In the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the Black Lives Matter protests across the country, we took a hard look at our company and recognized that we could be doing more, much more. Our Act in Solidarity Plan 2020 was the first step in making diversity, inclusion and equity for Black professionals in our company a priority.
On June 30, 2020 we posted our plan to publicly hold ourselves accountable. Eight months later - here’s what we’ve accomplished, what we’re in the middle of and what we still need to work on in 2021 to continue this work.
Obviouslee Act in Solidarity 2020 Report
Create and put into place recruitment and hiring practices that promote diversity
Connected with HBCUs to expand online job postings
Rewrote job descriptions to include more inclusive language
Tracked diversity initiatives at each phase of the interview process
Recommended employees include pronouns in email signatures
Celebrated multicultural holidays
Make our diversity and inclusion policy public, and list it on all job openings and our website
We included our policy in all job postings we had in the latter half of 2020 and will continue to include it moving forward. We encourage all to include one as well.
“We are committed to being a proactive, anti-racist organization. Obviouslee believes that a culture of inclusion provides the best work environment for all. Obviouslee provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification, national origin, age, height, weight, marital status, veteran status, disability status or other legally protected class. This includes a firm policy against discrimination on any of these legally protected categories. We will diversify. We will listen and learn. We will amplify. We will act.”
Make connections with career centers at historically black colleges and networking groups, then place job openings in these channels
Connected with 15 HBCUs to foster partnership and post job openings
Include salary range and benefits in all job postings
We included salary ranges on our past 3 job postings and will continue to do so moving forward
Implement a company-wide behavioral code of conduct that will hold every employee accountable for racist and discriminatory actions
We have included language around this in our employee handbook
Work with local high schools in the Charleston area to put in place a paid apprenticeship each year for a student of color
Due to the pandemic, we had to pause all internships and apprenticeships. We plan to put these programs in place sometime in 2021
By the end of 2023, our goal is to have our internal team demographics closely mirror that of the U.S. Census Data as it relates to Black marketing professionals
We made a concerted effort to change our team demographics. In the latter part of 2020, we hired three talented team members. Check out our expanded, and more diverse, team on our website. We plan to send out an optional survey to our whole team to better identify where we currently stand and to continue to build an inclusive team.
Continue to create connections with Black creators, writers, photographers, videographers and designers that we can collaborate with on projects
Through personal outreach as well as joining Slack channels like Where are all the Black Designers?, we expanded our network and created new connections. This is an ongoing effort. If you know someone we should meet, let us know! We always enjoy meeting and collaborating with new people
For each project we work on, and each partner that we work with, we will identify how inclusion, equality and diversity can be a part of the conversation and the work
Train our team to actively combat racism. We will have two team members complete Diversity Training through the Racial Equity Institute each quarter until we have 100% company participation and will submit members for Diversity Leadership Institute
We had two team members complete REI training in Q4 2020. We have two more signed up for the training in Q1 2021. We commit to 4 team members to complete the training in the next 6 months. We have also submitted members to participate in Diversity Leadership Institute
Create an internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force that will hold our organization accountable to our plan and report out on action items
We formed an internal task force that focused on this plan for 2020. 2021 will have its own task force with a new group of team members to keep the ideas and perspectives fresh. They will create a new plan for 2021 (stay tuned!) which we will also make public.
Provide resources for team members so that they can educate themselves on an individual basis
We had 5 company sessions with diversity, equity and inclusion consultant Shawn Edwards that focused on 1) DEI Vocabulary 2) Implicit Bias 3) Partner Relationships 4) Pronouns 5) Open Dialogue
Create an anti-racism book club for our company
Instead of forming a book club, our team individually read, shared and discussed books and articles
Become organization members of the International African American Museum
Obviouslee is a proud member of the International African American Museum
Meet with community leaders to further understand how as an organization we can support, amplify and act
Our team reached out to local organizations like Lowcountry Local First, Black Food Fridays and the YWCA. We discussed ways to support, amplify and act. The conversations were enlightening and helpful in putting together our 2020 plan and for how to move forward toward a more diverse, inclusive and equitable company.
Invite BIPOC individuals to speak during our weekly Monday Morning meeting
In Q3 and Q4 of 2020 we had 17 Monday Morning speakers or which 29% were BIPOC
Identify Black owned businesses and ensure we are shifting a portion of our budget to those businesses for the remainder of 2020 (increase that spend amount into 2021)
Our spending was limited this year due to COVID. We did refocus our gift giving budget to be placed with Black owned businesses
Continue to highlight Black artists in our office space and through the events we hold
We did not have events in our space this year due to COVID. We did give social media shout outs to local Black artists as they had shows or art releases
Choose one organization that works with the Black community and support it through volunteer, marketing and PR efforts to amplify its causes through 2020 (with the opportunity to support more than one organization in 2021)
We began the process of identifying the organization to support and plan to start this effort in 2021.
Encourage voting by circulating voting details and locations, and giving a half day off to team members who exercise their right to vote
We worked with the Charleston County Board of Elections on a campaign to educate people in Charleston County about voting details. Internally, we discussed the importance of voting, made sure our team was well educated on all voting details and honored our time off policy. We shared all voting info on social media.
Invite political candidates into our office so that our team can better understand the issues and platforms of those who will potentially make policy change
We invited people who work in government and politics, journalists and political candidates to have open conversations with our team about national and local politics and process.
Partner with Atlanta agency, Media Frenzy Global, to challenge other industry leaders to sign the Agencies in Solidarity pledge and to share resources through the Act in Solidarity social media outlets
This partnership created www.actinsolidarity.com to be an online resource. Through collaborative efforts, Agencies Act in Solidarity motivated 39 agencies in 15 states to sign the pledge.
Participate in industry webinars and open discussions on how agencies need to act to make diversity, inclusion and equity a part of their core values and recruitment practices
Via Agencies Act in Solidarity, Lee (Obviouslee) and Katie (Media Frenzy Global) participated in webinars with MarketingProfs, Ragan Communications, AdWeek, The Riveter and General Assembly to get the word out.
Our 2021 plan is in the process of being written (stay tuned!). In 2021, we will continue to do the hard work to infuse diversity in every aspect of what we do. We will expand our DEI efforts to include all minority groups because we believe that people - regardless of race, age, origin, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability - are equal. Obviouslee welcomes all people.