Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to thrive in the music technology industry. But right now this isn’t happening. And as a company we know we haven’t done enough to address the issues of systemic racism, bias, and inequality in the sector or within our own walls.
Recently, current and former colleagues have shared their experiences of working at Native Instruments, bringing to light several examples of BIPOC and diverse voices being ignored, alongside wider issues of inequality and lack of accountability in our workplace and culture. The issues were raised in response to a post we made in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. What we were saying outwardly was in stark contrast to their experiences.
To our former colleagues: We are deeply sorry for what happened. Thank you for all of your contributions to NI despite the challenges you faced while working with us, and for your efforts even now to help make NI better. We also want to thank those who have spoken out via social media, holding us to account and calling on us to do better.
Today we want to share our first steps towards ensuring those kinds of experiences become a thing of the past. We are committed to fostering an inclusive workplace with equal treatment and opportunities for all – no matter their ethnicity, gender, age, ability, belief, or sexual orientation. There’s a lot of work to be done, and we need to take a hard look at all aspects of our ways of working.
This past week, our Company Leadership, People Team, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Group, and our Works Council worked together to identify broad areas of focus. What we are sharing below is a summary of the main areas of focus and some initial actions that we are taking in each. We announced that we would be doing this in a previous statement from our leadership. We know this has taken some time, but we wanted to ensure that all voices were heard in this process. We will continue to share progress, are committed to transparency, and will provide more details and dates in the weeks and months to come.
Bringing in experts
To create meaningful change, we need specialized help. We are bringing in independent experts with an intersectional outlook to help us better understand the state of diversity and inclusion at NI. Working together with our teams, we will conduct a thorough audit of practices across every department, from recruiting to product development and marketing. The resulting recommendations will be used to build out a detailed strategy for hiring, training programs, processes and more.
Strengthening our diversity & inclusion efforts
Our D&I group includes colleagues from across the company, including Leadership, the People Team, and Works Council. We’re thankful for the work they’ve been doing, and realize they need to be given a stronger voice in the company. That means rethinking our processes and structures, and providing proper financial support to ensure that diversity and inclusion are embedded in our daily work. We have made a budget of €100k available for funding our initial activities.
Providing more training opportunities for all employees
We want to support each and every employee to better understand diversity and inclusion and their responsibility to ensure a positive workplace for everyone. We’re starting with mandatory unconscious bias training for all staff and new hires, including our executives. Expanding our Diversity Resources Hub will give our staff access to a wider range of educational material. And beyond this, we’re committing to a long-term, intersectional diversity and inclusion program that includes anti-racism, anti-harassment, and anti-sexism training.
Improving the diversity of our team and leadership
Greater diversity in our team will make us a better company in every way. We are looking at ways to increase diversity in our hiring pipeline – especially for positions at senior management and executive levels – such as hiring diversity-led recruitment agencies, and coaching for hiring managers and interview participants to ensure a recruitment process that’s free from biases. We are also reassessing the language used in our job descriptions to encourage a wider, more inclusive talent pool.
A safe means for reporting incidents
Those who experience discrimination should feel safe to speak out. That’s why we’re looking into investing in a dedicated tool for anonymous reporting and bias tracking. We’re reviewing our internal processes to ensure that reporting results in action. We will also implement processes for reviewing marketing campaigns and product releases to ensure there is space for criticism and that action is taken when flags are raised.
Giving back to the community
We believe in our responsibility to give back, and frequently support charities and schools with our hardware and software. But we want to do more and to make our efforts more impactful. To start, we’re working to define an annual budget for special initiatives that tackle racism and inequality. We will also define a further allocation of software and hardware to be made available for charities and after-school programs.
We realize that true change only happens through sustained effort, commitment, and investment. Native Instruments has greatly benefited from Black culture and our diverse community, but we recognize that this is not yet adequately reflected in our practices and make-up as a company. We’re fully committed to doing the work to change that and to ensure a safe and welcoming workplace where every person can thrive.