Some of our Gems expressed concern not only about insufficient representation at the leadership level, but also that we didn’t yet have structures in place for internal mobility and career development. We knew that a lack of mentorship and sponsorship opportunities is one reason underrepresented talent often don’t advance to leadership positions at the same pace as their peers within a given org, and we wanted to preempt that disparity.
By 2021, Gem already had a number of ERGs in place: Obsidians (for our Black Gems), Jades (for our AAPI Gems), Prisms (for our LGBTQ+ Gems). We also had an annual L&D stipend in place for all Gems. But after the events of 2020, we knew we needed more. So we piloted Shine—a mentorship program aimed at ensuring everyone at Gem has equal access to internal promotion—which we rolled out first to our Black Gems. We also implemented an equitable compensation program to make sure every role and employee is evaluated fairly; and developed our performance management to increase transparency about how promotions happen at Gem, and to help Gems understand how they can grow in their careers.
Mentees were exposed to opportunities such as presenting at All Hands (giving them greater visibility at Gem) and working on projects related to their career goals. Two Shine mentees received promotions this year. In feedback surveys, all mentees said that Shine has been invaluable, and they want to continue the program. Participants listed these top benefits: 1) getting support in developing skills related to their professional career, 2) being pushed to go beyond their comfort zones and face their fears in actionable ways, 3) receiving constructive feedback, and 4) building their professional networks by developing relationships both inside and outside of Gem.
As a recruiting technology platform focused on helping our customers track diversity and uncover bias in their hiring processes, DEI has necessarily been a priority at Gem from the beginning. Our ethos when it comes to our Gems is consistency, equity, and fairness. I know the work is never done; which is why I’m publicly committing to staying awake and attentive to what our Gems need; what makes them feel most celebrated; and how we can offer them a culture and a career path that feels like it honors them entirely for who they are, and for what they bring to our team.