Making tech accessible: How Box is making space for diversity + inclusion
Many of us know cloud-content management company Box for the collaboration and storage it provides, and the often invisible ways it makes our daily work easier. But to Tipping Point, Box is making space not just for important documents, but for the essential and complex work of true corporate social responsibility.
Last December, Tipping Point honored Box with a Partner Award in recognition of its work to go beyond corporate giving, and focus on integrating workplace diversity and inclusion into their core business model. In 2014, Box founded Box.org, its philanthropic initiative, and joined our corporate engagement program SF Gives with a gift of private stock. Since then, Box has been a dedicated partner on multiple levels. Through Box.org, Box makes it platform more accessible to nonprofits by donating free licenses to all eligible organizations — 37 of Tipping Point’s 44 grantees have access to Box. And “Boxers” — as Box staff are known — have hosted career days and mentored participants from 15 Tipping Point grantees.
Box is also paying close attention to how to better share the Bay Area’s prosperity with a wider cross-section of our community. People of color, people from low-income backgrounds, and women remain underrepresented in the tech sector especially. The road to fully integrating diversity and inclusion is a long one, but can also make companies more innovative and more rooted in their local populations. Box has been a key player in Tipping Point’s research into how companies can employ and support talent from non-traditional backgrounds while at the same time creating a thriving workforce that reflects the full diversity of the Bay Area.
At Tipping Point’s Awards Breakfast last month, Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie reflected on his own journey to understanding the importance of corporate social responsibility. “Not only was there no contradiction between scaling a company and doing good for the community: doing good was actually fundamental to building a sustainable and healthy organization,” said Levie. “We’re really excited to be working with Tipping Point to help make tech companies more accessible to the local community.”
As described in the most recent chapter of our SF Gives Playbook, Box has tested internship programs that provide on-ramps non-traditional candidates (including those without four-year college degrees) through workplace development programs like Year Up, a Tipping Point grantee. Today, a third of Box’s IT team is comprised of those who entered via non-traditional routes.
Here at Tipping Point, we’re also excited about the ways Box is working to standardize their hiring process and work with external partners to identify and hire non-traditional talent, enabling both a broader pool of candidates and an expansion of how hiring managers consider a candidate’s potential. These kinds of efforts are supported by organizational structures — such as an internal Diversity and Inclusion Lead as well as executive support, internal trainings, and volunteer time off (VTO) — that communicate throughout the daily routines of the company its commitment to multi-level and long-standing work to advance equity.
We know this is a tough nut to crack: for companies dedicated to building inclusive workplaces, the pressure feels high as progress feels slow. But diverse teams have been shown to have higher financial returns, better employee retention, and tend to be more innovative. We’re grateful to have engaged partners like Box, and we are hopeful that we can continue to learn from these efforts in the name of a more just and equitable Bay Area.