In a fireside chat with ESSENCE at the RenderATL conference on Thursday, Zillow Group Senior Vice President of Product, Matt Daimler, shared positive news about how the company is improving its diversity, its open roles at Zillow, and their new products.
When discussing the company’s diversity efforts with Senior News and Politics Editor Malaika Jabali, Daimler shared some tools for Black workers and other people of color in the tech world…and why remote work has been surprisingly effective.
In June of 2020, Zillow Group leaders allowed all employees to work remotely as part of their “Cloud HQ” 100% remote workplace policy based on three theories: There was not a drop in productivity after switching to remote work and data showed it was working for all employees, remote work could give them a competitive edge and advantage over other companies in hiring, and it would allow them to recruit from a larger pool of people, not just from Seattle, Washington and San Francisco, California where Zillow Group was headquartered.
“Those were [just] guesses, three months into COVID when we made that decision, and the data says that it worked,” said Daimler. “We got to hire from all across the country, and I think the other thing we’re seeing with people that have been receptive to the ‘Cloud HQ’ workforce is how many mothers are able to do their job, and stay in their roles, so I love that too.”
Based on a recent study of Zillow employees, 90% agreed they’ve been given the flexibility to decide how best to accomplish their work during the pandemic. Since 2019, representation of BIPOC employees in director or higher positions has increased by 8 percentage points – at 27% for 2022, and in 2022, Zillow Group received four times more applicants per job posting than in 2019.
“It means a lot to me to be able to do this at Zillow,” shared Roz Fracuz-Harris, Vice President of Talent Acquisition at Zillow Group. “Talent acquisition is essentially recruiting. We’re the worker’s worker. We’re the frontline. We create access to any company we represent and I’ve been doing this for a little over 16 years now.”
In addition to remote work, Zillow Group also offers employees an opportunity to join Employee Resource Groups like “Billow” (Black employees at Zillow) or Pride.
Daimler also shares that his product group is always looking for engineers, and Black Americans remain underrepresented in the industry. “When we’re hiring, which is most of the time, there’s 50 to 60, or 100 or more engineers that we’re always looking for.”
Daimler also encouraged applicants to spell out quantifiable improvements they’ve made at their previous workplaces. Once workers get a tech role, Daimler urges that they seek out mentors at their company who can support them.
Daimler, a married father of two, has watched Zillow grow and change over the years via Zillow Group’s acquisitions starting with StreetEasy, where he worked as Senior Vice President which led him to join Zillow Group in 2012. Zillow Group acquired Daimler’s Buyfolio, a co-shopping platform for real estate agents and their homebuyers, which he co-founded in 2009, with his wife. Prior to Buyfolio, Matt and his wife co-founded the award-winning travel website SeatGuru, which was sold to Expedia in 2007.
As a tech leader who was once an entrepreneur, Daimler values being direct with his team and transparent with customers and colleagues.
“Transparency is a core tenet of everything we do at Zillow. From what we show our customers, to what we show our employees and then how we talk to each other,” said Daimler.
Zillow Group may have started as just a website to post rentals and homes to sell, but today, their vision is to create “the housing super app” — an integrated real estate experience that makes transactions more accessible, more digital, more seamless, more inclusive and more delightful to their customers.
As an official sponsor of RenderATL this year, and with over 20 “Billow” employees in attendance last week, Zillow Group aimed to connect with and hire diverse talent for over 80 open roles and positions.
“I think of culture as an ever-moving, ever-changing thing, but when it’s good you want to be there. You want to work there,” said Daimler. “You like the work you’re doing, the people, and everyone buys in.”
Based on another recent study of Zillow employees, 84% of employees surveyed believe they can be their full self at work, and BIPOC representation in their total workforce was at 42% in 2022. In 2022, the attrition rate for Black employees declined below the average for all employees for the first time. Representation of Black employees has increased by 3 percentage points since 2019 (pre-CloudHQ). Zillow Group wants its data to speak for itself.
“That is the power we are trying to give people in real estate. It is a mission that resonates with customers and employees, and I think to this day, it’s one of the things that makes Zillow a special place,” said Daimler.
Click here to view openings at Zillow Group.