Fair recruitment at Asana

Asana is a San Francisco-based tech company with over 600 global employees and offices in 7 countries. It is known for developing work management platform Asana.

“Our mission drives us everyday as we build technology that is a force for positive change in the world,” said Sonja Gittens Ottley, the Asana Head of Diversity and Inclusion. Asana strives to create an empowering and welcoming work environment, and a key element of the company’s success is a diverse and inclusive team. Asana established their own methodology and launched programs dedicated to diversity and inclusion.

How to develop fair recruitment practices

1 - Asana’s Rooney Rule*: Inclusion & Diversity KPIs

Asana’s approach to building a more diverse leadership team is based on the Rooney Rule.

Setting KPIs to attract more diverse talent and be more impactful in your inclusive policy can be a sensitive subject. Asana made the choice to impose KPIs to assess their progress. One of the criteria for Asana’s recruitment process is to interview at least one candidate from an underrepresented group and one female candidate for each leading job position.

2 - Diversity in the sourcing to get diversity in the team

In order to bring more women onto their team, the company has been creative in their sourcing and recruitment process, and has launched various initiatives:

  • An expanded University & Early Career Recruiting program targeted specifically at universities with high representation of minorities and women, including HBCUs and Women’s colleges.
  • AsanaUP, their software engineering apprenticeship program for individuals who do not have computer science degrees. Launched in 2018, the program has a 100% hire rate to date.
  • Partnerships with organizations and events that are aligned with commonly underrepresented communities in tech including Grace Hopper Conference, TechInclusion, Latinas in Tech, Code2040, Tech Trek, etc.

3 - Training teams to be comfortable with diversity and inclusion

Asana organizes robust employee training for their recruitment teams, hiring managers and recruiters. The company also organizes internal discussions about biases and behaviors. Most of the following sessions are required for all employees:

  • Comprehensive D&I curriculum during onboarding for every new hire
  • Quarterly “Ask Me Anything” events with the Head of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Mandatory harassment training
  • Bias training
  • Inclusive Leadership training
  • Interview Skills training

The results: A 40% increase of female employees in Asana global offices in 2018/2019.

*Rooney Rule: The Rooney Rule is a National Football League policy that requires league teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. It is an example of affirmative action, even though there is no hiring quota or hiring preference given to minorities, only an interviewing quota. It was established in 2003, and variations of the rule are now in place in other industries.

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