How Cleo Fosters Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) in the Workplace

How Cleo Fosters Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) in the Workplace

In June, Cleo sponsored Hired’s Breaking Through Bias event to help jobseekers understand the state of DEI and advance their careers despite systemic bias in hiring. Today, Cleo joins us to share how and why they are actively working to embed DEIB in their organization.  

What tech team roles are you actively hiring for, and what differentiates a good candidate from a great one? 

We’re actively hiring across most areas at the moment. We have open roles in Data Science, Engineering, Product Management, Design, Marketing, and People.

You can check out our open roles here: 

In terms of what we look for in candidates, we look for people who align with our values:

  1. Make it Happen: we look for people who are willing to take risks. We want to see how you’ve used your initiative to solve problems.
  2. Learn at Speed: we look for people who don’t mind failing. We always use data, research, and A/B tests to make decisions that impact our users. Show us how you’ve done this in previous roles!
  3. Bring Good Vibes: we want people to bring their whole, wonderful selves to work. We’ve built an inclusive and respectful environment where we help each other, every day. We’d love to hear examples of how you’ve done so. 

Preparation is often the key differentiator between good and great candidates. 

We like to see that candidates have taken an interest in Cleo. Great candidates clearly demonstrate that they’ve done their research by asking interesting and probing questions across a variety of topics (the role itself, the company product/mission, etc.).

What does DEIB mean to Cleo?

We’re solving problems for millions of different people. We can only do that with different opinions around the table. Building a diverse and inclusive workplace is at the top of our agenda for this reason. 

We want everyone to feel like they belong at Cleo. How do we measure this? Well, we ask. 

When we last asked our employees, 89.5% of our employees agreed that they feel they belong at Cleo. We think that’s pretty good, but we obviously want that number to be at 100%.

How do you foster an open, communicative environment for your employees, particularly about DEIB?

We have an opt-in DEIB working group, who sets aside 10% of their time to work on initiatives that will make Cleo a more diverse and inclusive space. This group sets OKRs just like a squad would, to make sure that DEIB is a priority, not a side-of-desk activity. 

The group focuses on topics like employee engagement, analysis of DEIB data, hiring and onboarding practices, and awareness activities. 

We offer diversity and inclusion training from an external expert to all employees on an opt-in basis. The sessions covered unconscious bias, allyship, and financial inequality in the US, the last of which is particularly relevant to our mission. 

We encourage an open and transparent culture, where anyone can speak up at any time, whether that be IRL, over Zoom, or via Slack.

What initiatives and goals does the company have around DEIB, and how do you measure their success?

For the past couple of years, we’ve been working hard to improve the gender split within our technical teams. We’re proud to say that overall, 50.6% of our employees are women. However, we know that we have a way to go in evening out our gender split in tech, where 33.8% of our people identify as female or non-binary. 

We are making steps towards improving this. In 2022, over 40% of our tech & data hires identified as female or non-binary. We’re aiming to maintain this high bar as we scale, and we’re happy to say that it’s going well. This quarter, 42% of our current engineering hires identify as female or non-binary.

How does your company ensure diversity and inclusion in the hiring process? 

Together, we’re aiming to create a more inclusive and impactful team that reflects the diverse society we’re aiming to help with our products.

By embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our recruitment efforts, we aim to foster an environment where everyone at Cleo can contribute their unique perspectives, collaborate effectively, and push the boundaries of innovation. 

How do we do this? 

We include a DEIB statement at the top of every job advert. It belongs at the top, it shouldn’t be hidden at the bottom of the page. Oh, and we put our job adverts through gender-decoders too, to make sure the language is appealing to everyone. 

Every interviewer at Cleo goes through two sets of interview training. The first session focuses on expected behaviours and standards, covering unconscious bias and best practices for inclusion and candidate experience. The second session is discipline-specific interview training, as each discipline’s interview process looks slightly different and is tailored to the needs of the team.

At the interview stage, we aim to provide diverse interview panels to allow all interviewees to feel comfortable, and to have a level playing field. 

We always ask every candidate the same list of questions, to ensure that our interview process is fair for everyone, with standardised scoring rubrics used to ensure objectivity. We never ask questions irrelevant to the role someone’s applied for. Sure, your hobbies might be interesting, but they don’t prove whether you’re great at your role! 

Related: Want to Ace Behavioral Interviews? A Guide to Prep Jobseekers

How does your company’s commitment to DEIB extend beyond the internal organization and into the community? 

We partner with multiple organizations and meetup groups that aim to increase access to tech. This year, we’re proud to be sponsoring RailsGirls London for the third year in a row. Their two-day event sees 200 people learn to code, for free, mentored by coaches from partner companies.

We’ve also partnered with The Early Careers Foundation, to provide mentors for 16-17 year olds from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. We hope that partnerships like this will increase the visibility of the range of careers available in tech companies. 

Cleo is an AI money assistant on a mission to fight for the world’s financial health. Founded in 2016, Cleo has 51-200 employees and is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. 

Tech stack

Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Rails, React, SCSS, Postgres, Redis, Heroku, React Native, JavaScript, TypeScript, Python, SQL

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