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Following Frat Party, Twitter's Jack Dorsey Vows to Make Diversity a Company Goal

Twitter hopes formal goals will help improve company diversity.

Anthony Quintano for Re/code

Twitter committed a massive party foul earlier last week, taking some serious heat when photos surfaced online that showed an internal team had hosted a frat-themed office party, complete with beer pong and kegs.

It was cringeworthy, given the tech industry’s blatant lack of gender diversity and the bro culture that helps drive it, but what made matters worse was that the San Francisco social communications company is in the middle of a gender discrimination lawsuit with a former employee.

Twitter apologized for the party, but employees have been talking about it internally ever since, including a discussion on Thursday at the company’s weekly all-hands meeting, Tea Time. There, an employee asked why Twitter hasn’t made diversity a company-wide goal the way it does other aspects of the business.

And, according to multiple sources, interim CEO Jack Dorsey responded that it should be and it will be.

The question is, how? While Twitter teams are required to set goals each quarter known as OKRs, an acronym that stands for “objectives and key results,” diversity-specific OKRs have never been company-wide and they’ve never been mandatory. Apparently, if Dorsey follows through with his message, they soon will be.

A Twitter spokesperson said nothing formal has been established yet, but offered up the following statement:

“Jack was responding to a question raised by an employee in response to things we’re already doing around diversity at different levels of the company. We want our company’s makeup to be reflective of our vast user base, and we are committed to progress.”

The hope, it seems, is that setting actual goals will keep managers accountable and help Twitter create a more diverse workforce. What will those goals look like? And what will constitute success?

Regardless of what goals teams set, diversifying Twitter’s workforce won’t be a quick or easy task. Last summer, it reported that 90 percent of its tech employees are male.

Twitter is far from the only company dealing with this problem; others are making similar internal changes. Facebook, for example, is implementing its own version of the NFL’s Rooney Rule into some teams, requiring that a minority candidate be interviewed for each new job opening.

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