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Advancing DE&I to Grow an Inclusive Workforce

At ServiceNow, we believe the future of work is an inclusive environment where everyone is empowered to live their best lives and do their best work. Our purpose is to make the world work better for everyone – and our employees make that possible. It is through their hard work that we are able to deliver industry-leading, innovative workflow solutions that have us on a path to being the defining enterprise software company of the 21st century.

Amid the challenges that impacted people and companies worldwide over the last two years, we have seen how a focus on DEI inspires people while giving them strength and perspective (see our annual DEI Report).

This case study represents one of the submissions for i4cp's 2023 Next Practice Awards, winners will be honored at the i4cp 2023 Next Practices Now Conference. You can also view other Next Practice Award case studies.

Business Challenge

We understand that advancing DEI to grow an inclusive workforce is a “race without a finish line,” and for us, it isn’t an HR program or a corporate initiative, but a moral imperative. To fulfill our company purpose of making the world work better for everyone, we have to start with creating a better work and life experience for our employees, customers, partners, and communities. With this in mind, we established a collective leadership commitment to listen, to have difficult conversations, and to act with transparency.

Solution – Scope and Innovation

DEI is intentionally integrated throughout our business operations, our talent strategies, and our leadership behaviors and expectations. We look at our entire portfolio of programs as interconnected. By looking at our people programs holistically, we build fair systems of opportunity and treatment for everyone in our company.

We believe each team member at ServiceNow is a catalyst to make the world work better, but a team cannot thrive and innovate until all voices and backgrounds have a seat at the table and feel heard.

Several recent examples highlight our specific work to make our workplace more diverse, inclusive and equitable:

  • Systematic pay equity: One of the primary measures of equity is pay. Because pay is so dynamic, especially in a high-growth company like ours, we manage it on a regular basis. In 2021, all our global pay adjustments impacted less than 1% of our employee population and accounted for less than 0.05% of our global payroll costs. We have and will adjust in 2022 and beyond.
  • Accessibility for our employees and customers: To ensure that our products provide an optimal experience for all users, ServiceNow created a cross functional organization, the Center of Excellence for Accessibility. This center will create more equitable experiences for ServiceNow employees and customers alike. Accessible technology for all increases productivity, attracts a wider talent pool, and can play an important role in driving business growth.
  • Created a Center of Excellence for Accessibility to help ensure ServiceNow products deliver an optimal experience for all users; it exists to support employees, customers and partners and goes beyond physical accessibility and inclusive workspaces to digital accessibility ensuring information and communications tech is accessible to everyone.
  • Launched a $100 million Racial Equity Fund to help fund homeownership, entrepreneurship, and neighborhood revitalization within Black communities in 10 regions across the US.
  • On November 2, ServiceNow and Benedict College unveiled the ServiceNow Tech Center at Benedict College which is part of a $1 million multiyear strategic partnership to equip traditionally underrepresented students with the digital skills needed in today’s workforce.
  • Provided funding for our communities including a $1.6 million donation in grants to organizations that advance racial equity.
  • Donated $500,000 to the National Urban League and sponsored the National Museum of African American History and Culture with a $1 million investment over five years.
  • Encouraging lawmakers to take action for change, we signed on as supporters of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act; the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act); and Verizon’s plan to invest heavily to help underserved communities bridge the digital divide.
  • Expanded DEI learning with Strive, and with innovative virtual reality training focused on empathy and perspective-talking, which is available to all employees.
  • Virtual reality training to build empathy: We launched a pilot virtual reality (VR) training for employees, to help build empathy and “walk – virtually – in someone else’s shoes.” 200 employees participated in our pilot VR program, experiencing a series of VR simulations, using their laptops or a VR headset, followed by discussions to learn learning into action. These immersive simulations allow employees to experience things such as microaggressions and allyship in action, equity and inclusion in an interview process, and sponsorship in career advancement conversations. We are currently training our second pilot cohort and are evaluating expansion of the program in 2023.
  • Received a perfect rating of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for second consecutive year; (CEI criteria has four key pillars - nondiscrimination policies across business entities, equitable benefits for LGBTQ+ workers and their families, supporting an inclusive culture, and corporate social responsibility).
  • To further help our employees champion inclusivity at work and beyond, we also launched an interactive microsite last year that offers learning resources, event replays, ally toolkits, and more. We invited employees to recognize their peers with a 2021 Champion Award for leading inclusive efforts in the areas of growing our communities, practicing a growth mindset, and evolving inclusive practices and programs.

Results and Impact

With our hypergrowth comes change, and with change comes opportunity. Our people are the key to our continued success. It is our ambition to be the defining enterprise software company of the 21st century, but that is impossible without them. That’s why our People Pact drives everything we do. It’s our commitment to helping employees live their best lives, do their best work, and fulfill our purpose together.

As we continue to grow, we are hiring with intention—recruiting diverse talent across all levels, while creating equitable experiences and programs that support everyone’s career path. We’ve only scratched the surface of what we can achieve as we move forward on this journey. Our efforts over the past five years have helped us reach this important moment in our history, with all of us championing DEI. We’re dreaming even bigger now—not only creating a workplace that fosters a culture of belonging, but also one that is equitable and takes an active role in building a more inclusive world. When we get DEI right, belonging shines through—and when everyone belongs, the world works.

Our goal is to best equip employees with the skills they need to show up for each other, without putting this burden on teammates from marginalized groups. We piloted VR technology in 2019 and AR technology in 2020 for people managers, and in summer of 2021 we launched another VR pilot focused on empathy and perspective-talking available to all employees. Additionally, we’ve taken managers and employees through other scenarios via the VR Learning program tackling topics such as promotions, equitable recruiting, racism, microaggressions and bias. A VR scenario, for example, puts someone in the roles of experiencing bias, perpetrating bias and watching bias happen to another person. As a bystander in that scenario, people are able to practice the skill of speaking up and being an ally. After the scenario, the tool shares with learners what they could do to foster more equity and inclusion in the workplace. We hope to continue to build upon last year’s impact. Initial learner impact was extremely high, and is continuing to stay high:

  • 89% of learners have reported an increase in Empathy (Goal is 65%)
  • 83% of learners have reported an increase in ability to Identify instances of Inequity (Goal is 65%)
  • 84% of learners have reported an increase in Confidence to Take Action (Goal is 65%)
  • Learners translated learning into action and made 657 commitments to practicing inclusive leadership (goal was 400)

Our annual DEI Report shows us that where our focus goes, our progress goes. Our focus is to empower our people by enhancing equitable processes, policies, and practices across the employee lifecycle, to hire with intention and to amplify our DEI work with like-minded customers, suppliers, and community partners. Some recent wins over the last five years for us include increasing global female leader representation by 10% to 30.1%, increasing representation in the US from Black, Hispanic, LatinX, Native American and AAPI employees to 13.8% and representation of minorities in leadership to 9.2%. We’re also proud to have achieved systematic pay equity since 2020, which we continue to manage on an ongoing basis and do regular adjustments to maintain.


Beyond being “good for business,” we take on a moral responsibility at ServiceNow to go above and beyond for the environment, communities, and our people. Our work extends beyond our technology solutions, and we hope our legacy will be described as doing the right thing to make the world work better for everyone.