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Nailing Your Diversity Strategy

Doug Melville, Chief Diversity Officer at TBWA, takes us through his diversity philosophy: Together Everyone Achieves More. Learn how to create workplaces where more ideas, cultures, personalities, disruptors and entrepreneurs can come together to create amazing results.


Introducer 0:05

I'll introduce you to our keynote speaker Doug Melville, chief diversity officer from TV NWA worldwide. Doug, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

Doug Melville | Chief Diversity Officer 0:17

How's everyone doing out there at your homes and your deaths at your laptops. Today, we're going to talk about how to create and devise and develop and really nail your diversity strategy. The unique thing about diversity is it's really following the same trail as digital did 10 years ago, where there's one Chief Diversity Officer as there was one Chief Digital Officer, but in order for it to be effective, it is the responsibility of everyone in the organization to take responsibility. So let's get started today on how you can nail and create your own diversity strategy. So I work for a company called TWA. For those in the advertising space, you're probably familiar with it, we are known as the disruption company. We are a top 10 Global ad agency with 11,000 full time employees and 300 offices in 100 countries. And what we do is we make media arts for our clients, we develop commercials, we do design, and we help them create their creative messaging. So in the past year, we were winners of ad week's global ad agency of the year, as well as ad ages a list and fast company's top 50 most innovative companies in the world to just give you a little background on us. A little background on myself, I have not always worked in diversity. And I've been at TWA for the last seven years. But I want to give you a little bit of a throwback of my career. To give you some perspective on where I came from. I thought I was gonna play football. And when I was in college and went to go try out for football, the football coach told me that he thought I'd be better suited as a cheerleader. And I really wasn't sure how to take that I was really having some personal problems with it. But then I auditioned to try to be a cheerleader because I'd never heard of him before. And I became one who wouldn't know that was my superpower. But the learning here was cheerleading is 97% women, and only 3% men. So it really gave me an opportunity to grow in my critical years in college, and understand gender parity and balance and how that affects things. From cheerleading. When I graduated college, I traveled around the country to all 48 continental United States driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Instead of all the promotions and marketing and branding for Oscar Meyer, that's me in the chef's suit up there on the car. And then I transitioned to work more in the entertainment sphere helping artists and brands, and companies and products of artists grow and develop. Through marketing, branding and advertising. I was the assistant tour manager, Britney Spears hit me one more time tour, I then transitioned over to work with the Hilfiger family to help them create and market artists and passion projects for artists in the fashion world and in the music world. And then I transitioned to work with Magic Johnson as one of his executive team members overseeing his marketing and business development. So that's what I did before I came over to be a chief diversity officer at TWA. Now, when you look at this slide right here, it kind of shows you where things sit within our organization. So I sit on the North American Council and work on issues as it relates to diversity and inclusion. So if you look at this chart, you realize that I am one letter away from being the CEO, I am trying to get there. I'm only one letter away. But we sit with its chief creative officer, the chief executive officer and the Chief Financial Officer. And just as each of them has verticals they're responsible for I'm responsible for the diversity vertical across our organization. The biggest challenge when discussing diversity is that it's too much choir, not enough pulpit. So the people that buy into diversity that are the loudest voices in the room, they show up many times for every single event and every single activation, and they are really the leaders of the conversation. But on the other hand, you have the pulpit, these are people in the organization that don't necessarily show up there may not absorb the information. So the way that we created our strategy, and the way I want you to look at your strategy is to design and develop it for the pulpit. So don't keep talking to the choir about this topic, you have to integrate the pulpit. So let's kind of start with the definition of diversity. So on a global level, diversity is historically women issues. So women are the most underutilized resource globally on the planet Earth, their insights, their opinions, their advice, their intelligence on a global scale, there is a lack of women leaders in the executive game in government and in management. So globally, diversity is typically women programs first, LGBT programs second, people with disability or handicaps, third and cultural diversity fourth Now when you look at the region of the United States, which I'm going to focus on today, domestically, diversity is typically people of color first, which is cultural diversity, then women diversity, LGBT, and then people are handicapper disabilities. Now, this is not something that I design, it's just kind of default on how the diversity hierarchy has been laid out, and has positioned itself over the last few years.

