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Rocket's Commitment to DEI Now and in the Future

Sharra Owens-Schwartz

December 28, 2021

In 2020, we saw a surge in companies strengthening their messaging and actions around diversity, equity and inclusion amidst the movement for racial justice. For some organizations, this seemed to trail off as protests slowed and news cycles changed. But at Rocket, we are standing firm-footed in this moment to reaffirm our commitment to DEI now and in the future as we look ahead into the new year. 

With COVID-19 cases reaching new highs and racial and social injustice persisting, there is a greater need than ever before to assess the way companies care for their employees, especially those who have been historically excluded and have been impacted most by the pandemic. The Great Resignation has demonstrated the burnout that many people are experiencing at work which has forced them to reconsider their work/life structure. It is our priority to create environments where Rocketeers feel safe bringing their whole selves to work, asking for help, taking risks in good faith and receiving support. 

In the hybrid and remote world where teams are not in the same room, creating psychological safety will become increasingly important to retain employees and empower them to do their best work. Put simply, we understand that when our Rocketeers thrive, Rocket thrives. The longevity of a company relies on its people, and creating diverse, inclusive and equitable teams is key to success. 

Here are three of the areas we are expanding Rocket Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (RIDE) in 2022 to further our commitment to these values. 

1. Hiring Practices 

When it comes to hiring, companies cannot do the same things they’ve done in the past and expect different results. At Rocket, we are finding new ways to bring in a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives across our hiring process. For instance, we are partnering with HBCUs, community colleges, bootcamps and organizations who engage talent from diverse background. This is the way we’ll expand our talent pools. Everyone’s life path looks different, and you don’t have to follow one rule book to meaningfully contribute to an organization’s mission. That’s why we are looking at how we can tap a wide range of talent pools to include more women, people of color, people who are neurodivergent, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ and others who have been traditionally excluded in the tech industry and leadership roles. 

We also understand that companies need to start at the beginning to change what their workforce looks like. This means properly training recruiters and hiring managers and rethinking the hiring process. For example, what do your job descriptions look like? Women are less likely to apply to jobs when they feel they don’t check every box, meaning they are self-selecting out before they’re even in the door. To attract a broader group of people to join your organization, you need to do things differently—and that means breaking down barriers that have kept different populations out at every stage of hiring.

2. Supporting Retention in New Ways 

Rather than thinking of work and life as separate, it is more likely that people are working to integrate them in the way that works best for their needs. For instance, some parents may want to spend time with their kids after school, and log back on after they’ve put them to bed. This doesn’t mean they are doing less work or are less committed to their job, but that they need the flexibility to integrate each aspect of their life. Having supports in place for employees to navigate this integration is important to prevent burnout and retain talent. At Rocket, we’ve gone beyond the typical Employee Assistance Program to provide one-on one-counseling, a digital interactive platform for meditations, life coaching, conversation circles, and designated community connectors throughout the globe to support engagement in the various Rocket communities determined by location. 

Instituting more mental health support and flexibility in the workplace environment is a priority for Rocket’s DEI efforts going forward, as we know this is especially important to retaining women and empowering them in leadership roles. The career ladder is suffering from too many broken rungs – between entry level and C-Suite positions, representation of women of color decreases 75%. Programs to support retention of excluded populations, such as our partnership with Aurora, will be critical for retention and meeting our RIDE goals.  

3.Culture and Policy  

Companies cannot look at diversity in a silo; diversity, equity and inclusion all rely on and interact with each other to create a thriving workforce. In other words, you can have a diverse workforce, but without the engagement that comes from a safe, inclusive community and equitable access to resources and opportunity for growth, companies cannot transform their cultures. As Rocket continues to grow through mergers and acquisitions, it is increasingly important for us to build on the strong foundation we have so that our new team members understand and embrace the Rocket culture with DEI as an interwoven component. 

One way we are achieving this is by implementing DEI-focused learning and development that maps to our company culture, values and behaviors so that every team member is aligned. As we grow, we will continue to reinforce these priorities to grow our RIDE initiatives. We are also digging deep into company policies and processes to analyze existing structures and ensure they are as equitable and inclusive as possible. Our goal is to take our practices to the next level where it is not only encouraged, but expected, that employees show up as themselves.  

DEI is Good for Business and Good for People 

The business case for DEI has been proven time and time again. Diverse and inclusive teams perform better, innovate more and drive results. For Rocket to continue to serve our wide range of customers, we need decision makers who are as diverse in expertise, backgrounds and perspectives as they are. Our world continues to change rapidly, and Rocket is prepared for these changes because our teams know that they are valued and critical to the success of our organization. 

To learn more about RIDE and joining the Rocket team, click here