Earlier today, Mailchimp Co-Founder and CEO Ben Chestnut sent the following email to all employees.
I’m sorry you have to read this. Today you’ll probably see unfavorable articles about Mailchimp published by a few media outlets. No matter where you sit or how you feel about Mailchimp, these articles are difficult, even painful, to read. The issues they raise will likely be on everyone's minds today, including my own.
Today I’ve been thinking about when Dan and I first started Mailchimp. We envisioned a place where all employees would feel included, respected, and empowered to do their best work. Working at Mailchimp is a great experience for many of our employees, but in recent conversations I’ve learned some of you (too many) haven’t had a good experience. That’s been hard for me to hear. Know that I’m listening, I’m reflecting on your feedback, and I’m sorry.
I'm also committed to rebuilding your trust and addressing the issues you’ve raised head on—we’ve tried to be thoughtful about our DEI initiatives, but they’ve only scratched the surface of what we need to do. It's also clear that some of our HR policies and processes aren't working for us, and we need to be more transparent about pay. We need to do better, and it starts right here, with me.
Over the past few years, Mailchimp has nearly doubled in size, and we’ve worked hard to scale our culture as we’ve grown. But, there have been times when we (myself and our leaders) didn’t prioritize our employees’ needs enough. I can see that now. We're committed to making meaningful changes, starting with an honest assessment of our DEI work.
Here are some commitments we’re making to you:
We’re updating our representation data and sharing it company-wide in March, and a detailed DEI strategy that’s aligned with our business—one that’s measurable, and that we can be held accountable for—at the end of Q2. We’ll update this data and share our progress with employees annually.
We’re investing further in understanding what drives retention and attrition. In 2020, we made progress hiring more BIPOC (21% average increase YoY) and women (22% increase YoY) across all levels and departments, but we need to do more to retain these employees. That starts with creating a culture of inclusion and belonging.
We’re improving our 360-feedback processes for managers to ensure they receive feedback and are held accountable for creating an inclusive environment.
We currently offer unconscious bias training, and are making it mandatory for our senior leaders. We’re also updating our Allyship training and rolling out training on microaggressions and cultural fluency for all employees, beginning with our senior leaders. Over the next few months, these courses will become a key part of our company-wide development and onboarding programs for managers and new employees as well.
Here are some changes you can expect related to HR processes and communicating about pay:
We recently conducted an independent pay equity study as part of a broader market review of our compensation to ensure pay across gender and racial/ethnic groups is fair and equitable. We’ll share more details about the analysis with our employees, and use more third-party reviews to hold ourselves accountable.
We’re making our promotion and advancement practices more equitable and transparent by clearly defining performance benchmarks, core behaviors, and opportunities for advancement, and sharing that with all employees.
We'll bring greater visibility to our employee relations processes by creating a council made up of Employee Relations, DEI, and Legal. The council will review recommendations made in any report alleging inequity or discrimination before closing out an investigation. We’ll also share Employee Relations transparency reports with our Executive Leadership Team quarterly and annually.
This is a turning point for our company, for our leaders, and for me. It’s a chance to show who we are and what we stand for. I want us to emerge from this experience a new Mailchimp. A year from now when I look back on this, we'll be in a different place. We'll have made measurable progress fixing the parts of our culture that aren’t working today. We'll have earned the trust of our employees, and you'll know we have your back. Our people will feel valued, respected, and proud to work for Mailchimp. That’s my promise to you.
We have a lot of work ahead of us to make Mailchimp the company Dan and I envisioned on day 1. I’m so grateful for all of you, and I’m ready to move forward together.
February 25, 2021