I tried engaging on twitter yesterday (as the page on the policy invites questions and suggestions on twitter), only for Dan to publicly attack me today over my questioning of this policy. I’m not here to post about customers being publicly attacked by Dan. My questions weren’t answered, so I’m posting them here in the hope that Glowforge will answer them, and that having more than 140 characters to ask can provide some context:
- What will Glowforge do to widen the minority employment pool versus poaching from the existing puddle?
- How will Glowforge avoid sending the message that people who don’t qualify as minorities are worth $5000 less than people that do?
My rationale behind question one is that putting a $5000 bounty on minorities may improve your own company’s diversity, but doesn’t in itself help others in those communities get into your industry. I get it, you have a perceived immediate diversity issue in which your current networks have failed you, but paying a bounty won’t help widen the pool versus say, offering scholarships or working with industry minority organisations. I encountered a similar thing in one of my companies a while ago where the minority pool is tiny and we took the decision to go out to academia and industry minority groups, with which we’ve had less than perfect success but it’s an ongoing process and we’re trying. Diversity is hard, really hard and easy to get wrong, hence my question.
Question two relates to the concept of perverse incentives. The minority applicant doesn’t get the extra cash, but the referrer does. However, this risks sending out the message that Glowforge is not interested in hiring people from the majority of the available recruitment pool. It also suggests that Glowforge may not hire on merit, but on attributes unrelated to a role and outside of a person’s control. Neither of these issues may be real, but both of these may be perceived by potential applicants, and the question relates to how you manage that perception.
When taking both into account, I hope you can understand the possibility that people may read into Glowforge’s intentions very differently to the manner in which it was expressed, and I wanted to know what steps were being taken to ensure that glowforge doesn’t lose applicants. I say this as both a customer who wants you guys to have the very best people regardless of attributes, and as an employer of a similarly sized company in a similarly male-dominated but different industry who is genuinely interested in how you approach this.
I hope this finds you well and as intended in the positive manner of open discussion at Glowforge’s invitation, and not as an attack on your policy. I can’t believe I feel I have to write this, but this is I guess where Dan and I are personally right now.