Inclusion @ DoorDash

Inclusion @ DoorDash

Engaging, encouraging, and empowering our community to value diversity and inclusivity through intentional decisions around hiring, rewards, and penalties.

If you really care about something, it has to be at the core of what you do. At DoorDash we believe an inclusive environment is a competitive advantage. To reflect this, we integrated Diversity and Inclusion values into the way we hire, promote, and behave.

Diverse teams do better work [source 1] [source 2], it’s a proven statement. To maintain diverse teams you can’t just hire diverse teams, you also need to foster an inclusive environment to retain those teams.

Hire for Values.

We looked at how we could better incorporate our values into the interview process. Our previous “Culture Fit” interview did not meet our expectations, so we’ve revamped this portion and now call it “Engineering Values”. We wanted to make sure this section asked “Who are you, what do you care about, and what do you want to bring to your next company?”, rather than “Will you fit in here?”.

One of the main changes we made was introducing questions about diversity and inclusion. This is extremely important to us, not only as a moral imperative, but also because a diverse workforce will best serve our diverse audience of consumers, dashers, and merchants.  

Since this interview was new and felt less objective than the coding rounds, we decided to launch it as a paired interview, where we have two interviewers present.  This allows us to get a better signal by providing two points of view and gives us a tight feedback loop for interviewers to improve their skills. Paired interviews lead to less unconscious bias, due to developing more uniformity in how we ask questions and introduce the interview.

It’s been almost a year since we introduced this new interview and it is one of our favorite parts of our process. What’s been exciting is to see that it’s also become a favorite part of the process for our candidates. Many candidates tell us that we were the only company they interviewed with that proactively brought up the topic, and they relayed how much they appreciate this part of the interview process.

Reward.

We want to allow employees to engage not only in “job function” necessities but also to allow them the space to engage in events/discussions that increase community building within the company, such as getting involved in Pride@DoorDash events.  Our goal here is to make sure that doing the right thing and doing the thing that’s right for your career intersect as much as possible.

Therefore, as of September, we’ve added our engineering values to our engineering levels. This means that our team is not only responsible for execution, but also for fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. We even have a question about how the employee contributes to the company culture in our performance reviews, enforcing this attribute as part of our goaling system.

Accountability
No one is perfect, so it’s important to build a culture where we’re all helping each other stay on track. A quick, “Did you notice Nick was trying to speak up during that meeting” can help people realize the impact of their behavior, and correct accordingly.  The critical piece here is that people feel comfortable letting each other know about transgressions and also that we accept feedback from our peers.

We consider values as core to expected engineering behavior alongside technical performance.  Therefore, we can handle improving inclusive behavior the same way we approach improving performance in general. The goal is to guide someone to better behavior by discussing what went wrong, educating on how to do better next time, and providing opportunities to demonstrate improvement.

When it comes to performance review, culture is not an afterthought, it is simply part of the expectation for reaching the next level.

Looking Forward

In the end, we learned an important lesson.  The way for us to be successful in making our culture more inclusive was to make the things important to us ubiquitous and top of mind for all engineers. We did this by:

  • Documenting, publishing, and living the core values that we believe in.
  • Incorporating those values into our hiring process.
  • Rewarding the people that promote and diversify our culture.

This is still just the beginning for us. Diversity and inclusion is not just a movement or a group of initiatives. Successful initiatives create a culture where everyone sees diversity and inclusion as a part of their day to day work.  It must be a part of who we are.

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