Published on February 17, 2021
Katie Burke, Chief People Officer, Hubspot
I've admired the work of Katie Burke at Hubspot for some years. What I especially love is their commitment to sharing openly everything they are doing, for other businesses to learn from. They have released Diversity data for 5 years in a row and share the majority of their HR data internally across the whole business too. Transparency is one of their 'Heart' Values:
Hubspot believes that to drive meaningful change, you can’t just talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. They admit they have a lot of work to do, but are committed to sustainable change and improvement.
In 2020, the Hubspot executive team shared a key vision:
"Take care of each other. Take care of your families. Take care of our customers. Take care of the world.”
This has been their 'north star' for doing work aimed at true impact on the inclusion and belonging of their employees, customers and communities.
Hubspot have fully committed to anti-racism, creating a company wide BLM action plan which focuses on introspection, investment, inclusion and impact. Through conversations and feedback with black employees, customers and partners, they sought to understand how they can build products and strategies through the lens of inclusion and how they can improve systems and processes to build a more equitable workforce and examine inequalities. They have -
Developed anti-racism training, focusing on anti-racism as a value, holding each other accountable and truly understanding racism and anti-racism.
Strengthened a partnership with Howard University, playing an active role in developing the next generation of black business leaders.
Committed $20m dollars to social impact investing, including a $12.5m investment in the Black Economic Development Fund, which supports black-led institutions, communities and businesses.
Introduced BLACKHUB – their newest Employee Resource Group, recognising the black experience formally, creating community and support and strengthening the belonging and trust between black and non-black employees.
Accepted that they do not have enough BIPOC representation at leadership level, and in 2020 engaged a Black board member as well as a Black Advisory Board with four global leaders that will help guide their go-to-market strategy, and their recruiting and retention tactics.
Hubspot have also responding to Covid 19 with empathy and leaned into a flexible culture:
The leadership team practice "leaving loudly" – encouraging parents to prioritizing their families and mental health, and setting the expectation that work can wait.
Leslie Forde, a member of the Black Advisory Board and founder of Moms Hierarchy of Needs, hosted sessions on navigating work and childcare.
They ran virtual family sessions over zoom – singalong Fridays, Storytime, educational sessions with professional teachers, and a virtual Summer Camp.
They prioritised wellness and mental health, bringing in thought leaders to speak about wellness, supporting sobriety, finding sleep in times of stress, navigating relationships in challenging times, managing unhealthy eating habits, as well as fitness sessions.
They gave employees designated days off to relax and recharge and got leaders to champion a “Take a Break” campaign”.
They have moved to a hybrid model for the future of work to choose from three work options - @home, @flex (2 or less days pw in office) or @office (3 or more days pw in office). This shift has increased their access to talent and their employees access to career growth - opportunity shouldn't be defined by where you live.
Hubspot continually champion open communication through their global Employee Resource Group Leadership council and gather ongoing feedback through their data (eNPS, Inclusion survey etc).
All of the things Katie and Hubspot are doing are amazing, and you can tell that they really care, but the thing that really resonated with me the most was that they are speaking openly and accepting that they aren't where they want to be right now, but are committed to long-term change.
I would love to see other businesses in the UK stop making excuses as to why change is too hard, and instead start trying to understand the real reasons that their cultures aren't inclusive and their teams aren't as diverse as they should be. Change won't happen overnight but it will happen if you take real, actionable steps in the right direction. You can't keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. Leading change when it comes to D&I takes bravery, speaking up and challenging your leaders.
I believe all HR leaders should share as much of their HR Strategy and Diversity Data openly, especially internally. Communication is so important. Empathy and Transparency, having difficult conversations, caring about people... this is what the future of HR looks like.
The full report can be accessed here - HubSpot 2021 Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging Report