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Setting DE&I goals and measuring progress at Greenhouse

This post draws from Data-Driven Recruiting Episode 65, where CodeSignal Co-Founder Sophia Baik talks with Ariana Moon, Director of Talent Acquisition at Greenhouse, about TA strategy, structured interviewing, assessing “soft skills,” and more. In this excerpt from their recent interview, Baik and Moon discuss setting and monitoring DE&I goals for your company, department, and team.

Sophia Baik:

DE&I professionals that I’ve spoken with often say it’s really hard to use data when it comes to showing progress in DE&I at a company. How are you using data to monitor your teams, how you’re progressing, and how you’re achieving the goals? 

Ariana Moon:

There are two main ways that we look at demographic data. One is through an HRIS. This is helpful for answering questions like: What does the demographic breakdown of our current employees or employees over time look like? What have our trends been?

The second way is on the candidate side. This is helpful for answering questions like: What is the conversion rate of various demographics in our hiring funnel? What are the trends we’re seeing there? 

I think you need both perspectives to track the progress you’re making towards your company-specific DE&I goals. Even if you have a robust and diverse candidate pool and you have diverse new hire classes, you need to have the full picture of who’s onboarding successfully and staying at your company. Is there one demographic group that’s attriting disproportionately to others? This can often be the case for people of underrepresented identities. Because they’re already a minority, the feeling of belonging or inclusiveness at a company can be more challenging to find. That’s the stuff that really impacts someone’s engagement and success in a role long-term.

The challenge here is that it’s really hard to quantify and it can be hard to see. But, it’s just as important because no matter what you do on the TA side to hire as inclusively as possible, if you’re not creating an environment where anyone—regardless of their ethnic or racial identity, gender, sexual orientation, ability status, etc.— can succeed in equal ways, you’re going to have challenges with engagement and retention. 

That’s the high level of how I think about using data for tracking DE&I goals. At Greenhouse, we started reporting on company-wide demographics not long ago, and it’s our commitment to provide updates on a quarterly basis. 

On the hiring side, we obviously use our own software. So any time we want to have a conversation with our hiring managers or executives about the demographics in our hiring pipelines, we can pull this up within a few clicks of a button.

With hiring managers, the conversation about demographics is usually more about a specific search. What are the demographics in a particular pipeline? At the executive level, it’s about the holistic trends we’re seeing across departments or the company.

There are so many tools these days to help leaders track their success and progress with DE&I. If that’s not something your organization does yet, there’s a chance that you’ll be behind on this conversation. Organizations are now embracing the ability to track this data and share it with their employees in anonymized and appropriate ways so that they can understand, are we actually making meaningful progress towards diversifying our organization?


Yeah. Before you set a goal, you need to know what your current state is, right? Then you can say, “This is the area that we want to improve.” 

You mentioned that you also break down this number by department. Has one department been more challenging in terms of having more diverse representation than others?


That’s a great question. The short answer is yes. I think there’s a combination of things that are happening. Certain jobs or occupations tend to have certain majority demographic trends tied to them. For example, I was researching the average percentage of women in software engineering roles in the US. Different sources say different things depending on how you slice the data—but it’s a pretty sobering number. It’s about 15 percent women. 

That’s a very common challenge for more technical occupations. I also see this pattern in enterprise software sales. However, if you’re hiring for a People team, there is usually more non-male talent available and in a given pipeline. So, the challenge is flipped. 

When you’re thinking about a DE&I strategy, it’s important to focus where you want to apply your resources.

When it comes to the team that you’re hiring for, you should keep in mind both the company view and a team-specific view on what diversity looks like. Meaning, first take into consideration your company-wide DE&I goals. Then, look at the makeup of your team and ask yourself, “when I look at this particular team and the department it sits in, where are our opportunities to increase certain areas of diversity? The challenge here is that there are so many important ways to define “diversity.” When you take intersectionality into account, everyone has their own unique version or a package of experiences. So categorizing people can sometimes feel a little icky. But it’s a starting point.

Also, when you’re thinking about a DE&I strategy, it’s important to pick and focus where you want to apply your resources, because the reality is that many companies have limited resources to dedicate to DE&I initiatives. Things like investing into diversity sourcing for hiring or creating an equitable onboarding and performance management process are hefty, meaningful initiatives—and while we might want to tackle it all at once, we have to remember that we can do anything, but not everything. So, it’s equally as important to focus on what your DE&I goals center around. Then from there, stick with that goal long enough for you to measure actual progress and iterate along the way.

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