7 MINUTE READ | October 18, 2021
Shared Progress: Making an Impact Across DE&I Initiatives
Our ‘Shared Progress’ series covers what we’ve learned since launching our ‘Commitment to Change’ in July 2020, to help meaningfully advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in our industry and beyond. Catch up on the series by reading our first article on setting up a DE&I commitment for success, or our second article on prioritizing DE&I during a pandemic.
If there was a simple solution to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace, no one would hesitate to apply it to their own organizations as quickly as possible. However, to implement lasting change requires us to understand our own organizations, set measurable goals, and remain steadfast in putting in the work to fulfill our commitments. While not every organization will have access to the same resources, and at times change can be slow, we believe there are always creative ways to make progress towards DE&I goals.
To incorporate inclusion into the fabric of our culture at PMG, we encourage our employees to apply best practices to every part of their day-to-day work and professional relationships. It’s not feasible (or possible) for members of our DE&I leadership team to attend every internal meeting, manager 1:1, or client call to ensure we’re advancing inclusive best practices across the company. By making ‘be inclusive’ a company value, we inspire every PMG employee to help us advance DE&I in a number of ways.
Formal training and education on diversity, equity, and inclusion can be uncomfortable for many people (which is a good thing!), so it’s important to anticipate differing comfort levels by finding unique ways for people to learn at their own pace and remain encouraged to take part in these important conversations. To kick things off, and inject a level of inspiration and motivation into the organization around advancing DE&I, we first introduced the ‘DIG In’ speaker series featuring external speakers and perspectives, and we collected and organized educational resources to promote self-learning across the company.
Additionally, we empowered the leaders of our employee resource groups (ERGs) to utilize our monthly Diversity & Inclusion Group (DIG) meetings to share their unique stories and experiences, and introduced new, remote-friendly ways to celebrate significant milestones and cultural celebrations that remain important to our employees (i.e, PRIDE Month Drag Queen Bingo, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, International Women’s Day, Women’s Equality Day, and more).
While maintaining excitement and motivation around advancing DE&I are essential to the process, it’s just as important to find time to formally educate company employees about why DE&I matters, as well as what people can do to be better allies, regardless of if they are senior leaders, people managers, or independent contributors.
In 2020, we found that company-wide diversity and inclusion training provides our people with the formal instruction and educational resources they need to improve their understanding of DE&I, their coworkers’ lived experiences, and how they can support their coworkers and their communities.
Our trainings covered DE&I language and commonly used terminology, unconscious bias, an overview of the dominant and marginalized identities represented in America, as well as breakout rooms and opportunities for intimate conversation in small groups with coworkers, training instructors, and PMG leadership about the lived experiences of people of color, women in the workforce, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and more marginalized or underrepresented people. Combined, these training sessions helped to empower healthy conversations across our workforce, while educating our people on the immediate ways they can be more empathetic, inclusive, and intentional in their relationships at work. Moving forward we strive to hold these formal training sessions at least once a year.
Beyond sharing our diversity data and commitments on the PMG website, we also took steps to make an impact on the marketing industry at large. These efforts took the form of:
A company-wide commitment to change through our pledge with 600&Rising.
Becoming an active member of Google’s Independent Agency DEI Coalition
Continuing to transparently share our progress and learnings to date, such as this article, to help encourage knowledge sharing opportunities.
Marketing has the power to create positive change in the world, and as marketers, one of our ongoing goals is to improve our company-wide understanding of inclusive marketing best practices and apply them consistently across the organization and our work. We began the groundwork for this initiative in 2020 by establishing a dedicated council of leaders to help develop best practices, but while the initial outputs were impressive — and many are still used today – some of the efforts were not maintained as our people were spread too thin across a variety of initiatives.
We are now actively working to build a dedicated team to build and sustain inclusive marketing practices across departments, including creative, client strategy, data analytics, media, strategy, planning and insights, and more. Recently, we partnered with Google for a company-wide presentation and training on the All In: Inclusive Marketing toolkit to help prepare our teams for the 2021 holiday season, and to help build out our plan for how we grow our efforts in this area heading into 2022.
As a company that’s passionate about giving back, it was important for us to align our community outreach initiatives with our DE&I efforts. In 2020, we struggled to find the right activities that people felt safe and comfortable participating in; however, this year, we were able to find our stride through the following programs:
PMG Zoom Out To Give Back — For National Volunteer Week, PMG kicked off our Zoom Out to Give Back event, mobilizing our entire global team to make a difference in our communities and among underserved populations. PMGers were given up to five hours (1,575+ hours collectively) to support causes ranging from giving blood, to supporting local food pantries and homeless shelters, to donating books to prisons. PMGers participated both virtually and in person, supporting a wide range of organizations nationwide, including Room to Grow in Boston, Central Texas Food Bank in Texas, clothing charities in London, and the Tarrant Area Food Bank and HOPE Farm in Fort Worth.
PMG Gives Back in Napa, California — PMG’s Summer Soirée allowed our team the opportunity to reconnect after more than a year apart and to celebrate PMG’s 10-year (+one) anniversary. Held in Napa Valley, California, during the event 275+ PMGers volunteered at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Napa Valley, supporting its mission to enable young people, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Collectively, we spent over 850 hours painting a basketball court, assembling soccer goals, skateboards and disc golf goals, landscaping, and more for the kids to enjoy! As we plan for future volunteer opportunities, we continue to host company-wide group-based volunteer events multiple times a year.
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As 2021 draws to a close, we’re looking forward to making meaningful progress on our Commitment to Change by improving our internal practices, providing educational opportunities and resources for our people, and expanding our efforts to incorporate greater outreach for our local communities.
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