Unknown Speaker 5:25

So going back into the domestic diversity conversation, the first thing everybody should do in their diversity strategy is to really reposition a conversation about diversity as a domestic emerging market. The US multicultural economy should not just be looked at as diversity as if it's something over in the corner. It should be reframed, redesigned, and redeveloped as a domestic emerging market. This helps activate people and get them more engaged in the conversation. Remember, we're talking to the pulpit. So if you look at diversity in the United States, from headcount, under 34 years old, 51% of everyone in America is a person of color. So as a multicultural American, so if you look at the growth of your company, you can really reposition this as the diversity strategy of your organization is really the growth strategy of your organization. Also, if you were to take the entire spending power of all the people of color in the United States, it would be the fourth wealthiest country in the world, after us, whites, Japan and China. So what's really important to see is that the size in vastness of the diversity market is critical to your growth as a business and as an organization.

Unknown Speaker 6:39

So we have something called the disruption roadmap. So you see three symbols on your screen right now. So when a client or a brand or pitch console, and comes to us with a client or a brand and says, you know, help us rebrand, help us market help us create media art, this is the formula that we use. And I bring this up today, because I want you to look at your diversity in your organization under the same formula, and then share how we looked at at our organization. So the convention is all of the things that are currently in the marketplace. So once you identify the conventions, you realize that this is everything that everyone else is doing in this category. The vision is where you want to go 510 years from now, what do you want to define is your target. And then the disruption is the design of what you're going to do today to help get you to the vision and defy convention. So on my first day, seven years ago, we looked at diversity as if it was a client. So this was our disruption, we did not just automatically assign diversity to the talent department, we did not just automatically assign it to the legal department, we did not automatically have the diversity officer report to the CEO, what we did was we put 33 people in a room, the same as we would for a creative team. We had production, we had account people Biz Dev, PR, HR, legal finance, we put 33 people in a room for eight hours. And we said, If diversity was a client, what would we actually do at our organization to help market it and rebrand it. And this is how we came up and developed our diversity framework. And this is what I'm encouraging each one of you to use as a best practice. So what came out of that day were three things. Number one is reporting to the CFO. In a decentralized organization, such as ours with offices all over the United States and around the world. It's best to align diversity with finance. So my direct report is the CFO of the organization. And my role sits under finance. This allows me to get visibility, help talk to finance, about budgets, and also make sure that all the CFOs are aligned in the conversation during reporting. The second thing is progress over PR, there's too much time spent trying to get people to click on things and show up on Google keywords for announcements. So a lot of people are in the announcement business, they just keep announcing diversity programs. But this actually builds diversity fatigue. So one thing that you should do is actually create progress before PR. And then the third part is a three pillar diversity strategy. So in order for diversity to be successfully implemented in your organization, and create change over a three year running average, which is typically how long it takes three different areas of diversity must be satisfied in your organization at the same time. So today, we're going to talk a lot about talent. But I also want you to look at this framework is an overarching strategy, because maybe talent isn't something that you can do today in your organization. But there's other areas that you can work on before it all comes together. So the first area that we're going to talk about is workforce. So this is 1/3 of your diversity strategy. And it constitutes at my company 1/3 of my role. So workforce is representation of the people that currently work in your organization. So we look at that on There's a lens of something we call the jury test. So if you were to go down to jury duty and look at 40 people that were brought in today to report for jury duty, those 40 people represent 40 people from the DMA that your office is in, do those 40 people represent 40 people in your company? So instead of just saying, We need more of this group, or we need more of this type of individual, what we say is, what voices Don't we have? What voices Do we need to add to represent the diversity in our organization as if it was the jury. So this is a great way to communicate the messaging across your organization, to all the people in the pulpit, and to all the people that need help and understanding because you're going to get individuals who say, Well, I don't understand why are we looking for this particular group more than another group, but we all are EEO one companies. So we do give equal opportunity to everyone but it's important to look at the jury test is an opportunity to widen the lens of the word and the context. Also, it's important to realize that anybody who has over 10 years experience typically is not going to be a diverse candidate. The reason being is that 10 years ago, diversity really wasn't on the radar for a lot of recruiters and a lot of organizations. So what we found a lot of luck in is actually looking at slashers. slashes are individuals that work in aligning industries slash have an interest in crossing over into our industry. It's also people that are 357 years out of college that have slasher careers. So you may be a bartender by day slash marketing person, by night, you may be helping your friend with a company slash working for a startup slash really interested in television commercials. So what this does is it really helps widen the pool of who you hire in your organization. It's also fair to say that most recruiters have like an NFL draft board of all the top players in their industry. So all those people are already identified. So if you really want to get diversity in your organization, it starts with diversity of thought, then it goes to diversity of industry. And then you'll get cultural diversity, age diversity, and different colleges and universities as well. So you should really identify and look for your employees. So what these individuals are is their exes. So this is a great strategy at home to look at and really look at on your recruiter. What industries Can you look at that would have great transferable skills to your current industry? Could it be x engineers, x bloggers, x magazine editors, x comic book illustrators. In order to get diversity and representation in your office, it's important that we start marketing and targeting slashers as part of that process.

