreciate that our Black employees need more space for conversation, a forum for employee and community interests, and an opportunity for shared learning and development. It is our hope that BlackBurst will provide a greater sense of belonging for Black employees.
We also reevaluated our diversity training program, and concluded there was more to do. It is one thing to train on anti-racist policies, another to show how these policies come up in the workplace, and yet another to provide more education about the historical context for why these policies matter in the first place. To the last point, we introduced mandatory, company-wide training on systemic racism and institutional bias.
Earlier this summer, we recognized the need to address offensive clients and prospective clients who use racially-charged language in their communications with our employees. We do not want their business, and will not tolerate hate speech directed at our employees.
There are many more challenges and opportunities ahead. For example, we need to make it feel easier and safer for employees to report internal incidents of discrimination or harassment, create more paths to leadership through sponsorship and advocacy, establish checks and balances around promotions, and do more to close the racial and gender leadership gaps that still exist in our organization. We are working on each of these initiatives with urgency, and will be sharing our annual diversity report this fall as we continue to foster a company culture where everyone can belong.