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Steps Our Talent Acquisition Team is Taking to Enhance and Scale Our Culture

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Welcome to the second blog in Appian’s new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Journey Series where we will focus on the steps that we’re taking at Appian to improve on an ongoing basis when it comes to all things DEI. Throughout this series, we will highlight various initiatives that we are working on across numerous departments within our company.

In this blog, we’re sharing the steps that our Talent Acquisition team is taking to advance DEI at Appian.

Meet the author

Hi there, I’m Ian Jones, the Director of Talent Acquisition at Appian. I am based out of our headquarters in McLean, VA, and lead our global TA team who are focused on attracting and hiring stand-out candidates across our organization.

Why Talent Acquisition is changing at Appian

Our Talent Acquisition (TA) team is committed to making a change. The Black Lives Matter demonstrations and call-to-actions over the past few months have increased our awareness about racial inequalities. These events have provided us with an incredible moment for education, honest self-reflection, and holding ourselves accountable to making an impact where possible.

In the past, the daily focus on executing operational aspects of recruitment had caused us to lose focus on the bigger picture when it comes to diversity hiring. After some reflection, we knew we needed to do more to engage diverse candidates in Appian’s hiring process. Here are some of the things we’re now committed to doing to support our organization’s DEI efforts:

What Talent Acquisition is doing now to better support Appian’s DEI efforts

1. Focusing on awareness and education

We created opportunities for our TA team members to build awareness and educate themselves on the history and current state of racism, and how it impacts our society. Our whole team participated in an educational meeting that included group and breakout discussions to kick things off here.

It’s so important that participants feel safe to have these types of courageous conversations, so our team made sure to create a safe space for honest discussion by setting agreements in learning, such as: assuming good intentions and respectfully challenging ideas not people.

2. Creating a new DEI working group

We also established a new DEI Working Group to identify opportunities to improve our hiring process and operations in order to continually improve representation in our candidate pool and minimize bias. We started by analyzing our hiring process — from how job descriptions are scoped and written, through how we evaluate our candidates.

One of the areas that we’re doing a deep dive on now is our intake meetings. For those of you reading this who aren’t in the TA world, intake meetings refer to the initial conversations our recruiters have with hiring managers to learn more about the role requirements and create a strategy for filling a job posting. We reviewed and updated our intake meeting guide to formalize a diversity strategy for the role, leveraging resources we currently have (e.g., FairyGodBoss and our partnership with Women In Technology) and sourcing new channels when needed to enhance our overall strategy.

3. Developing accountability mechanisms

Lastly, we’re also implementing monthly check points to ensure we’re making progress and reviewing changes made to evaluate if they had the intended effect. One of the ways we’re collecting feedback is by examining our processes and deliverables from the communities most impacted by hiring biases. Our AppianLIFE Affinity Groups are a fantastic sounding board for ideas and thoughts on improvement.

Looking forward

Advancing our candidate pools with a goal of increasing our diversity through representation isn’t easy given how small and competitive the talent pools are. It is also an often personal and uncomfortable topic in the workplace. But it is worthwhile and necessary and, if we do it right, we will build a strong environment where future Appian employees of all backgrounds can thrive and bring their full selves to work.

We’re definitely feeling the weight of this effort though. And we know that continued education and awareness will be needed to sustain our momentum. Hiring touches every corner of an organization, so bringing everyone along as both supporters and allies will be essential for our success.

We are committed to operationalizing these changes. It’s an opportunity for our team to grow as individuals. It also allows us to reach talent segments who have traditionally not had a path to employment at Appian. And having a workforce that is more representative of our customers will ultimately help us to better serve them too!The Appian TA team will continue to challenge our biases, have courageous conversations, and to reflect on our roles and responsibilities. We will seek out and advocate for more representation and continue to make Appian a great place to work for everybody.