Our Path to a Diverse Workforce at Mya

Lauren Winklepleck
| Lauren Winklepleck
Bias & Diversity
Diverse Workforce

Diversity in the workplace has become a top priority for many organizations today. For us as an AI company, building a diverse workforce is top of mind for our recruiting team. Most of us intuitively know that it is important and the right thing to do. Research also continues to show that it’s good for business. 

For example, according to McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians while BCG reports that companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue. 

Diversity has also proven to boost innovation. Global industry analyst Josh Bersin reports that inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market. Diverse teams have also been proven to build better products, thinking of edge cases that more homogenous teams would not conceive due to their similar experience.

At Mya, diversity is at the heart of everything we do, from how we approach hiring to engaging with employees to developing products. We are proud that our team is built of people from different backgrounds, across race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, gender, and cultural experiences. We believe embracing our differences is what creates an inclusive culture where everyone feels like they can bring their authentic selves to work. 

Diversity is core to how we build our products. Mya’s mission is to remove the barriers in front of job applicants and help hiring teams get the most qualified candidates using our conversational artificial intelligence (CAI). Having a diverse workforce helps us bring different perspectives and ideas to the development of this groundbreaking technology.  

It’s also especially important for tracking and assessing unintentional bias before, during, and after developing a new product. We are especially thoughtful about who we hire for our AI engineering team, which currently is 50 percent female, and made up of engineers who come from non-traditional engineering backgrounds, such as finance, accounting, and linguistics. 

As we continue to grow, we are doing more to increase the diversity of our entire workforce and have several initiatives that have made a significant impact on our organization. Some of the most impactful are:

Employee Forums

At Mya, we are building out employee resource groups for underrepresented communities, including LGBTQIA and Women at Mya. These forums provide a space for employees to share articles, discuss topics in the news, and have honest and transparent conversations in a safe environment.

Creating spaces where employees can talk about what matters to them can help nurture a culture of trust and inclusiveness. We also recognize and celebrate different cultural holidays, such as Mexican Independence Day and Diwali (and more), and support educational talks by our employees on topics important to them. One event was a Pride happy hour where an employee spoke about the history of Pride and what it means to people in the LGBTQI+ community.


Diversity Training Programs

Educating staff on diversity – from what terms mean and how to go about using them appropriately to assessing for your own bias – is a priority at Mya. We consider diversity in every single message and conversation of the hiring process, from the use of gender-neutral pronouns in job descriptions to ensuring we are interviewing candidates from a wide variety of sources. Ensuring our interview panels are non-homogenous is essential to both the internal interviewer and external candidate experience.

We also work to help employees understand the different kinds of biases we might unconsciously bring to an interview, such as bias towards neurodiverse candidates who may have the skills for the job but avoid eye contact or speak a little differently. Or, making an assumption that a mother who has three children might not be as effective at the job. We teach our employees not to look for culture fit, but instead, culture adds – someone who offers skills and experience that we may not already have at Mya.

 

Partnering with External Diversity Focused Organizations

Partnering with community-focused groups that are driving diversity in the workforce can help promote diversity beyond your organization and open doors to new talent from a variety of backgrounds. 

Mya currently partners with Hackbright Academy, the leading engineering school for women in the Bay Area, to help provide training for students. The week before a cohort graduates, our engineers mentor and guide students prepare for job interviews and get them ready to enter the workforce. We’ve hosted whiteboarding sessions, participated in career fairs, and created testimonials to support the growth of this program and its students. Our employees have been really engaged in this partnership, and as a result of our strong partnership we’ve hired several engineers through the program!

This is just the beginning of our journey to create the most diverse workplace we can. We will continue to focus on learning how to cultivate a culture where everyone feels like they belong and can thrive at work.

 

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If you’re a leader in the staffing or talent acquisition space, you already know that a diverse workforce is a better workforce. From increased productivity, engagement, innovation, range of skills, and everything in-between, this idea is commonplace for you. And that’s great — you know you need to build a diverse team, but knowing this […]
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