We've performed a comprehensive assessment of our current hiring practices through the lens of racial equity, and identified gaps where we need to be doing more. Based on studies showing that unconscious bias prevents diverse candidates from being hired, we’ve set a target for 66% diverse representation in final round interview stages to offset that bias. This target has already successfully spurred us to increase diverse representation in the beginning stages, with the aim of leading to balanced, unbiased decision-making at the end of the process. And, to make sure our own unconscious bias doesn’t get in the way, we have rolled out interview bias training for team members.
While ramping up our diversity sourcing efforts was a clear place to start, we need better data to form a comprehensive understanding of how diverse candidates are moving through the hiring process so that we can better prioritize our efforts. To that end, we will be collecting demographic data at the application stage, replacing standard EEOC questions with more inclusive messaging that was honed with the input of a number of Square Roots team members representing diverse backgrounds. We are also seeking partnerships with relevant job boards and professional organizations geared towards underrepresented talent, which can serve our unique hiring needs as a technology-enabled company in the indoor agriculture industry. There is so much more we can do here, but these are the first steps.
Through the lens of ensuring technology equity, we’ve surveyed our teams to make sure everyone has access to the tools they need to do their job while working not only in the farms or at other Square Roots spaces, but also remotely and at home.
Benefits and Compensation
We announced that we’re rewiring our farmer training program to accommodate the reality that social distancing will be with us for the foreseeable future. Now we’re reviewing benefits and compensation for these roles to ensure these pathways are accessible and equitable.
We’ve rolled out a policy for volunteer paid time off (separate from existing PTO) that will be available to all Square Roots employees. The goal is to give team members the time and flexibility to make a difference in their local communities.
Now, building off the community work we’ve done in the past through our Next-Gen Farmer Training Program, we’re reaching out to partners to understand if and where we can add value, and how we can get involved.
Education & Empowerment
We’re implementing learning and development programs across the organization, with training that includes leadership, DEI, and more. We will continue to make sure our entire team is involved in these efforts. Additionally, we are exploring potential educators and consultants to bring in outside perspectives not represented by our leadership team, to facilitate anti-racism training, help us identify and remedy any blind spots in our culture, and inform a comprehensive 2021 plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts at Square Roots.
We’ve launched a number of Employee Affinity Groups to represent racial and gender identities across Square Roots to create a space of belonging and community for all employees, and a channel for advocating for the needs of these groups.
Team members are encouraged to vote in local state and federal elections by taking advantage of Square Roots paid time off policy for voting. Last week, the DEI team hosted a virtual non-partisan info session on voting rights, specific to the states in which we operate, to encourage civic participation.
The list above is by no means exhaustive of the projects we’re working on now. We will continue to update it as projects move forward and begin to be implemented across the company. Keep an eye out here and on our social media for more information in the coming months.