Unknown Speaker 12:45

This is so important because we need to realize that you can't bring anyone into the organization and talk about how many people you want have a certain group or who's missing until we talk about the interview process. You can't hire who you do not interview. So it's important that you have a wide pool of people that you interview, Harvard Business Review just came out with a study recently that said that statistically speaking, if there's only one woman in a candidate pool, there's no chance that they're going to get hired. And the reason being was, is that you can compare the three male candidates with one another. But the woman is just one point of view. And she won't beat out three different versions of the same person. This is so important when you look at how many people that you interview for a job. So you should really target 5050 men, women interview 130 people of color, and encouraged the time and effort needed to widen the interview pool because you cannot hire who you do not interview. So focus on that first as part of your strategy. The second third of of my role, and the second third of your diversity strategy is supplier diversity. And this is for economic development. So when I started at the company, a lot of people weren't really discussing or talking about supplier diversity. But when we looked at diversity as a client, this is something that showed up right away. And this is essentially every check that the corporation writes to a business, or a b2b through a b2b transaction is empowering somebody who's a business owner. So we really looked at something called m wb ease so for those that don't know what an M wb is an M wb is a minority or woman business enterprise. So this is a chance for you to look back at all your entire business affairs, you're an All your outgoing checks and say, Who are we writing checks to who are our corporate partners, and see how we can create diversity in our supply chain. So there's a really important statistic here that you should look at. There's an estimated 30 million businesses in the United States of America today. So these are businesses registered with a tax ID number. And there's two charts on the screen right now that are important. The darker yellow at the bottom is 52% 52% percent of every business in America is an M wb E which is a multicultural or woman business enterprise. Okay, so this represents over half the businesses in America. And 40% of every business in America is owned, operated and controlled by a white male. But when it comes to business to business transaction, which is something that your company controls, only 6% of every b2b transaction in America goes to an M web company, and 94 cents of every dollar that every company writes in the United States of America goes to a white male owned business. So this is something that a lot of companies can look at and change. But we don't necessarily think of our supply chain when we talk about our diversity strategy. But again, this is something that you can learn and implement, and really start talking about at your company, Morgan Stanley recently came out with a report and they called it the trillion dollar blind spot. If corporations rebid all of their contracts, and gave equal billing to women and multicultural owned businesses, it would actually put 1 trillion more dollars into the economy of women and people of color in the United States by hiring the businesses that they've already started. So in the last five years at TWA, we went from virtually zero money in this category to $165 million in spend with 300, creative, diverse businesses. So this is casting, set design, production, translation, editorial, all these categories we hire out to help make our creative messages. And now looking at it under the lens of supplier diversity, we were able to enhance and grow 1/3 of our strategy through supporting these businesses, we loaded all those businesses on to one website called one sandbox Comm. So if you have the time, log on to the website, check out the businesses and realize that there are great businesses out there that are owned by these groups, but they just aren't given the chance to bid on the projects. And the third part of your strategy is the culture of your organization. This is all about inclusion. This is all about the environment that you create in your organization, within your four walls and all the things around it. So this could depend on where you send people to conferences. This is what your benefits packages are. This is where people sit. So all the little cultural nuances of your audience. This is the culture and inclusion, you have to realize that there's a lot of voices in the audience. But if they don't have a vote, they don't end up staying at the organization. So it's important that you do things for their culture, to help build a cultural brand. One thing we've had a lot of success with, and I encourage everybody here to do is to create some reciprocal programming. So create a piece of content or create a strategy or create an event that helps bring different individuals into your office space, and helps teach them about what you're doing. And then more people will apply for your jobs, more people will have awareness, and then those individuals can come in and interview. So it's like a reciprocal process. It's important when you're help building your talent brand to create this within your organization. Three years ago, we created something called the disrupter series, I went to my CEO, and I said, Hey, Rob, what do you think about starting a talk show in the lobby? And he said, Well, that's an interesting idea. But what would it be for and how would it work? And I said, Well, one of the challenges is getting different creatives that don't work at our ad agency to come into our walls to see our physical space. The other challenges, we need to do something more to build the connectivity and culture of our organization of the current employees. And then the third part is we need to also educate and increase the diversity IQ of our employees and staff on issues as it relates to diversity and inclusion. So what we did is we started a platform within our office that was great for reciprocal programming. So every two months, we bring in a guest, and they come speak about an issue or topic. We've had people come in from Al Roker to snoop dogg to Wendy Williams to Maria Shriver, and they come in and they talk and discuss about things in the culture that are directly affecting their creative