Pinterest CEO Reflections: Failure to Understand the Harm of Racism

An email sent to employees by Ben Silbermann, chief executive of Pinterest, showed that the company plans to add a person of color to its board of directors and will begin evaluating managers based on multicultural hiring principles,media reported. Earlier, two black employees of Pinterest said they had been discriminated against at Theinterest. The internal e-mail was intended to respond to concerns about racial inequality among Pinterest employees.

Pinterest CEO Reflections: Failure to Understand the Harm of Racism

Photo by Ben Silberman on Twitter

“I am very embarrassed to admit that I do not properly understand how much suffering and hurt many members of our team have gone through,” Silberman wrote in an email. I need to do better, our team leadership needs to do better, and the whole Pinterest needs to do better. “

The internal email comes after two women who had worked on the Pinterest policy team filed public allegations this week. Both women said their salaries were too low and that ThePinterest’s human resources department had not considered other issues related to racial discrimination. The San Francisco-based Company initially responded that it had investigated the allegations against the two women, but found no wrongdoing. The contemptuous statement prompted other employees at the company to raise concerns with management.

For now, Mr Silberman said, Pinterest would hire outside experts to conduct a comprehensive assessment of staff compensation and a comprehensive assessment of possible unfairness. The photo-sharing site will also assess whether its products are suitable for non-white users and suggest ways to better serve users of different ethnicities.

Silberman’s email is full of the following:

Topic: Question and Answer Follow-up

Thank you for participating in our question and answer session. If you do not have the opportunity to attend, you can obtain a recording of the question-and-answer session in this email.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned that some of the culture of our business has been broken. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how much more work we have to do. But that’s no excuse, it’s just a failure of our leadership, and I’m really sorry to disappoint you. I am grateful to many of you for having the courage to share your experiences honestly and openly.

I was shocked to hear stories about black employees who felt they didn’t belong to Pinterest. Because our senior leadership teams and board members do lack diversity, because our employees are afraid to raise their own concerns with their managers or human resources departments, because our employees feel they are being treated unfairly in career development opportunities, because of the lack of diversity in our products and brands… These are just some of these issues, and a number of other vulnerable groups, including women, are affected by them. I am embarrassed to admit that I do not correctly understand how much suffering and hurt many members of our team have gone through. I need to do better, our team leadership needs to do better, and the whole Pinterest needs to do better.

We all know that the words in e-mail don’t change our culture. We need to systematically understand the biggest problems we face, understand why they exist, determine specific actions that we can take, work with all the team’s employees to set our goals and time frames to achieve them. We will also follow our substantive progress on these issues, incorporate them into our review system and monitor each other’s progress.

Over the next two weeks, we will complete our H2 program and OKRs. In OKRs, we have integrated all initiatives related to inclusion and diversity. Many of you have already contributed and given feedback. I am particularly grateful to the members of Blackboard, who, frankly, have shouldered unnecessary burdens and come forward at such a difficult time to teach the company the seriousness of these problems.

Below, I’ll share the areas of focus that I discussed in the question-and-answer session. Work is ongoing in these areas, and we’re working to refine it into a specific set of OKRs before the H2 program is complete. I know these are not enough, they are only a small step in the long journey. But I believe that we are taking a step in the right direction.

I want to make our corporate culture better. From the beginning, must also start from me. I care more about all of you than you may know or feel. Most importantly, I still believe that we can make Pinterest a company that makes black employees, from disadvantaged groups, and every employee proud. I know it’s going to be a difficult and long road. I also thank everyone who helped drive the company, we still have a lot of work to do.

Areas of focus. Note that these are only part of the H2 plan, and they are only the starting point for specific goals, owners, and policies. I know that there are certainly areas that we need to enrich, put in and advise.

Question 1: We lack diverse representation, especially at the top of the company.

Every member of my leadership team has to develop a recruitment plan for their senior position. These programs are now integrated into their core role expectations and performance appraisals.

Every member of my team is responsible for developing a comprehensive development plan for the future leaders they see as wanting to develop.

I will add a person of color to our board by the end of this year because we need a more diverse perspective and greater accountability.

For me and my team, this recruitment goal will be integrated directly into the performance appraisal.

Across the company, we will raise standards and create job diversity. As a result, different types of reports will appear in the weekly recruitment report. We are considering how we can promote more accountability to ensure that we continue to adhere to a diverse spirit of enterprise.

Question 2: Companies do not have a sufficient understanding and awareness of the issues of racism, inclusion and prejudice.

All employees will be required to attend courses on building inclusive teams and unconscious bias.

My team will hold a breakfast once a month to learn more about systemic racism and inclusion in business. I also asked them to hold a monthly meeting with their team, including inviting outside experts to share their experiences with systemic racism. In addition, we are working to establish some more direct connections between our ERGs leadership and executive teams.

Question 3: Our lack of deep, inclusive content on core vertical sites makes Pinterest less inspiring for some groups.

We want to build a measurement-based understanding approach so that we understand the inclusiveness of the product experience and set measurable goals to improve. Initially, this means that we will set goals for content creators, businesses, and businesses on Pinterest to continue to deepen diversity, and this action will be linked to the long-term goal of “building a more diverse content library.”

We need to increase the diversity of representation in engineering, product and design teams through recruitment and development.

By rethinking the inclusiveness of the Forum, let us think more diversely in our discussions and decisions, and not be influenced by organizational structures or hierarchies, so that the entire business can operate more fluidly and inclusively.

We know that there are some problems, but we are still learning more about the root causes of the problem and thinking about the next right step. One of the key areas is:

Too many people say they are reluctant to worry about their manager or human resources and have no confidence in getting the pay they deserve.

We often hear questions in the mouths of our employees:

How can I step back when Asking a question?

Is our process really fair?

How can we make managers accountable for unacceptable behavior? How do we provide resources to help them make improvements?

How can I believe that my pay is fair? What data and processes do we currently use to review our compensation and promotion processes?

We need to find out the truth about these things! We will hire outside experts to conduct a comprehensive review of our employee severance, starting with people of color and then expanding to other groups. We are also looking for outside experts to conduct an independent review of our other internal processes.

So what else do you expect the company to do? Currently, our team is actively integrating these topics and working with all employees to develop specific goals and specific cycles to accomplish them. Our plan is H2, and many executives have shared their plans because they need help setting the right goals, brainstorming solutions, and resource allocation. I want to thank everyone who came forward.