TABLE OF CONTENTS
In June, our CEO and Founder Jon Stein made a statement: “Betterment will not stand for the unequal treatment of people of color in our company, in our communities, or in our country. We will advocate for our Black colleagues, friends, and fellow citizens and work harder to build a nation that’s just for all, where we all can pursue happiness, without fear, oppression, or unequal treatment.”
Over the last two months, we’ve been hard at work learning how to live up to that promise and take a stand against racial injustice. We’ve formed a coalition with the broader fintech community, we’re increasing our transparency with our employees and our customers, and we’re investing in resources for our employees of color. We acknowledge that these initiatives are a work in progress, but we want to share them with the Betterment community.
Betterment’s Employee Demographic Data
First, we’d like to share the demographic data of our full-time Betterment team (293 employees as of July 7, 2020).
The demographic data below is collected using the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) questions and selections during an employee’s onboarding process. Because of this, the type of information we collected is limited. Starting in 2020, we will provide optional opportunities for additional demographic selections (including but not limited to gender, race, and ethnicity) that are more inclusive for both employees and candidates.
*(defined as Director-level or higher):
Product, Design, Engineering, And Analytics Teams
We’ve made progress with gender representation over the past few years, but we still have a long way to go. And our progress in racial and ethnic representation—particularly within our leadership cohort—is not where it should be. We have work to do here, and are committed to ensuring that our team better reflects the communities and customers we serve across the U.S.
Scaling Our Diversity And Inclusion Efforts
The conversations we’ve had internally as a community, and with your input, are helping inform and drive the sustained change we’re looking to make. We’re working toward a new normal in several ways:
We recognize that the fintech industry needs to improve access to jobs, career advancement, and financial services, not only for underrepresented groups, but especially for people in the Black and brown community.
To hold us and other fintech companies accountable to making this change, we spearheaded the creation of the fintech coalition. Each company that joins the coalition will publish individual plans and provide regular updates on progress toward our commitments to enhancing access to financial services, as well as job and career advancement for people in the Black and brown community.
As part of the coalition, we are committed to publicly sharing our representation data on an annual basis each July.
Betterment’s Call-to-Action Initiative
Immediately following the murder of George Floyd, our employees formed a Call-to-Action (CTA) group. These employees have been brainstorming and executing a number of efforts to unbias our product, increase community outreach, and begin internal educational forums such as book clubs and speaker series.
This group is committed to creating change over time, beginning with the following:
- Betterment is supporting our Black employees in “Calling Out Black” every Friday throughout the summer. Calling Out Black acknowledges the exhaustion, pain, and emotional weight our Black employees might feel in the workplace, especially during times of civil unrest due to police violence. These days provide space for our Black employees to reclaim their mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
- Beginning in 2021, Betterment will recognize Juneteenth as an annual paid holiday to commemorate the ending of slavery in the U.S.
- We are running a summer education series for our non-Black employees about racial inequality and anti-racist allyship, featuring guest speakers as well as small-group discussions.
- We’ll be working with Paradigm for a three-part Inclusive Leadership Training series beginning in late July. All managers will go through these sessions that are focused on objectivity, belonging and voice, and the growth mindset.
- In August, Netta Jenkins will provide company-wide training with her business Holistic Solutions, which will include a discussion forum for Black and brown employees, a session for people managers on how to manage during Black and brown trauma, and two town halls for the entire company.
Improve Our Hiring Process
Over the last few years, our Recruiting Team has taken steps to expand our new hire sourcing efforts and diversify our interview process. Some of these steps include:
- Partnering with Jopwell, the leading career advancement platform for Black, Latinx, and Native American professionals to support targeted sourcing of diverse candidates.
- Allocating funds on a monthly basis to post on underrepresented job boards (e.g., Women In Tech, Women In Product, Black Women in Tech, /dev/color, The Mom Project, etc.)
- Increasing our geographic diversity by building a remote workforce.
We recognize that these efforts have failed to impact the percentage of employees of color at Betterment. Because of this, we have amplified our commitment to this area in four ways:
- With an employee population that is 70% white, we acknowledge that most folks refer others who look like them. We’re pausing our cash referral bonus program to reallocate those funds to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) hiring initiatives.
- Implementing a more streamlined application process where all candidates only need a resume to apply.
- Continuing to reduce bias in our job descriptions by investing in technology that decodes gendered language; by excluding education requirements; and by including must-have qualities and experience only.
- Researching and partnering with companies that help us increase our sourcing reach.
Increasing Internal Data Collection
This summer, we will launch internal surveys to collect broader representation information for both employees and candidates. These surveys will include additional optional self-identification opportunities for racial and ethnic groups, as well as gender.
We will share this information with leadership, ERSGs, and our Community Council on a quarterly basis, and will use this information to inform our progress and let us know where we need to focus our efforts.
Amplifying Our Employee Resource Strategy Groups (ERSGs)
We currently have seven active ESRGs: Black at Betterment, Latinx at Betterment, Asians of Betterment, Women of Betterment, Women in Tech, Betterparents, and Betterpride. Representatives from these groups act as facilitators between their communities and Betterment leadership, as well as participate in our Community Council, a group that meets on a regular basis to further diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Through our partnership with Netta Jenkins, we’re investing time in evaluating and improving the structure and reach of our ERSGs. We want to create more open communication between these groups and company leaders, and ensure that these groups are represented as stakeholders in company initiatives.
Fintech—and Betterment—has been heralded for providing broad and equitable access to financial services, regardless of how much money someone has.
While this access is a step forward, it doesn’t directly address the wealth and financial knowledge gaps felt by many people of color—particularly members of the Black and brown community—at the hands of a system that does not treat them equally.
We know we haven’t done nearly enough for our community and our employees, and we must do more. Thank you for your feedback and support as we work to do just that.