Jul 15, 2021 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Twitter reveals affinity group operations

Illustration of an open briefcase releasing a flock of Twitter birds.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

For the first time, Twitter is publicly revealing how its business resource groups are supported and run.

Why it matters: Internal employee networks and support groups are typically self-organized around demographics and interests. They've become a key part of corporate operations and culture, not to mention overall diversity, equity and inclusion strategies.

Details: All Twitter employees can incorporate their BRG work as part of annual performance reviews, and all managers are required to attend at least four BRG events a year, according to a blog post today from Dalana Brand, the company's VP of people experience and head of diversity and inclusion.

  • Twitter has a full-time dedicated manager who oversees the company’s BRGs and job descriptions for global chairs and executive sponsors, including guidelines on how much time they should be spending on BRG activities. 

By the numbers: Twitter had more than 6,100 employees as of the end of the first quarter, up 20% year-over-year.

  • The company has 11 employee resource groups, including groups for employees with disabilities and allies, who are parents and veterans and one organized around faith. The largest group is Twitter Women, for people who want to support female leadership.
  • There are a total of more than 60 global leads, who began to be compensated in 2020 and serve limited terms.

What they’re saying: In documenting BRG initiatives publicly, Twitter hopes to help other companies find their own solutions, Brand tells Axios.

  • “We cannot get there by ourselves,” she said. “Inclusion and diversity is not going to be solved by any one company.” 
  • When asked how involved CEO Jack Dorsey is in setting the goals, Brand replied that she has never had to have a conversation with him about the “business case of diversity.”

Yes, but: At the same time, Twitter, like many other social platforms, still has an online intolerance and toxicity problem. 

  • Brand said that by publicizing Twitter's internal efforts, the company can be, and wants to be, held accountable to mirror the work they‘re doing internally, externally. 

Our thought bubble: Internal procedures about employee affinity groups would not have been newsworthy a decade or less ago.

  • But amid a broader culture shift among consumers and employees demanding corporate transparency, it can now be in a company’s best interest — from a talent recruitment and retention standpoint and brand perception perspective — to share how it values its people.
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