March 24, 2022

2021 State of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Plaid

Andrea Cruz

In 2021, Plaid established a formal Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) team to bring further resourcing and structure to the DEIB efforts that we’ve been committed to over the years. We spent time in this first year defining — defining how this team will continue to support the business, what future successes look like and what we’re driving towards. Our vision is that DEIB is fully embedded into who we are, how we work and what we build. 

In this post, we’ll look at each component of DEIB — diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging —  and our efforts on each of these fronts. 

Increasing representation
We’ll start with diversity and what representation looks like at Plaid. For us, accountability starts with transparency. Below you can find representation data (see footnote) for Plaid overall and for our different business segments year over year.

In 2021, we’ve made progress that we’re proud of — like growing the team by nearly 60% while also increasing the representation of women across the company (to 38% in 2021), increasing the representation of Black employees company-wide (to 4% in 2021) and across our Engineering, Product, Design, and Support orgs to 5% (up from 2% in 2020). We’ll continue to build on this progress and we still have areas where we want to focus — like further growing our Black and Latine communities company-wide and increasing the diversity of our leadership. 

We’re continuing to invest in efforts that help us to move the needle on representation. For one, we’re actively hiring for a Diversity Program Manager. This individual will focus on scaling and expanding our inclusive hiring practices and programs as Plaid continues to grow. By continuing to build our DEIB team, we will expand our support for DEIB initiatives and programs across Plaid.

We also recognize that it’s important for our employees to see themselves reflected in leadership. The representation of women (25% in 2021) and people of color (27% in 2021) in our leadership team lags behind Plaid overall. In response to this gap, we launched the Pleadership (or Plaid Leadership) rule in September 2021. This rule, applied to leadership positions, is aimed at increasing diversity on our leadership bench. Initiatives like this take time to have an effect and we plan to share its impact at Plaid in future posts. We believe diverse perspectives in leadership encourage and amplify the diverse voices of Plaids.

Promoting equity
We know that representation data allows us to see whether we’re building a diverse workforce. We also know that data is just one piece of the puzzle – an even bigger piece is ensuring we continue to build employee programs to attract and keep talent growing and thriving at Plaid. This takes many forms, including ensuring our employee programs, our compensation and our processes are equitable. 

Fostering inclusion 
At Plaid, we believe that inclusivity is something we’re all responsible for cultivating. In 2021 we partnered with ReadySet to deliver sessions focused on inclusive culture building for our ICs and inclusive people management for our managers. We’ll continue to offer annual DEIB education and, in 2022, we’re weaving a DEIB lens into our internal development to ensure DEIB education is sustainable at Plaid. 

It’s equally important that what we build reflects the inclusive culture we foster. In 2020, we developed Product Inclusion Principles to enable us to build inclusive products. In 2021, we ran Inclusion Reviews across our portfolio to ensure that what we’re building is aligned to our principles:

  1. Maximize access for all

  2. Proactively recognize and prevent bias 

  3. Think through outcomes 

In order to hold ourselves accountable to fostering an inclusive culture, we have an established employee engagement program in which we survey employees quarterly. Included in those surveys are questions that help us understand whether and to what extent our employees feel they belong and are empowered at Plaid. We use this data to inform our programs and initiatives. 

Supporting belonging
It is one thing to feel that you don’t have to hide who you are at work; it’s another to feel that your authenticity is celebrated. We strive for Plaids to bring their full selves to work and for that full self to be celebrated. 

A key partner in building belonging at Plaid is our Plaid Community Groups (PCGs are what we call our Employee Resource or Affinity Groups). We currently have four: Plaids of Color, Plaids of Faith, PLGBTQ+ and Women+. Our Plaids of Color and PLGBTQ+ groups have grown their membership significantly in 2021. Plaids of Color grew from 46 to 148 members (+221%) while PLGBTQ+ grew from 24 to 61 members (+154%), year over year. Women+ programs have supported a closing gap between men’s and women’s experiences at Plaid, according to our quarterly engagement surveys. Plaids of Faith hosted their first Interfaith week in Q4 highlighting different holiday faith traditions. Our PCGs’ growing presence and programming have had an outsized impact on our overall culture. 

The road ahead
While we’re proud of what we accomplished in 2021, we’re not sitting back. We’ve got lots more important work to do with DEIB at Plaid. In 2022, we’re excited to:

  • Expand our DEIB measures. With our equal focus on ensuring talent grows and thrives at Plaid, we also want to understand things like tenure, retention and promotion for our underrepresented groups. This data will inform our future programs.

  • Learn more about inclusion and representation outside of the United States. We have an increasingly global team and we want to be sure our programs are inclusive of a global perspective. 

  • Enable our leaders. Great people managers are inclusive people managers. We’re excited to expand our tools and resources to enable our leaders to continue to positively influence Plaid culture. 

We’re excited to continue to strengthen the DEIB practice at Plaid in 2022 and to share more learnings with you in 2023. We’re dedicated to ensuring DEIB is a movement, not a moment at Plaid.

Footnote: Throughout this post you will see gender, race and ethnicity data, which tracks to EEO-1 reporting. This is not because we believe these vectors are a comprehensive definition of diversity at Plaid, but rather because it provides two helpful dimensions to measure our progress compared to the industry. Plaid’s diversity efforts extend well beyond EEO-1 categories and includes other aspects of identity like sexual orientation, gender identity and more.