FOLLOWING IN THE footsteps of so many others, Silicon Valley darling Slack, which makes a much-loved chat app for businesses, released its first diversity report today. Also following in the footsteps of so many others in tech, the results aren’t good: A vast majority of Slack’s employees—70 percent—are white. And 61 percent of the company is male.
Still, you have to give Slack some credit. The company at least appears to be trying, and trying from the start instead of waiting years or decades into its existence to recognize that diversity is a serious issue. “It’s relatively easy for us to move the lever a small bit right now to make a significant change in our trajectory,” said Anne Toth, vice-president of people and policy, and Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s CEO, in a blog post describing the company’s diversity efforts. “If us doing this sooner rather than later yields a better result that alone will be a good thing for us to have done at Slack and, hopefully, for the industry at large.”
Slack says it made the issue of diversity a priority while the company was still in its infancy, hiring an outside diversity consultant back when it employed only 75 people. It also says it’s begun examining its compensation data to make sure pay gaps don’t exist among its male and female workers. And it is making a concerted effort to be vigilant in its data collection and analysis to make real-time adjustments when recruiting new employees or updating its workplace policies.
Macy’s M 1.32% plans to close between 35 and 40 of its namesake department stores early next year, a move that comes as the retailer’s sales growth has stalled and many shoppers have stopped visiting the malls that are home to its stores.
In the window before his kids wake up and he has to go to work, Dr. Gregory Gebauer helps people he's never met avoid needless surgery. That's when the Florida spine surgeon reads charts and examines MRI or X-ray scans referred to him through a company called Grand Rounds, a San Francisco startup that promises to save employers money and help their workers find better care. He often finds that patients have been given an inaccurate diagnosis or recommended for an operation unlikely to help them. "There’s certainly a time and place for surgery, but usually, at least in my practice, I recommend other things before jumping to surgery," says Gebauer, who has reviewed more than 50 cases from patients across the U.S.
The full-time orthopedic surgeon is one of an army of expert doctors who moonlight remotely for Grand Rounds, which has raised $106 million in venture capital, including a $55 million round announced today. The four-year-old company, which takes its name from the term for expert presentations doctors give to their colleagues, has signed such clients as Comcast, Costco, and Jamba Juice. About 60 percent of large employers plan to offer tools like second-opinion services or other advice to help patients make medical decisions in 2016, up from 48 percent this year, according to a survey of 140 large companies by the National Business Group on Health. Grand Rounds Chief Executive Owen Tripp says about two-thirds of all its reviews lead to changes in diagnosis or treatment. The number "still shocks me,” Tripp says. "Most of the frontline care we deliver today is either inadequate or ineffective."
Grand Rounds and its competition—companies such as Best Doctors, 2nd.MD, and Accolade—are trying to help employers deal with a problem that plagues American health care: wild deviations in care among different providers and regions. For example, patients in Bradenton, Fla., get a controversial spinal fusion surgery for lower-back problems almost 14 times more frequently than patients in Bangor, Me., according to data from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, which tracks disparities in care.
When Disney shelled out $4 billion for George Lucas’ Lucasfilm in 2012 and announced plans to make a string of new Star Wars movies, it was obvious the Mickey Mouse operation saw big-time dollar signs.