environment, but are things that are best heard from third parties, not myself. So for International Women's month, Abbi and Ilana came in to talk about what it was like to create their own show Broad City, how it was like to be a boss, how it was like to be the producers and also how they created that journey from the internet to broadcast TV. So all these messages help reaffirm that diversity is fun and exciting. And it really needs to be set up in a way to win within a creative organization. Everybody should also look at the optics over the intent. Sometimes we do things with the best intentions but optically they just don't add up now with the internet. Now with social media and now with screen grabs, things that could be positioned in setup that you know are for the right reason optically look wrong. So realize that when you look around your office, do things optically look a little wrong because it all starts with small murmurs and then grows into something larger, there's been a huge growth of unconscious bias and braking bias training. We work with our offices to create a braking bias lab to help our employees and creatives help find cultural triggers and be aware of it. So there's a lot of things where you can work with your employees to help improve their optics and their intent for different things at the office. So these are nine closing tips for success. These are three things that after you build your strategy of three different pillars, here's nine to do's nine tips for success going forward. And I think after this talk today, you can go back to your organization, go back to your department, and help create a successful diversity strategy. So number one is defined diversity. We define diversity as everyone until everyone is part of the conversation we have work to do. And that's also translated to the jury test. So first thing you need to do is define diversity. Number two is identify one annual KPI change takes 1000 days, three year running average. So identify one key performance indicator in the DNI vertical each year for the next three years and watch your organization change slowly over time. There is no diversity store. So it's really 300 small things will need to happen in your organization. The analogy I gave in the beginning about digital, there used to be one Chief Digital Officer, now it's everybody's responsibility to have a digital IQ. The same could be said for diversity. There's one Diversity Officer but now it's everybody's responsibility to know something about diversity. Number three is rethink your job descriptions. You cannot hire who you don't interview so widen the pool of who you bring in. Number four is looking at 5050 men and female interview formula and 1/3 people of color to ensure there's not just one lone candidate that's underrepresented with all the overrepresented candidates in the office. Number five is make DNI and everyday action of the agency. Remember, it's a domestic emerging market, it's not something to be looked at in the corner. It's the fastest and largest growing sector of the American economy. So must be included in the everyday actions of your briefs, your department meetings, all your corporate updates, all your executive team emails. Number six is visualize and merchandise. One of the challenges is that the diversity conversation falls under corporate communications. And they may not have the designers on hand they may not have copywriters. So it's important that when you talk about diversity, it is visually appealing. Because our company makes media art and television commercials, we can use the same individuals that help make our commercials help make the diversity messaging in the organization to ensure that if someone watches it, they can retain it, and they can keep it top of mine. Because there's so many messages and information going out right now, it's important to ensure that people are retaining the message just like they do content or commercials. Number seven is the law of threes. If there's under three people of an underrepresented group, in any particular department in your organization, there's a high likelihood that they're going to leave within 18 months. If there's just one. They go home, they talk to their family, they talk to their friends, and they realize that although they like working at the company, it may not be a cultural fit for them. If there's two people have an underrepresented group in a department, they essentially go to lunch every day together and then decide to quit at the same time. But if there's three people, they realize that they actually have a say in the organization in the process. And that leads to a voice versus a vote. Everybody in the organization has a voice but do those individuals in the organization have a vote in the process? It's very important when you look at your diversity strategy to ensure that the people that are underrepresented, the quiet people in the room have a vote in the process, because that is key to making change, and making people feel a part of the conversation and a part of the fabric of the culture. And finally, when issues relating to diversity and inclusion are discussed in an office, communicating them in small groups is the best way. People are much more open to talk about issues relating to age, religion, sexual orientation, cultural ethnicity, if they're in small groups, 20 or 30 people where they feel that they could raise their hand and have questions it's important to build a safe space for DNI conversations and ensure that the whole organization is part of the conversation not just a particular vertical. It also helps If you're able to get a job number or budget from your finance department, so you can move an ebb and flow across swimlanes in your organization to ensure that each small group is being touched and, and being talked to.

Unknown Speaker 25:14

So, in closing, diversity is everything in our culture, diversity is different. It is all around us 365, seven days a week, and it's important that we integrate it within all of our organization in the same way. If you want to keep in touch with me, you can add me on LinkedIn. My Profile is Doug Melville. I also have three TED talks on the subject and a variety of other videos online so I'm happy to reply to you or respond to you or if you have any follow up questions. I want to thank you all so much for taking 15 to 20 minutes out of your day and joining me to discuss how to set up and nail your diversity strategy.

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