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Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at PagerDuty: Why Holding Ourselves Accountable Matters

by Jennifer Tejada September 24, 2020 | 5 min read

Monday, I had the privilege to hear Vernā Myers, VP of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix, speak to our PagerDuty Summit community about her tools to create inclusion and equality: the 4 C’s: Curiosity, Compassion, Consciousness, and Courage. This both resonated with me, inspired me, and reminded me that we have so much to learn. I am not an expert in ID&E, but I do know we have to move forward and take risks if we are going to drive change faster.

This week we released PagerDuty’s first Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (ID&E) report. This is an important milestone for our company—we believe that fostering a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable company is both the right thing to do and good business. Diversity not only makes us stronger and more innovative, but it also ensures we reflect the communities we serve.

ID&E is at the heart of how PagerDuty operates. We know that long-lasting change doesn’t happen without taking concrete action, driven by our values and operationalized in our business processes. We are committed to funding, staffing, and measuring intentional action to ensure every single Dutonian feels at home at PagerDuty and has equal opportunities for success and career growth.

Sharing our report, which includes our employee demographics and ID&E commitments, helps us hold ourselves accountable and hopefully inspires others to take action within their own organizations. We hold ourselves accountable because, quite simply, these issues have not been prioritized enough in the past, and we know there is a lot more work to be done. It is fair to say that we’re in the early stages of our ID&E journey, and it’s important we are open and honest about what that journey looks like. It is also important for me to emphasize that this is not to say we have everything figured out; rather, it’s to share some of what we have learned in hope that is helpful to others and accelerates change.

This report shares the current view of where we are at right now and the data behind our diversity and pay equity efforts. By doing this, we hope to provide transparency for our employees and external stakeholders into the steps we’ve taken so far to build an inclusive and balanced company. We are also working to capture self-reported data on every part of our Dutonian community so we can publish additional insights in the future.

Working With Our Peers to Drive Change

In addition to transparently reporting our journey, it’s important that we are a vocal and visible advocate for change. It’s great to see many of our peers do this as well. You’re only as good as the people and companies you surround yourself with. It is in this spirit that we constantly look for opportunities to come together with other business leaders who are in a position to drive real change. These are some of the recent initiatives we’ve joined recently, which anyone can get behind right now:

  • Day for Change. In honor of Juneteenth 2020, we proudly launched PagerDuty’s Day for Change initiative in support of the global #BlackLivesMatter movement. On June 19, PagerDuty’s operations closed and Dutonians were encouraged to use the time to stand in solidarity with the Black community. This will become an annual milestone that we honor.
  • Open letter with The Justice Collective. PagerDuty was already committed to working with organizations that demonstrate and prioritize diversity and inclusion, but in August 2020, we solidified this view by joining an initiative led by SurveyMonkey and The Justice Collective. We signed an open letter requiring vendors to invest in ID&E in order to do business with PagerDuty.
  • The Board Challenge. We recently became a Founding Pledge Member of a new initiative where we committed to appointing a Black director to our board in the next 12 months. I was delighted to sign alongside other leading companies like Zillow, Gusto, and Nextdoor, and look forward to making the pledge a reality.

Collaborating with PagerDuty’s industry colleagues and adding our collective voices to call for change is one of the best ways to promote ID&E throughout our whole ecosystem. This will be a vital and ongoing process, and we will continue to seek out and take these kinds of opportunities, and demonstrate that technology companies can be both inclusive and high performing.

An Environment Rooted in Belonging

I’d also like to share some changes PagerDuty has made to hiring practices to specifically focus on underrepresented groups. This has to be embodied at all levels. It goes right from our grassroots internship program—where most participants are from underrepresented communities—to architecting a diverse board and senior leadership team. One of PagerDuty’s cultural values is to “Bring Your Self,” and we can only make that a reality if we create an environment in which every employee feels safe, seen, and heard.

Vernā often shares four steps companies and individuals can take to be anti-racist, which I’ve found instructive and I hope are helpful to you:

  1. “Spend the money” and hire a professional on equity and diversity.
  2. Do your own personal work to understand racism.
  3. Hear from new voices and “listen to believe.”
  4. Interrupt bias when you see it. “This is not the time to be a bystander.”

This year has been one of unprecedented disruption in all areas of our lives, and we are at a critical juncture when it comes to social injustice. It has never been more important to look honestly at our progress and set out our aims publicly to drive systemic and lasting change. So, I invite you all to read our first ID&E report and learn more about the steps we’re taking to ensure that equality is not a privilege, but is a right for all.