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Thriving in Tech: Removing Barriers for Black Professionals

Thriving in Tech: Removing Barriers for Black Professionals

A look at the demographic changes in the high-tech industry in recent years will show the same concerning but well-known statistics that indicate a dip in diversity retention rates and support for workers from underrepresented groups. The industry's rapid growth from increased demand for new technologies and the popularity of remote work has exacerbated these statistical trends. For these underrepresented workers, decreased retention rates can stem from several things, including but not limited to equitable access, poor management, career dissatisfaction, or lack of company transparency. To honor Black History Month in the United States, would like to share some insights on how it, as a company, addresses and combats decreasing diversity retention rates and maintains an inclusive company culture, which, when applied, can benefit black workers in the industry.

Black tech professionals in the United States have consistently been underrepresented and make up around 7.4% of the industry. They are, in total, 13% of the US labor force, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the industry grows and more tech jobs are created, these demographic statistics should continuously be evaluated to highlight issues with worker retention and how to create a more inclusive work culture. There should be open initiatives for DEI discussions in the high-tech industry that highlight companies that encourage black tech workers and other underrepresented groups to remain in and make impactful contributions to the field. 

Worker retention issues can be due to several factors, notably job safety and security. As mentioned, is self-defined as an entirely distributed team of engineers balancing support and engineering across time zones to promote open communication and sharing. Being a distributed team grants us diverse employees with differing perspectives on what is needed to feel safe and trust the company. 

Open communication and sharing

To create and maintain a psychologically safe work environment, trust is essential. The most critical element in building trust for an employee is receiving and giving open and transparent communication and feedback, free from any perceived risk or exposure. Only then can we truly understand the needs of our employees, hear voices beyond management teams, which are often heavily dominated by specific demographics, and be able to share in the different perspectives we benefit from in having a diverse and inclusive culture. To put it bluntly, if we want to truly listen and address the concerns of our entire workforce, rather than tell them what diversity and inclusion mean from the top down, we need to hear their views.

To support such an environment, operates in a way that gathers as many voices as possible as frequently as possible. We have Q&As open for each of our staff meetings for employees to ask questions and have them addressed directly by a management team member in the following meeting. We also use Lattice as a feedback tool for employees to proactively give anonymous feedback directly to HR and Management, along with regular anonymous surveys to collate feedback from the team on a wide array of topics. also encourages a culture of recognition, ensuring we bring attention to the great work done by our colleagues. We have a Slack channel that integrates with Lattice, allowing us to send praise to our coworkers, which gets shared with the team and saved in Lattice, allowing us to see all the praise we’ve received.

All of this feedback is a handy tool for a company to improve the safety and inclusivity of its environment. However, it can be a little “chicken and egg” to gather the most honest and helpful feedback; the employees must feel as if they are already in a psychologically safe environment. So the “magic sauce” to this from’s point of view is a relatively simple philosophy, “live what you preach.”

As such, how has cultivated its current team’s diversity and maintained such an inclusive culture can and should be used as operational standards for increasing retention rates of black tech professionals.

DEI - How we apply it at

We operate in a space with heavily underrepresented groups and must do our part to redress this at all company levels. This means that we must remain aware of our actions and the impacts or implications they could have on these groups. Frequent employee feedback plays a decisive role in how we operate and where we can make corrections that benefit our employees better.

I began my role as a Platform Engineer with the company in 2022. I attended the University of Texas at Austin and have previously worked in software development and product management. I have the following feedback regarding’s DEI efforts:

The community fostered by and the feeling of understanding I get from my peers allows me to work comfortably with confidence in my abilities. There are no internal pressures put on me, which I have felt in previous positions, that would make me feel insecure. In a broad sense, simply feeling like a part of the team, contributing, and daily interactions with my coworkers give me a feeling of safety.

Brittany Mitchell

Brittany Mitchell, Platform Engineer

While my feedback does not point out any negative aspects of culture, my previous experiences have taught me that we should regularly survey team members to gauge the overall stress levels they may be experiencing while working and their overall comfort levels with regard to their teams, leads, and peers.

We run our job descriptions through decoders to ensure that our language is free of unintentional bias or any language that may deter underrepresented candidates from applying in the first place.

While Black History Month is used to showcase the prideful work and history of Black Americans, it is essential for us to initiate and continue conversations regarding their disproportionate employment in the tech industry. Having an inclusive and safe work environment with open communication and, most importantly, trust is required by companies to combat this disproportionality. To address this, we will dive deeper into HR management, our ideals, and how to increase our impact to benefit black tech professionals in a future blog article.