Home rental service Airbnb is looking for an important new team member with an unusual title: “Head of Diversity and Belonging.”
On the surface, the job listing looks pretty standard as far as this type of company positions go. The hire will be responsible for recruiting a more diverse workforce. Earlier this year, the company, like many in the tech industry, released a demographic breakdown of its workforce that highlighted a lack of women, African-Americans, and Hispanics.
But this job title doesn’t stop at diversity—it’s about belonging too.
The title is a nod to Airbnb’s year-old marketing slogan, “Belong Anywhere.” But it’s also likely about the other half of having a diverse workforce: retention.
Hiring a rainbow of employees is an important goal, but achieving it doesn’t really matter if most of those end up leaving because their newfound employer isn’t welcoming once they’re inside. Though stories of this type unfortunately surface regularly from the technology industry, a recent report from The New York Times about Amazon’s allegedly toxic work culture served as a stark reminder. In the report, several former employees, including many women, talked about being overworked and silently pushed to quit after taking maternity leave or time off due to grave health issues. Those incapable of devoting every waking moment to work also suffered the consequences.
Airbnb’s job listing may have an uncommon title and language that’s a bit touchy-feely, but at least it’s an acknowledgment that diversity numbers will never get better if employees leave because the welcoming feeling ended after the first day on the job.