At BCW, we are committed to creating an inclusive culture where everyone feels safe and challenged to grow, as people and as professionals. To ensure we make continual progress toward this ambition, we must recognize racial disparities where they exist and commit to the hard work of inquiry, education and change. This is not a time for more words of support, but rather, a time for actions, commitments and accountability.
Here are the steps we are taking:
In January of 2020, Carol Watson joined as EVP/Managing Director to lead inclusion and diversity for BCW. In her short time here, we have already stood up a comprehensive program called IDEA, for inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility. Under the IDEA umbrella, we have created:
- HR task forces that are redesigning the policies and processes of our business – from recruitment and hiring to development and promotion – to mitigate bias and ensure equity for all;
- Revamped auditing processes, through which we are benchmarking our progress through our partnership with Inclusive 100 (using the DBP Inclusion Index tool, which tracks improvement in key drivers of inclusion and diversity across industries), developing progress and metrics reporting and ensuring regular communications about our progress;
- Three new Employee Resource Groups (bringing our total to seven), including Parenting/Caregiving, Asian-C and Capable (people with disabilities), which were leveraged to support employees during COVID-19. We also recently completed a virtual session with resources and support on mental health; and,
- Improved accountability. IDEA requires quarterly reporting to our leadership on leading and lagging indicators and progress highlights, and bi-annual strategy meetings within our markets and practice areas. Critically, progress on diversity, inclusion and equity is now a weighted component of our leadership incentive programs.
- In addition, we recently created a relational inclusion task force, part of our Global Growth Culture Council and made up of colleagues from across our five global regions, to drive inclusion across cultures. We are also rethinking our people leadership development program plans to include leadership and bias management content.
- Despite what we had already put in place, since George Floyd's death, we have set out to better understand the underlying issues of racial injustice in the workplace and our workforce that are not readily apparent. During this past two weeks, we:
- Held listening events with our global staff and conducted safe space dialogues with our black employee resource groups and with our senior-most black leaders;
- Developed a resource guide called What Can I Do? which provides information for office discussions and local market outreach on anti-racism;
- Posted resources on our intranet for employees to become more educated on the issues surrounding racism, as well as lists of organizations actively working against racism and those which need more support;
- Developed a webinar for Juneteenth called "Policing Emancipation: The Fight for True Freedom"; and,
- Started taking a serious look at how anti-racism can and should be threaded through our Growth and Inclusion Network Think Tanks, which focus on Client Solutions, Professional Development, Cultural Insights, Community/Purpose and Recruiting.
We have also launched our own BCW Inclusion Pledge, committing to:
- Working with the BCW People Team to audit and recalibrate policies, practices and processes of our business – from recruitment and hiring to development and advancement – to mitigate bias and ensure equity for all.
- Increasing mid-senior level black employee population by 10% by 2022.
- Embedding inclusive leadership and bias management into the revamped people leadership development program plans.
- Leveraging our Employee Resource Groups to lead initiatives that will have client, career, culture, and community impact across the organization.
- Developing a global Grow IDEA Network Think Tanks, which focus on Client Solutions, Professional Development, Cultural Insights, Community/Purpose, and Recruiting to set forth programs/initiatives that are pertinent to the growth and evolution of BCW’s culture of inclusion.
- Improving accountability and transparency at the leadership level. Leaders have action and metric goals built into their annual plans. Quarterly reporting to our senior leadership on leading and lagging indicators and progress highlights, and bi-annual strategy meetings within our markets and practice areas to proactive plan for talent needs and close gaps on the cultural experience of the various diverse communities.
Ensuring real and sustainable change within our own organization is our most critical focus, but it is not our only focus. As a global communications firm with clients up and down the Fortune 500, we have an extraordinary opportunity – truly, a responsibility – to help facilitate change in corporate America and beyond by helping our clients build meaningful, sustainable diversity programs in their own organizations and make meaningful connections with diverse audiences.
We see the world as increasingly polycultural and believe that cultures inform, impact and blur with one another to create consistent, dynamic cultural exchange and change. Our existing polycultural offering was built because we see and value diverse audiences in America and we wanted to create work that reflects and pays respect to the high level of diversity in America and in many other countries. Through it, we help our clients develop nuanced, hyper resonant, precisely deployed content and mass and grassroots campaigns that are crafted through our proprietary methodology which includes three dimensions of cultural analysis. Our newly created Inclusive Recovery offering helps businesses and organizations become more inclusive and engaged for the diversity within their communities, customer bases and other audiences who may have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. We are also creating a framework that follows up on Inclusive Recovery that guides clients on anti-racism to help them assess, acknowledge, act, adapt and account for anti-racism within their organizations and the community at large.
Everything we do at BCW is about moving people – our people, our clients and our agency – toward something better. We can think of nothing more critical than moving people toward inclusion, diversity and equity for all.