Cultivating an inclusive company culture requires much more than a few gestures. Good intentions and passion aren’t enough. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIBs) efforts warrant the same strategic focus, rigor, and discipline as top-line business objectives.

Some companies get stuck on the numbers. And while having quantifiable goals is important, it’s not sufficient if you don’t know what it takes to achieve those goals. It’s important to have a shared understanding of what diversity, inclusion and belonging mean, and how they connect, to catalyze sustainable change. At Upwork we approach belonging as a feeling, inclusion as a practice, and diversity as an outcome.

Belonging is a feeling.
Inclusion is a practice.
Diversity is an outcome.

Belonging is a feeling.

Belonging is the extent to which team members are able to bring their whole selves to work without having to sacrifice meaningful aspects of their identity. At Upwork we assess belonging along three main dimensions: team sentiment, team balance and shared community.


Team Sentiment

Do managers cultivate fit at the team level?


Team Balance

Are team members at risk of social isolation?


Shared Community

Are team members with shared social identities able to connect with each other?

Inclusion is a practice.

Inclusion is the set of decisions that determine who is ultimately successful in our organization. We examine decision-making at both the micro and macro levels.


Micro Inclusion

Are we methodical in how we approach, check and balance the daily opportunities we give to team members?


Macro Inclusion

Are the major decisions we make fair and equitable at each stage of our team member experience?

Diversity is an outcome.

Belonging and inclusion are leading indicators, whereas diversity is a lagging indicator - the outcome of our practices and our decisions. To understand where we are in terms of our company diversity, we invite employees to share multiple aspects of their identities, including gender identity, generation, race/ethnicity, caregiver status, sexual orientation and military service. These data are important inputs to our DIBs strategy, enabling our team to build supports, education and benefits to serve all of our team members more effectively.


Upwork's Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Resource Center

As a company, we're working hard to drive systemic change toward a more inclusive workplace for our team members. But we know that the lessons we learn as we lead the way can generate an even greater impact globally when we open source our practices for clients and other businesses to follow. Visit our Resource Center to explore thought leadership you can apply to your organization.

Visit the DIBs Resource Center

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