Zillow CEO: Want Gender Diversity? Focus on Business Results

October 26, 2018, 4:12 PM UTC

CEOs often talk about a diversity problem in the workplace, especially in the c-suite. But talking about the problem isn’t enough; instead, focus on producing business outcomes as a result of increased diversity, says Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff.

To make the case for diversity, executives should start with identifying leaders who drive business performance early on. CEOs can’t afford to wait to fill the pipeline of diverse talent, “tech entrepreneurs talk about tech debt and not [re-writing] code as you go; there’s also HR debt which becomes harder to fix over time,” says Rascoff.

Solving the diversity problem early is quite simple. “Companies make a lot of excuses for things: not enough qualified women, we can’t have pay equity because it’s too hard to calculate—put your money where your mouth is—it’s a totally solvable problem,” says Rascoff, who suggests companies start by leveling employees by performance ratings; that way it’s easier to determine if you’re fairly compensated relative to colleagues.

Another solution is to elevate and raise awareness of diverse leaders, especially in board positions where only one in five women sit on the boards of the largest publicly listed companies. Rascoff tells Fortune that he nominates women to help them get onto boards by using The Boardlist, an online talent marketplace that connects CEOs with peer-endorsed women qualified for board service.

Besides, the issue of gender diversity is personal for Rascoff. “My wife is a doctor, and I have two girls interested in business and technology,” he says. “It’s important we see that diversity drives better business results.”

Watch the video above for more from Fortune’s interview with Rascoff.

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