Why do we focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at thoughtbot? Many technology companies fail their employees who aren’t white, male, cisgender, heterosexual, or a mountain of other identities. We believe that building an environment where everyone can thrive is our moral imperative.
We offer benefits like vacation, time off, and parental leave despite the fact that those things cost real money. We offer them because it would be wrong to expect that everyone could live a full life from only a weekend. It’s also unreasonable to expect that all our employees can lead a full life if we ignore DEI.
Similarly, we spend effort, time, and money towards DEI. We’re always looking to improve the place we work at and the world we live in and DEI fits naturally into that ethos. It’s not so different from simply being kind to one another. There’s no law that says we must be kind, but being kind creates a better place to work.
Another benefit we’ve found is that that focusing on DEI can also be good for business. For us, having a diverse team (not just in race but across many axes) will help us understand a broader range of people. That understanding leads to better software for a larger audience. It’s a natural consequence of becoming aware of that audience. And while this is a wonderful advantage for us, we still believe that our DEI efforts are necessary with or without any business benefits.
In summary, we seek diversity because it’s the right thing to do. We support equity to keep that diverse set of people engaged at every level. We work towards inclusion to make sure everyone is comfortable engaging. Success requires all three pieces. Like a wooden stool, it needs those three legs to stand. Missing any one leg, it falls.