We knew that like many technology companies, Learning.com had room for improvement in regard to diversity, equity and inclusion. The IDEA Committee was formed in 2015 with the full support of the executive team. With an annual budget allocation, the committee supports three primary areas of focus: internal company culture, community involvement efforts, and staff learning opportunities.
As an educational technology company, we value learning not just for our customers, but for our staff, as well. One purpose of the IDEA committee is to grow employee awareness surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. The trainings, workshops, book clubs, and lunch & learns sponsored by the IDEA Committee aim to ensure employees from different backgrounds and life experiences feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to the workplace, while at the same time providing insight into experiences and perspectives that are underrepresented within our organization.
Our internal activities have included a virtual screening of the documentary Coded Bias, a training session on Caring for Your Mental Health, as well as book clubs that explore experiences and the history of racism. Our hope is that the perspectives, insights, and skills that our employees have gained by engaging with the IDEA committee’s activities, will not only help individuals thrive in our workplace, but help them become more empathetic and inclusive members of the community at large.
Our IDEA committee also works to support diversity in the broader community. Learning.com became an active member of TechTownPDX, a network of Portland businesses committed to improving diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2021, we supported a student scholarship through Portland OpenPath, which funds local coding classes for individuals from often overlooked communities in order to bring diverse talent into our local tech industry.
We’ve also made changes in our flagship product, EasyTech. We refreshed the animated characters in our online lessons and included a wide range of skin tones, shapes, and sizes. We also are making efforts to improve program accessibility for the visually impaired (e.g., color contrast, audio support, testing screen readers), and adding closed captioning for our English and Spanish videos.
Our IDEA Committee and HR team worked hard with managers across the organization to reword job descriptions – eliminating unnecessary hiring requirements, revamping the interview process to minimize unconscious bias, and convincing managers of the value of promoting from within. These contributed to measurable impact in numerous areas, including:
- Learning.com achieved gender parity, even in the software development team, where women are underrepresented industry-wide.
- Learning.com achieved gender pay equity (women make $1.01 for every dollar men earn)
- The proportion of women on our executive team leadership has doubled, to 43%.
- Our percent of non-white employees has doubled since 2020.
- Employees feel more included. In our annual engagement survey, the percent of employees who agreed that “I feel included at Learning.com” improved by 38% between May 2021 and May 2022. “I feel genuinely appreciated at Learning.com” improved by 44% in the same timeframe.
- Learning.com has been voted a regional Top Workplace 6 of the last 7 years.
While we are proud of the progress we have made, and thrilled to be recognized nationally for the IDEA Committee’s accomplishments, we know we still have work to do. The IDEA Committee’s mission to “inform, educate, and foster a respectful and engaged work culture that leverages employees’ unique contributions,” continues with a full schedule of learning opportunities and community engagement activities so that we can continue to become a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
VP of People Development & Performance
Vicki orchestrates Learning.com’s “work hard, play hard” environment and supports a diverse staff by developing ongoing professional learning opportunities along with open lines of communication and collaboration.
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