Though diversity and inclusion have always been key components of who we are at Sklar Wilton & Associates, we realize we’ve not been as blatant about them as we could be. As racial strife engulfed many countries over the last several months, our team deeply reflected on themselves and how our small but mighty organization could contribute to change that creates a better society.
After our self-reflection and before we designed a strategy to be an actively anti-racist organization, we needed to truly take the time to educate ourselves on how insidious and pervasive systemic racism is. We needed to understand how it affected us personally, our industry, and what we could do within our organization to address it.
A DEI Committee Emerged
As the Black Lives Matter protests peaked in May and June, a number of our employees came together to discuss DEI in our personal and work lives. We knew that we needed the space to work through and talk about systemic racism. We also knew that we needed to educate ourselves more. We read articles, books, and papers, watched a lot of documentaries and webinars, and talked to experts and other industry leaders. (You can find some of our favourite resources at the end of this post.). Most importantly, we engaged with each other in tough conversations where previously there were few spaces to do so.
Naturally, we formed a team and drafted a plan to present to the SW&A leadership team. The partners listened to us and worked with us to formalize our draft plan to fit within the larger SW&A strategic pillars. We had a formal DEI team! With the addition of a few more colleagues, we got to work as full-fledged committee with clear goals and objectives.
That was the beginning of our Imperfect Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
While our plan is still a work in progress, we’d like to share our journey with you in hopes of inspiring others to begin a similar journey.
We Built a DEI Imperfect Plan
The DEI team worked together to build a formal DEI strategy. We knew it would be imperfect, that we would learn as we progressed, and we would have to make changes along that way. And that was ok.
In fact, that’s good. Good leaders make changes and adapt when they encounter new information.
Here are some of the things we’ve tackled so far:
- Hiring Beliefs: One of our first accomplishments was creating a DEI statement for job postings. It might seem like a small task, but it’s not to be taken lightly. We needed a clear and concise statement to share our beliefs in a way that truly represents who we are:
Sklar Wilton & Associates strives to create a diverse culture where individual differences are recognized and embraced. We aim to attract and promote talent of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace where everyone succeeds.
- Hiring Actions: Our recruitment team quickly expanded its sources to ensure we opened ourselves to a more diverse of pool of marketing strategists and insights professionals.
- Company Beliefs: We needed to ensure that our broader community would understand our DEI beliefs via our website. After much debate to ensure the wording was clear, we added this to our website:
We Strive to Provide the Best Workplace. We start with hiring really great people – smart, hardworking, ambitious, and nice. Our purpose to Help Others Succeed shows up in our full team with people who truly care about each other’s success and work hard to create a positive and engaging culture. We strive to create a culture where individual differences and perspectives are recognized and embraced to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace.
- Company Behaviours: We are now in the midst of updating our company behaviors to ensure they mirror those beliefs.
- Universal Company Skills: We have updated our skillsets to reflect more inclusive qualities and standards we expect from ourselves and our colleagues.
- Internal Education: We aren’t experts in diversity, equity, and inclusion. We know that systemic racism is insidious. That’s why we’ve partnered with leaders in this area to provide us with dedicated training that will give us an unbiased look at ourselves. We are exploring additional training opportunities with diverse expert DEI partners for our ongoing education in the longer term.
- Sharing Marginalized Voices: We took a detailed look at our Twitter and LinkedIn social media channels and made key adjustments to ensure we could do a better job of sharing marketing, innovation, and insights content from marginalized groups, in particular Black, indigenous, and LGBTQ+ people.
- Supplier Requirements: As a company that works with many different research suppliers, we’re in the process of updating our supplier assessment criteria. We are revising our criteria to guide us in our selection of suppliers and to work alongside our existing partners to implement DEI principles.
- Internal Research Methods: Since we also conduct primary research ourselves, we have formally updated our own research processes. From sampling to questionnaire design to reporting and storytelling, we are pushing each step of the research process so that our work is more representative of the populations we study.
This is only the beginning. As we move forward, we need to ensure that the DEI processes and systems we continue to build on are acted upon faithfully and with purpose.
We’re excited to continue learning and improving, and we look forward to our growth as an organization.
Helpful Resources Readings, Films, Podcasts, and Courses
- 100 Ways to Support—Not Appropriate From—Native People: Article by Simon Moya-Smith
- Message to White Allies from A Black Anti-Racism Expert: You’re Doing It Wrong: Article by Dr. David Campt
- The Intersectionality Wars: Article by Jane Coaston
- Born a Crime: Book by Trevor Noah
- How to be an Anti-Racist: Book by Ibram X. Kendi
- Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada: Book by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
- The New Jim Crow: Book by Michelle Alexander
- We Should All Be Feminists: Book by Chimamanda Adiche
- White Fragility: Book by Robin DiAngelo
- Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual for Decolonization: Book by Peter McFarlane and Nicole Schabus
- 1619: Audio Series
- Code switch: Podcast
- Pod for the Cause: Podcast
- 13th: Film on Netflix
- Dear White People: Series on Netflix
- The Hate u Give: Film
- I am not your negro: Film on PBS
- Selma: Film on Amazon
- Anti-Racism: Free course on Coursera
- Indigenous Canada: Free course on Coursera
- Detailed list of Anti-Racism Resources: GoodGoodGood
- Detailed list of Canadian centered resources: Ontario Federation of Labour