The Harness Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
Our company values and current initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion within the financial services and technology industries
By the Harness Wealth leadership team
In the wake of nationwide protest in June 2020 and in response to police brutality against Black Americans, our founders, Katie English and David Snider, made the following statement: “We stand in solidarity in the fight against racism and inequality, and we are committed to continuing to learn, speak up, and take action.”
Over the past few months, our founding team has been working hard to ensure that we live up to that commitment and stand against racism and inequality. We have updated our company values, revised our hiring practices, joined a coalition of peers in fintech, started our first D&I taskforce, and begun to proactively source advisors of color to include on our platform.
Our Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
At Harness, our founders and employees have regular discussions about how we want to grow as a business and the impact we can have on the communities we live in and seek to serve. We’re working to ensure we build our business on the right foundation.
Company vision and values
We recognize that the fintech industry and specifically wealth management needs to improve representation of people of color and women within leadership and across the employee ranks as well as improve access to their financial products and services. At Harness, we revised our founding vision and values to include our commitment to greater diversity and access.
Our vision is to: “To make bespoke financial advice accessible, intuitive and valuable by building a holistic wealth platform”. It is our belief that accessible means we do the work to ensure it’s available, understandable and useful to anyone with the need.
One of the values we are working to apply day to day is: “Value diversity in our team and partners to reflect the diverse future of wealth.” To best serve our clients, our team and our marketplace partners should be representative.
Company and stakeholder demographics
Harness was founded in 2018 based on the idea that technology and human-advice was necessary to provide the best outcomes for our clients. As a venture-backed marketplace company, we have a number of stakeholders, including our employees, clients, advisors, business and technology partners, investors and advisory council.
To ensure the vision and values are actionable, we’re committed to sharing our employee and marketplace representation data once we’ve grown beyond 50 employees.
Further, since our founding, we have strived to build a diverse investor base and advisory council. Starting in 2021, we are committed to surveying our institutional investors for representation at the partner level and the individuals that serve on our advisory council so that we can share our progress on greater stakeholder diversity.
Improved hiring practices
We are growing our team and hiring for several critical roles. Some of the individuals we will eventually hire will be responsible for growing their own teams. We worked over the past few months to ensure we are applying best practices and our values to our recruiting and hiring processes. Some of the changes we implemented include:
- Diversifying our sources beyond our personal networks and leveraging job boards that help remove bias from the sourcing process and partnering with recruiters to expand our sourcing reach
- Removing job experience requirements for careers and industries where people of color and women are under-represented
- Creating hiring rubrics for each role and standardizing the interview questions for each round in the interview loop
- Tracking our candidates’ demographic data and implementing the Rooney Rule
- Improving our geographic diversity by allow for some roles to be remote
It is our belief that applying these practices early will help our efforts to build a diverse and inclusive team and that these efforts will compound over time.
Diversity and inclusion task force
We started a hybrid leadership and employee task force focused on improving diversity and inclusion at Harness. The group is responsible for soliciting feedback about our brand, business practices and product from underrepresented groups across our client base, including Black, LatinX and female founders, investors and employees. They will use this feedback to identify learning opportunities for our team members who are responsible for these areas so that they are appropriately empowered to incorporate diversity and inclusion into their work.
In the future, the group will focus on facilitating both solo and team educational work, including unconscious bias training and allyship building.
Community and Partners
We are joining the Fintech Equality Coalition, which is being spearheaded by Betterment. The coalition is dedicated to holding the fintech community accountable for further job access, career advancement and financial services access to underrepresented groups. It is our intention to learn from our peers on how best to expand access to financial products and to share our own experiences and learnings.
Further, we are proactively seeking advisors of color and female advisors for our advisor marketplace to ensure that our clients can work with individuals with a diverse set of experiences and approaches to wealth management. As part of this effort, we will further our collection of demographic data on the advisors on the Harness platform.
We at Harness are excited by our vision of making bespoke financial advice accessible, intuitive and valuable.
The new generation of founders, employees and investors that we serve is more diverse than the one that came before it and we are committed to ensuring equitable access to financial knowledge and the tools to support intergenerational wealth for diverse communities.
We will continue to learn and act as we grow as a business and a team. Please continue to send us your feedback and thank you for your support along the way.