Tinder Takes a Stand: How Mental Health, Diversity and Inclusion Are Playing an Integral Role in Its Workplace Culture
Photo Credit: AfroTech

Tinder Takes a Stand: How Mental Health, Diversity and Inclusion Are Playing an Integral Role in Its Workplace Culture

In our current world of online connections and virtual meetups, popular dating app Tinder is no stranger to bringing people together. The platform has found success by offering choices and allowing members to connect with others who are also seeking new possibilities. 

Now, Tinder is fostering new connections with a commitment to driving diversity, equality and inclusion within the company and highlighting initiatives in the Black community. Realizing the importance of these efforts, Tinder is amplifying and increasing the voices of employees of color — and the voices of others in the same communities as its members.

Tinder is powered by people who want to get things done. In this spirit, the company went to the drawing board and began crafting solutions of its own. Eager to make an impact, Tinder has focused on investing in inclusive culture training, internal panels, conferences and, most importantly, mental health advocacy. 

Inclusive Culture Training

Tinder has done the important work of reflecting on company culture and initiatives to identify ways to create real change. Because such transformation must come from within, Tinder coordinated a series of anti-racism training sessions with Other Dreamers, an organization that sparks change by exposing people to ideas and voices that differ from their own. The company is also investing in an ongoing partnership with DE+I specialists Paradigm for inclusivity training, specific to executives (VP and above) and the entire employee population accordingly.

Tapping into literary resources, the company purchased copies of Robin DiAngelo’s bestselling book White Fragility for all interested employees. The book offers a raw analysis of race in America — something everyone is aware of, even if they claim they “don’t see color.” In June 2020, Tinder hosted a book club to discuss it, sparking a series of candid conversations on race. 

With COVID reshaping the narrative for everyone in 2020, Tinder turned its attention to how the pandemic has amplified issues in the Black community and ways to address them by hosting an interview for Black employees, advocates and allies with Kailee Scales, global strategist and former Managing Director of Black Lives Matter Global Network. 

Internal Panels

Tinder believes in amplifying the diverse voices of its company and created several in-house panels designed to highlight Black experiences and thoughts. This included an interview with actor and activist Richard Lawson that examined the Black American experience. Encouraging employees to bring their authentic selves to the table resulted in the creation of “Can You Glow Up Without Representation?”, an interactive panel on the lack of representation of Black women in tech and media. The event featured panelists from Disney, TrueCar, Activision and Netflix’s Content Executive Jasmyn Lawson. 

This also led to a workshop on cultural appropriation — an annoying (and at times downright offensive) phenomenon that pops up every Halloween like clockwork. Moderated by Demetria Lucas, the workshop featured representation from some of Tinder’s employee resource groups (ERGs), including Black at Tinder, Latinx at Tinder, Pride at Tinder, East Asians at Tinder, and Desis at Tinder.

Conferences

Before COVID made in-person events socially taboo, Tinder was highly active in the tech conference community and is now capitalizing on the rise of virtual conferences. They showed up strong at a number of conferences and sponsored events, including a recent partnership at our very own AfroTech World, a new virtual conference that unites the founders and supporters of some of the brightest startups for panels, pitch competitions and more. 

In July 2020, Tinder sponsored the Nextplay Tech Virtual Spotlight event, which draws hundreds of Black and Latinx tech professionals and includes prominent tech leaders, industry chats, sponsorship opportunities, live DJs, performances and more. 

It’s also collaborated with the innovative Lesbians Who Tech, a self-described “queer, inclusive, badass” collective of LGBTQ women, nonbinary and trans individuals in and around the tech industry. This partnership led to Tinder becoming a proud sponsor of the Debug 2020 Summit, a conference that has featured dynamic voices like Vice President Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams. 

Inside of the organization, the ERG Black at Tinder was instrumental in sponsoring Startup Weekend South Central in 2019 and 2020. Hosted at the popular, LA-based coworking space Vector90 — a Crenshaw staple — the 2020 event was inspired by LA natives, techies and allies with the goal of highlighting networking opportunities and funneling resources into the neighborhood. Tinder employees volunteered for the weekend hackathon, with some serving as judges for a pitch competition. 

Mental Health Advocacy

While events and panels are amazing tools for improving the work environment, Tinder realizes that focusing on mental health sets the tone and builds the foundation for a better work experience and a better world for us all. Embracing alternative methods, Tinder partnered with Crashbell, known for making meditation practical. Together they created a wellness workshop on destigmatizing Blackness in the workplace. 

In the midst of a highly emotional and frustrating year thanks to mandated quarantines, Americans also shouldered the reality of witnessing Black lives being taken every day. In response to the murders of Breonna Taylor, Amaud Arbery and George Floyd — and the resulting BLM momentum — Tinder established a program offering access to licensed therapy and career coaching sessions with Dr. Milo Dodson for Black at Tinder members. To continue easing associates’ mental workloads, the company also implemented “No Meeting Wednesdays” to cut down on unnecessary meetings for those who, at this point, are simply Zoomed out. 

To ensure these endeavors are creating a significant impact for its teams, Tinder conducts diagnostic research to measure the current state at the company. These surveys provide internal accountability and allow teams to point out their needs for development. Together with Mind Share Partners, Tinder has led additional coaching such as People Manager and HR-specific training, along with general company-wide training on destigmatizing mental health in the workplace.

Tinder is looking beyond love connections. It’s focused on creating the type of internal change that impacts entire communities, as well as the organization itself. Learn how you can join them here.

This editorial is brought to you in partnership with Tinder.