Earlier this year, I blogged about the growing spotlight on diversity and inclusion (D&I) within the media and entertainment industry and the progress made by technology companies like MediaKind. Companies of all sizes, in all sectors, are beginning to understand the importance of having diversity of thought within their organization, and the benefits of embracing diversity both from a human and a business perspective.
At MediaKind, we’ve taken proactive steps to ensure we’re championing D&I throughout our entire organization, from our hiring processes and internal awareness to how we’re communicating our vision externally. One of the most prominent ways we strive to achieve this is by launching a company-wide D&I initiative, Project Horizon. The project launched this spring under the leadership of our CEO, Matt McConnell, and is driven by our Chief People Officer Dave Medrano, our Executive Vice President Business Affairs, Jennifer Yohe, and me.
Fostering innovation through D&I
Project Horizon is a core component within our leadership team and board’s focus for 2021. Our vision for the program is to attract, develop and retain the best and brightest through a culture of inclusion and belonging, where diversity is valued because it makes us stronger and where individuals feel respected and are treated fairly. By doing this, we hope to improve the representation of genders, ethnicities, and generations at all levels of the organization, developing an inclusive work environment that fosters creativity, innovation, and engagement.
The project is as much about promoting D&I internally as it is about bringing in diverse voices externally. Internally, we want to recognize our unique differences and promote inclusive activities, and working with our talent acquisition team, ensuring hiring managers are thinking about D&I and not just recruiting from their own networks. Externally, we want to ensure we reach a large pool of potential applicants, with media enthusiasts applying from diverse backgrounds. Being a global company, we’ve had to apply this across many different spectrums – D&I is so much more than just gender and race, and how it’s perceived in our offices globally will differ from country to country.
Striving towards new D&I goals
We had an incredibly robust response when we launched the program internally, with 47 people volunteering to be diversity, inclusion, and belonging ambassadors. It was amazing to see these ambassadors come from all levels, geographies, and teams within MediaKind, and all with such passion for driving D&I at MediaKind. The program is divided into five different workstreams – education, recruitment, networks and interest groups, communications and events – with each team asked to develop activities and projects they felt would be meaningful to MediaKind and that support our D&I efforts.
Through the project, we want to ensure that we’re continually communicating what our vision is. In the short term, we want it to be clear that D&I is a top priority at MediaKind and that we’re encouraging full participation with backing from the entire leadership team. Longer-term, we’ve also set targets about where we want to be in 2023, with concrete objective goals. This includes a balanced leadership team with 50% female executives and a 20% Millennial or Gen Z workforce.
How are we achieving this?
We hope to tackle unconscious bias within our workforce through the five workstreams we’ve identified, addressing gender, generational and local diversity. Through our education and events programs, we hope to bring in speakers from all backgrounds while raising awareness of unconscious bias. We also have an online learning platform that provides training sessions and other information on the topic.
We’ve also been increasing our diversity of thought in a big way by hiring younger recruits and rolling out extensive internship programs. It’s been incredible to see an enormous intern uptake in our Indian office this year. In addition, our intern program spans across the United Kingdom, France, China and the USA. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with a number of fantastic interns from a corporate development perspective, looking into key corporate development initiatives and legal KPI’s.
Creating an environment that works for everyone
The post-pandemic environment we find ourselves in can make for harsh territories for D&I, making it more critical than ever that we continue to make MediaKind the most welcoming and inclusive environment for all our employees. We want to remain aware of new challenges arising, such as the re-opening of our global offices, to make sure no one feels left behind or excluded.
We recently did an extensive survey to understand what our employees want and to see how we can help them the most, primarily looking at the return to the office. The overwhelming response was flexibility – coming back into the office but not on a full-time basis. This result was no surprise to me. We want to ensure our employees, who might be working mothers, parents with eldercare or childcare needs, employees with disabilities or vulnerabilities, all feel safe and sure that they can do their job in a way that best fits their circumstances and needs.
By putting D&I at the core of what we do, we hope to create a safe and positive environment for our employees. We wish to boost creativity, drive innovation, and become a leader for other companies looking to embrace a more diverse outlook. Learn more about life at MediaKind here.