Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion in a Distributed Team

Each day I get to work with an incredible team striving to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment for our globally distributed community. Here’s how we created a space to celebrate our differences, grow, share and learn together.

At XWP everything we do is guided by a core vision for a new kind of workplace, where barriers between people are broken down and our people feel empowered—regardless of their location or background.

Our vision is for XWP to lead in developing an open web that is performant, reliable, secure, and accessible with a diverse distributed team that is aligned, effective, and thriving.

We wholeheartedly believe in the importance of equality and diversity. An inclusive and diverse workplace encourages our team to work, learn and grow together, opening doors to a whole new level of collaboration and performance.

Building an Accessible and Inclusive Work Environment

By its nature, location-independent work makes it easier for disenfranchised groups to find work that suits their needs. Amazing talent exists globally, and for many, remote work is the key to participating in a meaningful and impactful way.

Think, for example, of those who live in economically disadvantaged areas, parents and carers with important personal responsibilities, or those who are neurodiverse. For some, the requirement of traveling to a physical location every day can cause an immense strain on their mental health, and for others, it is simply not even an option.

It’s also worth considering those who unfortunately do not feel safe in a traditional office environment. Research from the Williams Institute at UCLA found that more than 45% of LGBTQ+ workers reported experiencing unfair treatment in an office environment, including being harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity at some point in their lives.

At XWP we provide support for our team to work in a way that makes them feel comfortable, safe, and secure, with a rate of engagement that fits their lifestyle and outside commitments. All of our XWPeople work 100% remotely, leveraging asynchronous communication to collaborate across borders. 

We want all of our community members to be supported in their journey, without fear of prejudice relating to their gender, race, sexuality, background, or anything else. Our differences allow for unique perspectives, and we aim to provide a space where we can grow and learn together.

Creating a Sense of Belonging Across Time Zones

We have teams that work across multiple time zones, and some XWPeople may only have overlap with their peers for a few hours a day— so creating a consistent sense of belonging can be hard. To help, we’ve created multiple anchor points that increase visibility, foster meaningful interactions and celebrate our wins together. 

🚀 XWP Live! — A monthly call (at two times!) for company updates, quarterly reviews, team demos, and culture discussions. 

☎️ Role-specific Calls — Time for community members to connect within their area of expertise to share and learn from each other and discuss the latest trends. 

🤗 People Ops 1:1 — A chance for community members to meet with a People Advocate to discuss their work/life balance, project involvement, and anything else that is on their minds. Learn more about how our People Ops team offers support through the onboarding process and beyond.

💡 Weekly Update — To amplify wins in the business, discuss key feedback from clients, and open discussion on new technologies. Each week, a different team member shares about their home life and culture.

🏡 Homebases — Timezone-aligned groups for the team to build deeper connections, share life experiences, and relax.

🎉 Holiday Party — Our once a year, all-in, one-time-zone celebration of the success of the past year. Learn more about our holiday celebrations

Biases When Hiring From a Diverse Talent Pool

One of our biggest advantages as a remote company is that we’re not bound to search for candidates in one location. We are able to talk to incredible talent from all over the globe, opening our doors to people from many different cultural backgrounds.

But of course, biases—unconscious or otherwise—can still be present in the hiring process for remote and distributed workplaces. Despite remote work automatically removing location and relocation requirements, there are still challenges to overcome.

If you want to create a truly diverse space with equal opportunities for all, there are a number of other ways that you can minimize biases throughout the hiring process. Removing the ability to submit a picture in the application process, focusing on values alignment rather than formal degrees or credentials, and removing any age-related information input all contribute to creating a truly equal opportunity for candidates. 

To learn more about how we minimize bias throughout the recruitment process, read our article ‘The Hiring Process: Where Remote Culture Begins’

“The reason I applied at XWP is that I looked at your team page and saw people that look like me. It’s rare to see that when I’m looking for work, but it makes me feel so much more comfortable about the prospect of working for a business—knowing that there is somebody there with a shared experience of the world.”

XWP Candidate

The Power of Flexible Working

Offering remote opportunities with flexible working hours can also help with creating inclusion, as it enables people to work in their own preferred rhythm. 

A parent, for example, may want to work when their child is sleeping, or taken care of by someone else. Those taking care of others may need to take frequent breaks in order to care for them. Those in different time zones can work what are regular office hours for them. 

We all have different responsibilities in our personal lives, and when those personal commitments collide with work it can make for some incredibly stressful situations. In some cases, that impasse can ultimately mean amazing talent may turn down or leave a role where they could have otherwise made incredible contributions. 

Allowing our team to structure their day in a way that works for them, and take a break when they need it, means that whatever their personal life throws at them, they can be confident that they are supported by XWP.

“What best fits your needs? 20h a week, 40h, or something in between? No matter what you choose, we treat you like a full team member. This flexibility means you can have financial peace of mind while still caring for your family and loved ones.”

Stéphane Boisvert, Engineering Director at XWP

That being said, being a diverse company does not equal being an inclusive company. It’s important to make sure that your community members have space to collaborate, share and feel a sense of belonging. We do this through a number of internal initiatives that help our team thrive. Find out more in A Snapshot into Remote Culture at XWP.

Provide Mental Health Support

Even in a diverse and inclusive workplace where people feel valued and respected, factors outside of your control can cause stress and unhappiness. In some cases, this may even be something that the person involved is not comfortable sharing directly.  

But how can you support your staff for things happening in their personal lives? At XWP we have multiple routes and possibilities for our community members to receive support, regardless of whether it pertains to their role or not. 

Our People Advocates have monthly check-ins (or more, upon request) to chat with our XWPeople on a 1-1 basis. Although there may be some specific topics to check in on in these conversations, such as how satisfied team members are with their experience/projects, collaboration with the team, and workload, there is an open agenda. They are built based on what each person shares and their support and advocacy needs.

In April 2022 XWP also announced a historic bonus to our Unleash+ program, the dedicated fund for enriching teammates’ lives, with a $500 stipend per person to spend on mental health and wellbeing. Through this fund, community members can gain access to therapy, health apps, or any other support they might need.

Unleash+ is not only limited to traditional forms of mental health support, with members using the fund to pay for days out with their family, trips away, and self-expression, allowing them to feel comfortable both in themselves and with their work-life balance.

Don’t Take My Word For It

Learn more about what our culture means to some XWPeople in a special edition of the XWP Tonight Show celebrating 100 community members. 

It’s All Part of a Journey

Creating an organization where people feel a sense of belonging is part of an ongoing journey. 

We’ve evolved from thinking about workplace “satisfaction” to a more nuanced understanding of how our community engages with XWP and what our people need to thrive. Our aim is to create a community where people feel a sense of belonging, in a community that is diverse and a workplace that is inclusive with ample and equal opportunities for everyone involved.

Our all-remote team now spans more than 34 countries and 18 time zones. From Korea to Kenya, Canada to Cambodia, you can meet exceptional XWPeople all over the globe, serving our clients and building a better web together.

Want to learn more about what makes us tick? Find out How Remote Works at XWP or browse our current openings.

We’re always looking for driven engineers and designers to help us grow. Our team members work with the biggest names in tech, tackle unique challenges daily, and are part of a robust culture that spans the globe. Do you have what it takes to be a part of XWP?