Written by Cari Bucci-Hulings, President at Periscope
As the ad industry presses forward to improve our collective performance on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), we want to be transparent about our progress here at Periscope. We believe strongly in the importance of authentic, ongoing growth and change. We strive to be more walk than talk when it comes to making a better industry and culture.
The impact of the horrific murder of George Floyd propelled us to establish four major initiatives to change for the better, along with reaching out to resources to help us learn, grow and make substantive change.
We immediately engaged Lauren Tucker of Do What Matters, a strategic management consultancy designed to help agencies turn diversity into actions that drive growth. We know too often agencies go through training and the impact of that training gets diluted in the rush and bustle of agency life. To create a more inclusive and equitable environment, we recognize we have to do the hard work of education AND the hard work of implementation. To achieve that, Lauren helped us hit the ground running by completing an all-agency survey to assess how we all view diversity, equity and inclusion at the agency, as well as to take the pulse of the general agency experience. The top three insights gained were:
- Career pathing is very important. The key is to make these opportunities more equitable so all employees can enjoy the benefits of our growth.
- Employees and our management team want to learn how to overcome the impact of implicit bias and improve overall inclusion management. We all want tools to make opportunities more equitable and provide space for everyone to improve the work, making it more salient to an increasingly multicultural consumer market.
- We all want to live inclusion management every day. We want our culture to reflect the larger world so we can tap into different perspectives that make our workplace better and our work more relevant.
We acknowledge this has been an especially difficult and traumatic time for people of color. Lauren is working specifically with our employees of color to be a sounding board outside of any reporting structure. She also serves as a guide for the Periscope leadership team.
Periscope is also actively engaged in Quad’s DEI efforts. Quad has partnered with the Winters Group, a global diversity and inclusion consulting firm, to help assess current state through all-employee surveys, focus groups and cultural assessment, as well to develop a tailored learning and development program for all employees. This work will help build the foundation for Quad’s multiyear DEI strategy.
The following outlines the specific progress we have made so far on our four major initiatives to change for the better.
- First, we are making a public commitment to take steps to ensure our agency workforce better reflects the diversity of the communities and customers we serve.
- Progress: We are reinventing our approach to talent management and talent empowerment.This starts with how we attract, recruit, train and manage the advancement of talent. We are working to expand our view into the talent pool. We are looking for innovative ways to get beyond our own implicit biases and celebrate how our lived experiences can contribute to the work. We are revamping our talent management processes during the next three to six months, starting with the simple Rooney Rule. We are also providing additional support to employees of color, engaging fully in DEI training and building out programs to address talent management more fully.
- Second, in order to meet that public commitment to ensure our agency workforce better reflects the diversity of the communities and customers we serve, we will share our progress toward building a more diverse workforce.
- Progress: We shared diversity data about our then-current workforce as a benchmark. We remain committed to increasing transparency and reporting on our progress.
- Third, we are increasing our investment in developing talented people of color through a renewed partnership with 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP), as well as more outreach to high schools, colleges and universities.
- Progress: We are pleased to share we have strengthened our continued support of the BrandLab, an organization with the mission of changing the face and voice of the marketing industry. The BrandLab hires and places high school and college students as interns in the Minneapolis and Kansas City markets, and we look forward to hosting three summer interns through their program for the next three years.
- Fourth, we are committing to providing pro bono campaign work to nonprofit organizations that have a mission to combat racial inequality.
- Progress: We are thrilled to be working with a local Minnesota organization, Black Men Teach, to provide pro bono strategic, creative and public relations support. Through Black Men Teach, we have learned that only 1 in 50 Black males ever has a Black male K–12 teacher. However, for Black boys, having had a single black male teacher can have an astonishing impact. For a variety of reasons, many Black men have a negative schooling experience, making returning to the school setting as teachers unappealing. Getting Black men to become teachers is going to take the compelling story of a better future for Black boys, and we are honored to support Black Men Teach in this effort.
We acknowledge this is only a start and are grateful to be doing the work.