Update July 2022:
In the first half of 2022 Hearken has continued to think about how to create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workspace. We want to highlight how we’ve thought about this around PTO, extended leave, and flexible scheduling by sharing some of our current policies:
Hearken recognizes that employees have a variety of reasons they may need or want to take time off of work. We aim to provide ample opportunities for employees to step away from work for cultural and religious holidays, vacation, physical and mental health needs, or to recharge and relax. To that end, our time off and leave policies include:
- 30 days of PTO along with 9 paid holidays and 5 additional Fridays off during the summer months
- 8 weeks of paid parental leave for any full time employee who has a child, or whose spouse or domestic/long-term partner has a child, either by (1) childbirth or (2) through adoption of a minor child or (3) through becoming a full time caregiver of a minor child, (including through surrogacy)
- Fully covered short-term and long-term disability for all employees starting on their first day of work (with short-term disability including 6-13 weeks of coverage, depending on the situation, for childbirth)
- 6 days of PTO for parents who lose access to childcare, including a daycare or school closing or a nanny or caregiver not being able to provide care
- 5 days of PTO for caregiver assistance for employees actively caring for sick or injured family members
- 5-10 days of PTO for bereavement leave, including bereavement for miscarriages
- Fully paid time off for jury duty
- Additional options for unpaid leave as needed
Flexible working hours
In 2020 a small group of Hearken employees made recommendations to the Leadership Team to help support working parents employed at Hearken. Among those recommendations was that we look to expand our flexible hour policy to help working parents juggle kid’s schedules and needs. Over the past two years Hearken has created a broad policy to allow employees to work when they are at their best. This policy reads, in part, as follows:
We believe that the way to be most productive is with a reasonable, balanced work schedule. Working long hours for long periods of time often results in mental exhaustion and lower quality work. Different people have different ways of being productive. However, we also recognize that it can be challenging to try to schedule meetings or get a hold of colleagues if everyone is working vastly different schedules, especially given the amount of cross-team collaboration that happens in our small company.
As salaried employees, you are not expected to track and report hours. However, given the flexibility above, we are asking you to plan the majority (80% or more) of your working time between 7AM – 7PM in your local time zone between Monday-Friday.
This means if you need to make a mid-day appointment to head to the dentist or doctor, or you want to pick your kid up from school at 3pm every day, or you decide to get in a run on a sunny day, that’s fine! For example [if you’re aiming to work 8 hours a day] this means you could work 7:30-12:30PM (5hrs) and then again 3-6PM (3hrs). Meetings before 9am and after 5pm (in local time zones) should be avoided whenever possible, while also recognizing that we work across four US time zones and in Europe.
This policy also allows employees to put in extra hours on one day so they can work a bit less on another day. This has been particularly beneficial for our employees with kids but has benefited everyone at the company.
We review our policies every six months (or more often, if needed) to look for additional ways we can meet the needs of all employees.
Our current, working DEI definition (as of December 2021):
How does Hearken define a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace?
Hearken is committed to the ongoing work of creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. It’s
important to us that everyone, especially our employees, our Board of Directors, and our product and
consulting partners, feel valued and included. To create a diverse organization, we strive to work with
people from a broad range of backgrounds and identities. This includes, (but is not limited to), diversity in
race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, age, socioeconomic status, first
language, veteran status, physical appearance, and thinking/learning styles.
However, we know that a diverse organization is not necessarily inclusive or equitable. We believe that an
inclusive workplace is one where people have what they need to feel valued and included as they are. We
believe that an equitable workplace acknowledges that differences exist and people require support in
different ways. We know that, due to systemic inequalities, some individuals face significant barriers while
others have unearned advantages. We acknowledge these unequal starting places, and aim to allocate
resources and support in a way that gives everyone equitable opportunities to thrive, participate, and
To that end, we commit to continually designing for inclusivity through our explicit policies and procedures
as well as through our implicit culture. We recognize that this design needs to be flexible and iterative — as
the needs of our people change we will regularly re-evaluate our approach.
Why is a diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization important to us?
We are striving to:
- Actively participate in dismantling systemic inequities through the policies and systems we
create, the products we design, and the people and organizations we work with.
- Identify and move away from culture norms that reinforce dominant identities as ‘normal’,
such as white supremacy, ableism, patriarchy and heteronormativity. We recognize that
these dominant culture norms and values have shaped parts of Hearken’s culture and the
broader systems in society.
- Ensure all our employees have the resources and support necessary to thrive at Hearken as
well as equitable opportunities for advancement.
- Design products, trainings, and resources that follow the principles of Design Justice
- Create ongoing opportunities for all people and organizations to benefit from our work
- Foster a community where people from a broad range of backgrounds and identities feel
welcomed to bring their whole selves to work.
- Interact with each other in good faith: We try to carry ourselves honestly, behave respectfully,
and consider the effects of our actions on others.
Because we believe that:
- Both individuals and organizations have a responsibility to understand the inequities inherent
in many of our societal systems and to work to improve outcomes for those harmed by these
- A just and fair world is one where all people can thrive regardless of their identity,
background, and experiences, and we must take action to help create that world.
- Everyone deserves to feel safe and valued during their work with Hearken.
- A diverse group of employees can come up with more creative and more interesting ideas.
- There’s always more to learn.
Actions Hearken has taken to create a more inclusive and equitable working environment:
In June 2020, Hearken released a statement on racial justice in response to the continued acts of violence perpetrated by police and our justice system towards Black people. Hearken condemns these oppressive systems and the ongoing violence against the Black community. We publicly join the call for justice and change, and invite you to read our full statement: