At Invoca, we stand with the Black community against racism, hate, and violence. We are committed to equality and justice, not only within Invoca, but also in the broader community. We shared our support following the death of George Floyd, and while the statement is genuine, my personal belief is that words alone are not enough. They must be paired with clear courses of action to drive meaningful and measurable change.
As CEO, I am committed to driving that action at Invoca and want to share our plan publicly. Our objective in doing so is not to garner likes or kudos, but to be transparent in our aspirations, accountable for future results, and open to suggestions from others.
Over the past two weeks, we assembled a group of employees that crosses many teams, titles, and backgrounds to develop a plan of action that strengthens our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the workplace and supports the fight against racial injustice in our communities. While coming together to listen and learn from one another was an important first step, it will take more sustained efforts to enact positive and long-lasting change in our company and our communities. We have more work to do to achieve these goals, and the approach we are sharing today is the first step in a multi-year process. We will continue to evolve our approach as we learn from each other and understand how these actions are driving change.
Fostering Allyship and Anti-Racism
The success of this effort requires the energy, attention, and commitment of Invoca’s employees. As a starting point, Invoca will be strengthening our education and training initiatives and facilitate ongoing dialogue through:
- Regular, mandatory training for all Invocans on allyship and subliminal bias, led by an experienced advisor on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Facilitated group discussions for employees on anti-racism and allyship, along with a curated library of resources on these issues.
- A voluntary, company-sponsored “21-day anti-racism program” to initiate the process of driving systematic behavioral change.
Eliminating Bias in Hiring and Compensation
In addition to education, we need to improve the systems and processes that we use to recruit, hire, and compensate employees in order to achieve our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
We have made some progress in these areas over the past few years, including increasing female representation in the workforce and implementing processes to address any pay gaps tied to race and gender. However, there is more work to diversify our employee base and deliver equity in career advancement opportunities. To eliminate bias in our recruiting, hiring, and compensation processes at Invoca, we commit to:
- Requiring a diverse slate of candidates in every hiring process, so that underrepresented groups have an equal opportunity each time we recruit for a new position.
- Publishing a quarterly diversity report, both internally and externally, to inform current and prospective employees about the composition of our workforce.
- Ensuring there is racial and gender diversity within the teams working on “key project assignments,” which have high visibility across the company.
- Committing to racial and gender diversity at the board level, beginning with appointing a female board member this calendar year.
Promoting Community and Civic Participation
If we are to commit to anti-racism, we must recognize that these efforts do not end when we leave the office. We as a company encourage our employees to be active in anti-racism efforts at home, in the local community, and at the national and global levels. To make that approach more concrete, we are launching several programs to support activation of employee participation in the community:
- Paid time off this Friday, June 19 in recognition of Juneteenth, an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. This company holiday serves as an opportunity for Invocans to volunteer, participate in activism, and educate themselves on the key issues facing the Black community and other marginalized groups.
- Three days of paid time off annually for volunteer work, which employees can use to volunteer with non-profit organizations of their choosing.
- Election day (Nov. 3) as a paid holiday to ensure employees have adequate time to vote and engage at a civic level as desired.
Supporting Racial and Social Equity With Financial Investments
Promoting racial and social equity is not just an investment of time, but a financial one as well. Invoca is providing support through the following measures:
- Invoca has made donations to Black Girls Code and The Hidden Genius Project, organizations that create opportunities for computer science, entrepreneurship, and leadership training among Black youth.
- In the past, Invoca has matched employee donations to non-profit organizations, and we are once again matching employee donations made since May 1 to causes related to the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Beginning in our 2021 fiscal year, we will institute an ongoing corporate donation matching policy and program. This will provide a year-round opportunity for Invoca to support the non-profit organizations that our employees care about.
Company Priorities: Measurement + Accountability Drives Change
At Invoca, we develop, communicate, and execute business strategy each year through a series of 6-7 company-wide “priorities.” Each priority has an executive sponsor and a working team, and the team meets with me monthly and reports status to the company on an ongoing basis. Our belief is that defining these priorities explicitly provides focus, accountability, and measurement — which ultimately translates to sustained progress.
We will craft a specific company priority around diversity, inclusion, and equity in order to incorporate these values fully into the operating DNA of our company. We are assigning a working team and executive sponsor, and over the next six weeks, I will work with this group and our leadership team to develop a detailed plan that extends beyond the steps outlined above and defines metrics to measure our progress on an ongoing basis.
While actions have greater impact than words, we recognize that the roots of systemic racism extend beyond our reach alone. Our hope is that by educating ourselves, taking a more transparent and measurable approach to diversity, and giving employees the tools and time to invest in their communities, we will make faster, more concrete progress toward a more equitable future inside our company and have a positive impact on a broader scale. I look forward to sharing our progress again in the future and welcome your partnership in improving our society for the betterment of all.