July 27, 2021

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Special Committee Weighs In With Suggestions to Improve the Culture at Pinterest

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The special committee of Pinterest’s board of directors, formed in June amid diversity issues coming to light, issued its recommendations Wednesday, and co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann said in an email to employees, shared on the company’s blog, that its executive team is committed to following those recommendations.

Silbermann said the committee worked with WilmerHale to craft its suggestions for improving the culture and working environment at Pinterest, and he noted that the leadership team needed some time to process everything, as it received the report at the same time as every other employee.

He wrote, “After a quick review, I was encouraged to see that many of their suggestions mirror efforts we already have underway to build a culture where all employees feel included and supported. I was also heartened to see new suggestions and approaches that we can implement to better our culture.”

Silbermann also highlighted moves that Pinterest has already made along those lines, including:

  • Tyi McCray joined the company in August as global head of inclusion and diversity.
  • Skywalker Holdings president Andrea Wishom was appointed to Pinterest’s board in August, joined by former executive vice president of programming and strategy for ABC Family’s Freeform channel Salaam Coleman Smith in October.
  • Pinterest implemented a diverse slate requirement for new hires, particularly at senior levels.
  • Inclusion training for employees was revamped and expanded.
  • Business goals were established to increase the representation of content Pinterest shows to Pinners.
  • Pinterest teamed up with the NAACP to form an Inclusion Advisory Council.

Highlights from the special committee’s recommendations included:

  • The company’s leadership team should define its vision, form an implementation team, champion DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) and invest in and empower its DEI team.
  • Employees should be educated on inclusivity and unconscious bias.
  • Pinterest’s employee communities should be strengthened.
  • DEI should be emphasized in recruiting.
  • Pinterest’s most valuable resource is its people, and they should be treated as such.
  • Trust and transparency must be added to decisions that impact pay and promotions.
  • The investigations process for allegations of incidents such as discrimination, harassment and retaliation must be clear, transparent and consistently applied.

Silbermann concluded, “Where do we go from here? Over the past months, I’ve met with employees from all levels, teams and regions. So many of you have been candid with your concerns. So, these recommendations aren’t surprising. But they were still hard to read. That’s because I want Pinterest to be an inspiring company with the best culture we can possibly build. We’ve made progress this year. It’s going to be a long journey—one that will require sustained focus and commitment. We’re not there yet. But, with hard work, I know we will get there. I’m looking forward to working with all of you to implement these recommendations in 2021.”

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