Atlassian Introduces New Approach to Diversity Reporting, Focuses on Team Dynamics


Atlassian Press Team

Team Collaboration Company Reveals 'n-Space' Approach; Brings Age Into the Conversation

March 8, 2016 (San Francisco, Calif.) – Team collaboration software company Atlassian today released its first diversity report, taking a groundbreaking approach by focusing on team diversity data as the benchmark against which it will measure progress. Team-level data provides crucial insight into how well people from underrepresented backgrounds are spread across the company.

“Evaluating diversity at the corporate level is a good first step, but it doesn't paint a clear enough picture," said Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian's co-founder and co-CEO. "True genius happens when people with different experiences come together to tackle tough challenges. That's why teams–not just companies–need to be diverse and inclusive for the most meaningful business impact to occur." 

Atlassian also revealed its 'n-Space' approach to pursuing a more inclusive culture. The concept recognizes and supports the complexity of the company's changing global workforce by viewing diversity as an ever-evolving field. Atlassian expanded its analysis beyond traditional diversity metrics, adding LGBTI* identification, international representation and age – a first for the tech industry – to its report.

Scott Farquhar, Atlassian's co-founder and co-CEO commented: "Diversity is not a two-dimensional issue. We are committed to looking at a broader continuum of diversity as a company principled on inclusion and in celebration of everyone's unique qualities and how they intersect."

Team diversity drives better performance

Research* shows the introduction of people who are demographically different within a group makes both individuals and groups more innovative and increases their performance. In fact, team performance has been shown to increase by 58%* with the introduction of a diverse team member. Similarly, inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80%* in team-based assessments. Yet diversity reports tend to focus on numbers at the company level, which reveal little about the actual level of collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas happening between members of different demographic groups.

“Diversity cannot be just a corporate numbers game," said Aubrey Blanche, Atlassian’s global head of diversity & inclusion. "If we truly want to make a dent in the issue we need to refocus the conversation on more meaningful indicators like team diversity and inclusiveness. That wider diversity lens needs to be met with investment in initiatives that can move those needles."

Today's release of team-level data shows how people from underrepresented backgrounds are spread across the company's teams:

  • 71% of all teams have at least one woman.
  • 66% of software development teams have at least one woman.
  • 63% of all teams have at least one person 40 or older.
  • 53% of software development teams have at least one person 40 or older.
  • 66% of US-based teams have at least one racial or ethnic minority (REM) member.
  • 65% of US-based software teams have at least one REM member.
'n-Space' approach accommodates complexity of diversity 

Atlassian's 'n-Space' approach, which is inspired by the non-deterministic Turing machine, recognizes the theoretically limitless ways a group can be diverse. This framework helps address two key challenges: "diversity" varies highly in different contexts, and diversity efforts often focus on a limited number of demographic characteristics, which can alienate people outside of those groups.

Adopting a more flexible and holistic approach allows Atlassian to adjust focus areas over time, and to create new avenues of engagement for people from well-represented backgrounds. The company currently collects a wide variety of team- and company-level data to inform its diversity initiatives and to find new ways to engage everyone in its diversity efforts. Internal forums are a key component of this approach, which allow people from any background to share how their unique identities shape their experiences.

"Storytelling plays a huge part in creating a truly empathetic, inclusive culture," said Blanche. "The more we can understand each other's experiences, the more we recognize our shared humanity. It transforms the way we approach diversity initiatives. What could be 'us versus them' becomes 'we'."

In parallel, Atlassian launched and expanded programs designed to improve diversity across teams and to empower individuals to make their teams more inclusive:

  • Unconscious Bias Training: Action-oriented training customized for various job functions and cultural contexts.
  • Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Diversity focused groups that foster supportive communities.
  • Candidate evaluation changes: Focus on removing bias from interview process, which includes interview standardization, improved training and a focus on "values fit" vs. "culture fit" as a hiring component; resulted in 46% women in this year's engineering intern class.
  • Sourcing collaborations: Partnerships with organizations like Tech Inclusion and Galvanize to increase the number of people from underrepresented backgrounds in talent pipelines.
About Atlassian

Atlassian unleashes the potential in every team. Our products help teams collaborate, build software and serve their customers better. Teams at more than 54,000 large and small organizations – including BMW, Citigroup, eBay, Coca-Cola and NASA – use Atlassian’s tracking, collaboration, communication, service management and development products to work smarter and deliver quality results on time. Learn about products including JIRA, Confluence, HipChat, and Bitbucket at