Case Study:

The five steps Pinterest took to smash gender balance targets

Friday 21 September 2018
Pinterest is one of the world’s fastest-growing tech companies, and it’s put diversity at the heart of its talent recruitment
Pinterest logo

With booming ad revenues and an IPO touted for mid-2019, it seems the business model of social media firm Pinterest is yielding success. And its growth has come hand-in-hand with reform of the company’s working culture.

Since hiring Candice Morgan as its first ever head of inclusion and diversity in 2015, Pinterest has made strides towards addressing a shortage of women and employees from underrepresented groups. These initiatives appear to have been successful. There’s been a 26% rise in the number of female engineering staff hired.

In a recent interview, Pinterest’s Morgan gave a candid account of the measures that the company is taking to boost diversity. Here are five insights for managers:

1. Pinterest has made diversity part of the daily agenda

Morgan puts diversity initiatives at the forefront of discussions between senior management. Diversity is a standing agenda item in meetings and is discussed with executives as part of Pinterest’s business goals. This ensures that the issue is embedded in company culture and there’s a wider awareness of the issue.

2. Pinterest interviews a range of candidates

Pinterest has boosted the talent pool that it recruits from by insisting that at least one woman and one person from an underrepresented background is interviewed for each leadership position.

Read more: how to increase diversity within your organisation

3. Pinterest gives managers unconscious bias training

Hiring managers at Pinterest undergo unconscious bias training, in an effort to tackle their subconscious prejudices.

These types of training exercises often take the form of presentations and workshops, and have been implemented by companies such as Google, which put 60,000 employers through its diversity training programme.

Read more: How to beat your unconscious bias

4. Pinterest invests in apprenticeships

The Pinterest apprenticeship programme offers aspiring software engineers the chance to train alongside a mentor in a full-time role for one year.

The course is targeted at individuals who haven’t completed a traditional computer science degree, or those who are making a change of direction for other industries. And the scheme has been so successful that it’s quadrupled in size in the space of three years.

According to Morgan, this unconventional recruitment technique helps “open the door for self-taught coders” who might have talents but be overlooked.

Read more: the benefits of apprenticeships

5. … and Pinterest never sits still

Pinterest insists new initiatives to support employees from underrepresented groups are in constant development. In addition, regular ‘Ask Me Anything’ surveys give employees the opportunity to feedback on company culture and inclusivity.

Why you should increase diversity within your own organisation

CMI’s Management Manifesto shows that the presence of diversity within a workforce delivers results because it provides new perspectives and reduces the risk of ‘groupthink’. The manifesto highlights ways to boost gender balance, including using role models; addressing bias in the recruitment process; and increasing flexible working practices.

Image: Shutterstock