For Atlassian, the Australian maker of workplace software, evaluating the diversity of its workforce isn’t only about absolute numbers and ratios across the company—it’s also about ensuring the diversity of as many of the company’s individual teams as possible.
On Tuesday, Atlassian
released its demographic breakdown for the company’s workforce, its first time doing so. Though an increasing number of tech companies have been doing so in the past couple of years, Atlassian added a twist: It includes the percentages of teams with member of each underrepresented groups (gender, age, ethnicity). The idea is to be able to evaluate how homogenous (or not, ideally) Atlassian’s teams are within each job function.
“Drilling down to that team level helps me understand what kinds of weaknesses and strengths I have in each team,” Atlassian’s global head of diversity and inclusion, Aubrey Blanche, told Fortune in an interview.
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With that said, Atlassian’s overall workforce still looks quite similar to its peers’, which is to say it still has a long way to go in terms of diversity. As of February 2016, women made up only 25% of Atlassian’s global workforce, while Latino and black employees in the U.S. made up 5% and 2%, respectively. Women also held 24% of leadership roles at the company and 14% of technical jobs. In total, Atlassian has 1,400 employees globally, and 550 of them are located in the U.S.
For comparison, last year, women made up 32% of Facebook’s
global workforce, 30% of Google’s
, and 38% of LinkedIn’s
. At the same time, Latino and black employees represented 4% and 2% of Facebook’s global workforce, 3% and 2% of Google’s U.S. workforce, and roughly 4% and 2% of LinkedIn’s U.S. workforce. (Check out Fortune‘s comparison of several tech giants’ numbers from last summer.)
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So why does Atlassian choose to look at diversity on a team basis?
It turns out it’s because it’s quite helpful in assessing the needs of each team, according to Blanche, and helps her better design programs and resources for employees. For example, the company noted that 66% of its software teams have a least one woman and for many of those teams, she’s likely the only one on her team.
“That means that most are probably not working with someone like them day to day,” explains Blanche. In turn, this means that Atlassian needs to create ways for these women to connect with each other outside of their day-to-day work through internal women’s groups, mentorship, and so on. “When these people are spread across these teams, it means we need to invest a lot in creating resources within the company,” Blanche says.
She later added that she was surprised to see that workers of underrepresented groups weren’t all clumped together in the company. And though this spread does mean Atlassian has to work hard to help them create communities, it also comes with a big upside.
“Even the introduction of one person from one background can improve performance,” said Blanche. “We are already beginning to get some of the benefits of diversity.”