Instructure Blog

Moving Diversity and Inclusion Forward Together 

In early 2016, Instructure launched its Diversity and Inclusion Council to “make Instructure an awesome place to work for everyone.” Those were our words for the mission of the Council at the time, and building a workplace where people can thrive and develop in their careers remains a foundational tenet of our Council today. 

In 2017, the Council grew from a dozen members who work in our headquarters to more than 70 people from all of our offices around the world. We recognized our HQ-based approach could be more inclusive and encouraged all our offices to have D&I council subcommittees. Now in our third year, we continue to learn, adjust, and ensure we cultivate a culture that is founded on diversity, inclusion, and our company values—and yes, we still focus on making Instructure awesome for everyone. We aren’t perfect, but we keep working. 

From the beginning, we have taken a different approach to D&I. Instead of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), we have workgroups of about 10-20 people that partner with HR and come together to focus on the Council’s strategic pillars. In 2018, those areas of focus were Time, Diverse Hiring, Inclusion (internal and external), and Career Development. The workgroups tackled some big objectives in 2018, and while there is still more work to do, here’s what we accomplished together. 



  • Family Leave Policies: Based on employee feedback, we updated our leave policies to allow for more time for maternity and paternity leave: 

    • Two weeks of paternity leave

    • Twelve weeks of maternity leave paid in some form (Short Term Disability) or full salary for the full leave

  • Flex Time: Revised our approach when it comes to employees who are returning to work after a leave. That could be returning part-time, working from home for a period of time, or using vacation hours to extend their leave

  • Dependent Care Match: We examined the possibility of hosting childcare onsite. When we discovered this wasn’t feasible yet, we didn’t give up. Instead, we launched a Dependent Care Match flexible savings account where the company matches the first $1,200 in tax-free deposits made by employees 


Diverse Hiring

  • Reviewed hiring practices with recruiting:

    • The workgroup made recommendations for revising recruiting practices that are being strengthened or implemented in 2019 

  • Signed and implemented the Parity Pledge: 

    • We will interview diverse candidates for leadership roles at Instructure 

    • In 2018, we saw more women entering leadership roles at the organization, from the C-suite to our SVP and VP levels (as well as levels not part of the Parity Pledge—managers, specialists, etc.) 

  • Gender Pay Equity analysis:

    • Instructure conducts an annual salary pay equity review. Some resulting actions include: 

      • Proactively providing salary increases to address pay inequity issues 

      • Spending time training managers of teams where inequities were discovered 


Inclusion: Internal and External

  • Equality Utah Partnership: 

    • Became the first certified business equality leaders with the organization Equality Utah

    • Held training sessions on the language of inclusion in our offices, and will continue to roll this out to the company in 2019 

  • Hosted coding camps in various offices around the world to further diversity in STEM:

    • We are committed to our communities and encouraging students to spark interest and positive experiences in STEM. That’s why we host these coding camps several times a year

  • Women Tech Council partnership:

    • We worked with the WTC to sponsor a GirlsGoDigital table at the 2018 SheTech event, where thousands of school-aged girls gathered and saw positive role models in tech
    • During SheTech, several of our employees volunteered as mentors to speak with attendees about different careers in tech and provided encouragement to keep studying and envisioning working in tech


Career Development

  • Basecamp:
    • Career and employee development is at the forefront of what we do at Instructure. That’s why we launched Basecamp the week of December 10, 2018, to coincide with the internal launch of Bridge Career! Instead of simply launching that component of Bridge alone, the decision was made to reboot the entire Bridge suite to help all employees see the value that can come from using Bridge to:

      • Identify their career drivers and create an actionable career development plan

      • Feel more engaged (responding to our employee engagement survey data which identifies "career" growth as a key driver area)

      • Get more out of regular conversations with managers and team members

      • Learn from other subject-matter experts at Instructure

    • Identify and discuss personal and team goals for 2019

    • Understand how to practice and acquire skills for personal and professional growth

  • Women’s mentor program (pilot): 

    • In the Fall of 2017, a pilot mentoring program was launched with the purpose of connecting mid-level female leaders at Instructure with senior and executive-level female leaders 

    • The pilot program was met with great enthusiasm and 20 mid-level leaders were selected and “matched” with 10 senior leaders. All participants were enrolled in a Bridge training program, “How to be a mentor/mentee at Instructure,” which provided some guidance and helped set expectations 

    • A brief survey of participants also gathered key information including expectations, goals, desired networking connections to be made, and specific learning outcomes to be gained
    • The feedback from this pilot program was overwhelmingly positive and helped influence and inform our product team in building out our internal organizational chart and networking tool


Becky Frost
Senior Director, Communications