Reflecting on a Year of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at HubSpot

By Katie Burke, Chief People Officer at HubSpot

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Our mission at HubSpot is to help millions of organizations grow better. To me, our annual Diversity Report is a critical milestone in how we are growing better ourselves. But there’s a funny paradox about growing better and reporting annually.

This report represents a moment in time, when in reality, the work behind the numbers is constant. The real work happens with every piece of feedback we get, every new hire experience we improve and iterate on, and every hiring manager who views our diversity work better than they did the year before.

So as we share HubSpot’s 2020 Diversity Report, we do so with the same humility we did the first time we released our data, in 2017. This past year, we did some things better, made some mistakes and missteps, and ultimately learned a lot about building a company where everyone can do their best work. Below are a few things we’re particularly proud of, some key areas we need to continue to evolve in, and some reflections on how we’ll be approaching diversity, inclusion, and belonging at HubSpot in 2020. My hope is that with transparency into our diversity work and our flaws, we can help our customers, partners, employees, and candidates grow better, too.

  • For the first time, we added new self-reported categories around gender identity, LGBTQ+ self-identification, and parental status. Based on the 49% of our workforce who responded: 24% of our workforce self-reports as parents, 11% identify as LGBTQ+, and 0.7% identify as transgender. With these insights, we can now share a more comprehensive and global view of our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Our LGBTQ+ Alliance and ParentSpot employee resource groups are pillar components of our DI&B strategy, and because they are global in nature, they provide an important thread that connects our global offices and remote team members around important elements of identity. We’re honored to be a company where individuals of all genders and sexualities can thrive, and we were humbled to be named the #3 Best Workplace for Parents in 2019 by Great Place to Work and Fortune. This makes me prouder than I can say in words, and I’m particularly excited that this year we’ve seen a notable increase in our programming for both the Alliance and ParentSpot in our international offices.
  • In welcoming Yamini Rangan to HubSpot as our first-ever Chief Customer Officer, we now have four women in executive leadership at HubSpot, in addition to three women serving on our board. Company-wide, we stayed constant at 44% female overall, with modest increases at the executive and director levels, and a modest decrease at the VP level. Our Women Who Lead programming was recognized by the Boston Women’s Workforce Council, and Comparably, Fortune, and Great Place to Work recognized HubSpot as a Best Place to Work for Women in 2019. While we’re proud of our progress in helping women grow and lead in their careers, we recognize the need to heighten our focus on gender diversity within our tech teams, where we saw a dip in balance this year.
  • As it relates to ethnic diversity, we saw meaningful progress on teams like Marketing in 2019, and our Business Enablement team (BET) remains a leader in the business on racial diversity in their hiring approach. Teams including Services, Product & Engineering, and G&A, also demonstrated notable strides in recruiting. The good news, which we’ll discuss below, is we now have more insight than ever on what works and what doesn’t in terms of under-represented minority hiring in our recruitment approach, which will be a core focus area for us in 2020 company-wide.
  • If you listened to HubSpot’s Q2 Earnings Call, you may have heard that we fell behind on hiring in the first half of 2019. That meant we were playing catch-up for the latter half of the year. As a result, our highest volume hiring teams (notably Sales and Customer Support) suffered from a clear lack of focus on the inclusive recruiting strategies that we know impact our ability to hire incredible talent at scale. That’s an executional failure I take full responsibility for, and one we are already applying lessons learned from to our hiring approach for 2020. This year, we’ve partnered deeply across every area of the business to plan for recruiting capacity, timing of roles, and customer needs for roles to ensure we give each role and team the focus and time it deserves. This includes building truly diverse global slates, assembling remarkable and diverse panels of interviewers, and training HubSpotters to be skillful and inclusive interviewers, all of which we’ve invested more time and resources into doing better in 2020.
  • HubSpot’s Returners Program welcomes people back to the workforce after a career break, sometimes from caring for children or for an aging parent. Started by our team in Dublin, the program is now in EMEA and North America, and has produced incredible candidates-turned-employees on our Sales, Services, and People Operations teams. With that said, the Returners Program helps ensure we think of entering and re-entering tech as age agnostic, but we have continued work to do to ensure we are thoughtful and diligent about age inclusion in our approach to hiring, culture, and employee development as we scale.
  • Our primary tech teams (Business Enablement and Product & Engineering) remain heavily skewed male, with BET showing a 15% dip in female hiring and G&A seeing an 11% dip. So while we remain strong on overall gender composition as an organization and have improved in key areas, there’s a lot more we can do, particularly on technical teams. Additionally, along with many of our peers in tech, we are actively figuring out how to ensure our gender recruitment efforts are inclusive of women of color, LGBTQ+ and non-binary folks, and/or women of all ages and backgrounds.

In 2019, we tried a lot of things to make progress on our diversity goals. We learned, though, that focus is powerful. That’s why in 2020, our aim as an organization is to do fewer things better. Here are the three core areas we are going to focus on as a result:

  1. Improving our under-represented minority hiring and inclusion efforts in the United States, with a particular focus on our highest volume hiring roles. At a company level, diversity hiring and retention will continue to be an MSPOT (our internal strategic document for annual planning) goal in 2020. For every team, the “how” on this goal is slightly different, but we know now a lot more about inputs that really move the needle (e.g. manager sourcing, ongoing engagement versus one-off campaigns, leadership engagement, and the Rooney Rule process for manager and up roles). Thanks to those learnings, we have more clear actions for hiring managers, recruiters, and leaders in the business to focus attention and energy on together with their respective teams.
  2. Using the results of our first-ever Global Inclusion Survey to focus on inclusion and belonging worldwide, with a particular focus on remote diversity and inclusion strategies. This new survey gives us candid feedback from our employees on what we can do better or differently, helping us know where we need to take action. In particular, we got a lot of feedback that while leaders throughout the business are active in attending events about DI&B, employees now expect (and deserve) more clarity on how all of us as leaders are prioritizing DI&B within our own teams and regions. As a result, we are investing more time, energy, and effort into equipping managers and directors with clear opportunities to build more inclusive, and with guidance on how to share and communicate that internally.
  3. Making entry-level tech opportunities accessible at every turn. We used to think of “entry level” hiring and campus recruiting as synonymous. The reality is that entering the tech industry is age and experience agnostic. Campus recruiting remains an important and incredibly valuable part of our approach to hiring, but we will be working in 2020 to ensure that starting a tech career or joining HubSpot is accessible for everyone. We’ll double down on our Returners Program, make sure our remote strategy is age and geographically inclusive, expand our veterans and accessibility programming, and continue to invest in and evolve initiatives like First Gens in Tech that helps people of all backgrounds consider roles in tech. Additionally, in the past year, we’ve revamped many of our job descriptions and entry level recruiting approaches. We’ve also partnered with organizations ranging from Resilient Coders to Hack.Diversity to Handshake to Treehouse. These partnerships have been invaluable in helping us be more thoughtful and inclusive about a variety of diversity dimensions that amazing candidates bring to the table.

Building an organization that’s diverse, welcoming, and inclusive is not just a people priority for HubSpot, it’s a business priority. Our board, leadership team, and employees are invested in making this a place where you’d be proud to belong. That’s why this year’s report, like every year’s, is a signal of our ongoing commitment to transparency, vulnerability, and growth in this area. So as HubSpot navigates our path to growing better, we hope that in some small way, we can help our team, candidates, customers, and Partners do the same.

Learn more about HubSpot’s diversity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives here.

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