Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies are all the rave right now for the private sector and nonprofit organizations. And while everyone is seemingly treating DEI as the proverbial popular kid in school, many strategies that have been implemented are working to create more just and equitable cultures.
Although there is evidence of intentional work being done to increase diversity at companies, the ever-evolving nature of the job market has created certain norms, pushing diversity to the forefront. For the folks at Facebook, implementing remote work increased their diversity metrics.
According to The Washington Post, since Facebook implemented a more liberal remote policy, the company saw noticeable increases in employee representation. Between 2021 and 2022, the tech company grew among Black, Hispanic, Asian, and multiracial employees. Its number of white employees decreased by 1.5 percent.
The increase in minority employment also applied to its leadership group. A Facebook report noted that Black and Hispanic managers increased by “less than half of a percentage point.” Women leaders increased from 35.5 percent in 2021 to 36.7 percent in 2022.
Now, Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Chief Diversity Officer, is trying to better understand this trend at the company. While she fully understands that its policies made way for more minorities to be a part of the organization, there is little evidence to support why people from historically underrepresented communities prefer remote working opportunities. However, location preferences could be an indicator.
“Silicon Valley was never a place where Black people were predominant,” Williams The Washington Post in an interview. “So you are seeing people choose places like Atlanta, New York.”
Another indicator of why minority community members prefer remote work is to avoid social biases and microaggressions in the workplace. Having to work remotely decreases possible awkward and inappropriate interactions with others.
While the increase in remote working options has increased diversity, the growing economic challenges may slow recruiting efforts for tech companies like Facebook. Williams says Facebook is committed to doing the work but will have to reconsider how it continues to make it a priority.
“Look, it’s been a challenge from the jump. That’s the truth. We are very hyper-focused on how are we going to do this given the current environment,” she said to The Washington Post.