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Change Begins Within

July 31, 2020
Diversity and Inclusion

Five Internal Ways to Strengthen Commitments to the Black Community

We recently shared our first of four blog posts in honor and celebration of Juneteenth. The first post gave four immediate actions to jumpstart your journey toward eliminating racial bias and strengthening your brand’s communications practices for Black audiences.

A critical step that companies must take when improving communication strategies for Black audiences is examining their own internal practices.

Here are five ways an organization can advocate for Black employees internally:

  1. Establish equity by reviewing agency policies and company culture to ensure the work environment is inclusive to all Black employees.
    For example, a survey conducted by the E3 Taskforce, an organization consisting of communications agency professionals across five major U.S. cities, found that 87% of white employees felt they had a clear path for advancement, in comparison to 53% of nonwhite respondents that did not. Organizations must talk to all of their employees to ensure career trajectories and opportunities are identical for nonwhite employees.
  2. Review workforce diversity data annually.
    Hold the Press and 600 & Rising, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for Black people in the advertising industry, challenged agencies to disclose data on the racial makeup of their employees. In response, over 30 independent agencies and multiple holding companies publicly released their data. After an evaluation of the data, many organizations committed to recruiting more Black talent as well, increase diversity among leadership. Reviewing this data allows organizations to hold themselves accountable for taking action to recruit more diverse talent as well as provides an opportunity to identify areas for growth.
  3. Implement a Diversity & Inclusion committee made up of Black and NBIPOC employees to help shape diversity & inclusion policies.
    Diversity & Inclusion committees allow space for Black and NBIPOC to have direct influence over company policies and procedures. Committees can help define what diversity and inclusion mean for their own companies while providing another opportunity to establish equity for Black employees by allowing the Committee to directly bring policies to life.
  4. Create and fund Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for Black employees.
    Employee Resource Groups are often confused with Diversity & Inclusion committees. Each can complement the other when implemented effectively. ERGs simply unite colleagues by identities or common characteristics in a social setting, whereas Diversity & Inclusion committees advise decisions and policies. The first ERGs were developed by Black employees of Xerox (with the backing of the CEO) in response to racial tensions of the 1960s. According to a survey conducted by CultureiQ, ERGs are cited as the second most popular method of driving employee engagement.
  5. Establish a diversity review panel to stop the spread of stereotypes in creative work.
    Unconscious bias can occur at any time. Yes, even when you are selecting an image from a stock house or writing a headline that uses jargon that you *think* is relevant to your audience. Diversity review panels are an internal resource that can assist in eliminating stereotypes and ensure all creative work authentically speaks to your target. Representation across all races, ethnicities, gender, sexual orientations, age, and disabilities on the board allows for a time to question and approve creative before releasing to consumers.

Interested in discussing how your organization can be an advocate for both Black employees and audiences? We’d love to speak with you! Contact us at info@vaneperen.com.

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