Omnibus Project: Q3 2020 Results

In April 2017, we launched our diversity initiative, the Omnibus Project, to promote diversity at Busbud and beyond. Every quarter, our team carries out up to 5 actions to help foster diversity and reports publicly on our progress. This quarter we have expanded the scope of the projects to include sustainability initiatives, which is one of our core values at Busbud. 

We are thrilled to share the results for Q3 2020, ending September 30th. Here are our actions:

1) “Blind Resumes” & Diversity in Hiring

In an effort to promote diversity in hiring we looked into “Blind Resumes”. Blind resume or blind hiring is the concept of hiding identifying information that does not impact performance at work but that could potentially lead to bias or discrimination against a potential candidate.

The main benefit of blind resumes is reduced bias in resume-screening. It also shows a strong commitment to diversity.

That said, through discussing with many partners and spending time on researching the subject, we learned that there are drawbacks: 

  • The software required to manage “blind resumes” properly are currently quite expensive
  • There is still a risk of discrimination and bias at later stages of hiring
  • Blind resumes improve chances of hiring the best candidates, but not necessarily the most diverse candidates.

This is not to say that we cannot improve on what we currently do. Here are ways we are continuously promoting diversity in hiring: 

  • Show applicants that Busbud encourages diversity in as many ways as possible before and during the interview process.
  • Continuously train recruiters and hiring managers: Educating employees on unconscious biases and the value of diversity remains the most important aspect of promoting diversity as it highly reduces the need for blind screening.
  • Measure results: Gather data on diversity at the company level and solicit feedback from candidates and employees to improve over time.

Busbud is committed to being a champion for diversity.

2) Black Lives Matter & Tech Vocabulary

The Black Lives Matter (#BLM) movement brought a lot of various topics related to inclusivity to the front of the stage. It is now obvious that language and words matter, and can lead to oppression or injustice.  Inclusive communication respects all communities and is free from sexist, racist and any other discriminatory language. 

As a tech company, we looked at the vocabulary our engineers come to use everyday. Thinking about it, some technical terms we commonly used sounded arbitrary, and could gain meaningfulness and inclusiveness. 

Following some discussions internally and some research online, Busbud engineers made a list of tech vocabulary that we agreed to stop using, such as use “black-list / white-list” in favor of “block-list / allow-list”, or use “follower / leader” rather than “slave / master”. 

That said, we don’t always control vocabulary. For example, Busbud relies on a lot of open-source repositories which can include non-inclusive language.  

Engineers agreed on a plan that if we spot an API or library that we use and contain non-inclusive language, we should open an issue to make people aware of it. A second action is to open a pull-request to propose an alternative version that will contain inclusive language.

Those actions are the first taken regarding explicitly enforcing inclusive vocabulary within the company, but the most important action has been to raise awareness in the team about the language we use.

3) COVID-19 & Helping Out a Local Food Bank

Over the last few months, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a disruptive impact on the way people live and move, as everyone has been asked to stay home in order to reduce the risk of infection. With the travel industry being greatly affected by the outbreak, Busbud shifted some of its focus to find ways to help its community weather the storm, notably by volunteering with local organizations. 

Moisson Montréal is a registered charity founded in 1984 and is Canada’s largest food bank. During the outbreak, their priority was to ensure continued distribution of essential services to our community organizations, while taking all necessary preventative measures recommended by Canada’s Public Health Agency. A small team from Busbud spent their Friday morning on September 18th at Moisson Montréal’s headquarters preparing the food orders that had to be shipped out to company agencies serving Montreal’s most vulnerable: some of us had to bag and ship beets, as others got down and dirty with carrots.

It was a very rewarding experience for all of us. As Moisson Montréal mentioned, they have seen their number of volunteers cut in half due to the pandemic. We highly encourage anyone who would like to help and volunteer their time to visit their website. A big thank you to the Moisson Montréal family for welcoming us in their warehouse and sharing their mission. ­­­

4) COVID-19 & Getting Moving Again

When we go outdoors, we are more physically active, reduce our screen time, and sleep better. This is the main reason why a small team from Busbud decided to organize a bike ride from Montreal to Chambly (a suburb of Montreal) in September. We felt this was a great way to encourage people to get moving again, while practicing physical distancing.

This was a fun activity for everyone who participated, and very beneficial for our mental health. Going outdoors is a great way to make you feel more connected to your environment and less isolated during this pandemic.

Sun’s out, bikes out!