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Championing Authenticity and Equity: Inside and Outside of Yelp



As the debate on remote work continues and Corporate America reckons with how it can support its workforce as political divides deepen, creating spaces and opportunities that recognize and celebrate authenticity and equity are crucial.  At Yelp, we are committed to remote work and there is no question when it comes to speaking up against policies and legislation that negatively impact our employees. The current political landscape affects our employees’ emotional, mental and physical wellbeing, making it all the more crucial to foster an inclusive environment for employees of all backgrounds. 

Living Our Values

One of Yelp’s core values is Be Authentic.” Modeling inclusive behaviors starts from the top, and an authentic employer sets the tone for their workforce. Championing authenticity and empowering employees to show up as their true professional selves means advocating and taking a stand on issues that are important to our employees, both current and prospective. 

The recent Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs imposed new barriers to full participation in the workforce for greater than 50% of the U.S. population: women and pregnant people. The ruling also highlighted an ongoing debate about whether employers should speak up in times of political division. 

Yelp’s long been a strong advocate for equality in the workplace, and we believe that gender equality cannot be achieved if women’s healthcare rights are restricted. As a remote company, we took action to provide employees equitable access to reproductive care earlier this year, updating our health insurance coverage to provide travel benefits for U.S. employees and their dependents who need to travel out of state to access reproductive healthcare. In addition, we introduced a new notification on Yelp business pages for Crisis Pregnancy Centers and Faith-based Crisis Pregnancy Centers that informs consumers these businesses typically offer limited medical services, as well as encouraged other companies to speak out alongside Yelp to take a stand on reproductive rights.   

Championing authenticity and empowering employees to show up as their true selves means advocating and taking a stand on issues that are important to our employees and job seekers. 

Earlier this year, we publicly denounced anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ legislation in Texas and Florida. We made charitable contributions towards the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that provides critical suicide prevention support to LGBTQ youth, as well as matched employee donations to organizations including National Center for Transgender Equality, Transgender Law Center Human Rights Campaign Foundation Equality Texas Foundation and Equality Florida Institute.  

By engaging in the public discourse, we hope this inspires others within our Yelp community and beyond to do the same. 

Piloting New Workshops and Programs

We use Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) learning as one way to champion authenticity and amplify underrepresented voices. Diversity describes Yelp’s gender and racial diversity overall, inclusion addresses equity and equal opportunity for advancement within Yelp, and belonging is ensuring that everyone can bring their full professional selves to work. 

We designed and introduced three new diversity, inclusion, and belonging focused workshops this past quarter to be used at our in real life (IRL) gatherings: Our Identities, Intersectionality, and Bias; How Inclusive Language Fosters Belonging; and How Cultural Differences Can Inform Ways of Working. These workshops provide safe spaces for small groups of employees to continue their learning journeys toward building and maintaining an inclusive workplace for all.

Following an internal survey, we saw that employees were eager for more opportunities to connect and have fun. We recently launched a Culture Champion Award program celebrating employees on a quarterly basis for their contributions to DIB. The first honoree we recognized planted the seed for a pilot program that grew into a company-wide buddy program: YelpMates. YelpMates pairs employees with a colleague outside of their department for socialization and fun. Participants submit feedback on their experience, and one pairing is featured each month in our Belonging Newsletter to celebrate these authentic connections that continue to foster better understanding across teams. Thus far, hundreds of employees have chosen to participate in the program. 

New Employee Resource Groups and Events

As a remote company, we also understand the importance of breaking down silos and promoting cross-functional connections virtually. One of the many ways we accomplish this is through storytelling. We routinely host events featuring employees across the organization to provide a look inside how their identities inform their Yelp experience. 

These panel discussions champion authenticity and encourage both panelists and viewers to embrace who they are. Diversity enhances who we are as an organization, how we work together, and those differences are our strengths. 

Additionally, we continue to foster org-wide connections by expanding the breadth and depth of our Yelp Employee Resource Groups (YERGs). We continue to invest in these employee-led communities as volunteers step forward to found and spearhead belonging for the many identities that exist within Yelp.  This past quarter we started three new ones: Yelders, in support of Yelp’s 40+ community, NATIV (Native American, Tribal, and Indigenous Voices),  and Trans*Mission, a space for Yelp’s  transgender and nonbinary community.  We also hosted our second annual YERG Leaders Summit, connecting leaders to invest in the communities they’re building at Yelp.

True inclusion and belonging celebrates that not everyone thinks the same way and creates space for different experiences and perspectives. Meaningful DIB action addresses the inequities that disenfranchised individuals face based on their identities and focuses on fighting the systems and policies that present obstacles to full participation in the workforce. 

As we continue our DIB journey at Yelp, we’ve evolved our programming to feature more intersectional identities so more employees are able to see their full selves represented in public fora—not just isolated characteristics. We remain committed to creating an environment where everyone can bring their whole professional selves to work, feel seen and heard, and contribute in meaningful ways.  

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