Thursday, April 19, 2018

Diversity & Inclusion: An Update on Our Progress

Brad Schneider, Co-founder & Advisor
Culture / Strategy / Innovation

Two of Rightpoint’s core values are Integrity and Accountability, which is one of the reasons why I began publicly documenting our company’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) actions last year. In last year’s article, I mentioned three key lessons: don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, engage in a transparent D&I process and implement meaningful change. We also wanted to be transparent to our customers and audience by sharing some of the efforts we have undertaken to ensure that we walk the talk. I also felt it was important to tie our progress back to the key three lessons from last year’s article.

1.     Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable

The Rightpoint Diversity & Inclusion team hosted a series of listening workshops to ensure that all of our team member questions and concerns were heard. Across five of our offices, we engaged in 1:1 interviews and four different focus groups. Opening up the conversation about our culture across several offices was a high point of vulnerability, but necessary for growth. All participants were ensured that their comments were confidential and we received helpful, constructive comments and recommendations to improve our efforts.

2.     Engage in a transparent D&I process

Across the company, the Diversity & Inclusion team worked with me, my Co-Founder Ross Freedman and other leaders on our Diversity Statement which reads in part: “The best companies learn from the best people, and the best people come from wildly different backgrounds. Our vision is to make Rightpoint an inclusive place where people come together to create great work with the utmost respect for individuality.”

Developing and sharing this statement was one of our goals last year and our team has followed through on that goal. Beyond being transparent with internal stakeholders, we also have decided to extend our transparency outwardly. Because we are a customer experience agency and have a collaborative relationship with our partners and clients, it is important to us that we are also honest about our goals as a company with our external stakeholders. This is one of the reasons why we’ve chosen to write about our goals and progress for our Thought page.

3.     Implement meaningful change

Implementing meaningful change is a challenge that is easier said than done.  That said, having completed our mission statement and participated in our listening sessions, we are making progress in 2018. The company’s Diversity & Inclusion team is building momentum and has raised awareness across our offices. Some examples include highlighting African American and Women leaders in the design and tech spaces during Black History month and Women’s History Month, as well as within our own spaces both internally and externally (using our social media channels). Last month, our Diversity & Inclusion team also hosted a group from the Embarc program in Chicago. Embarc is a three-year program that provides community-driven, experienced-based learning opportunities to low-income high school students to inspire and prepare them for college and career success.  Groups of local high schoolers who participate in the Embarc program paired up with Rightpointers for a handful of interactive activities, aimed at getting each pair to talk about life and career aspirations.  Through the process all participants got insight into commonalities they share as well as inspiration.

We have also undertaken efforts to strengthen D&I through our recruiting initiatives.  Our recruiting team has connected with D&I organizations on campuses and have been researching a number of avenues to connect with diverse candidates.  They are also reviewing our interviewing approach to ensure our language is gender-neutral and we’re aware of the biases we all bring in to the process.

What’s next? 

As an organization that is growing and evolving, we recognize that our Diversity & Inclusion efforts are part of a much larger journey. Our team will continue to seek constructive and actionable feedback from teammates across all ten of our offices and we will continue to celebrate and learn from and about our differences. Our team is determined to live up to our Diversity Statement to make Rightpoint the best is can be and though we are happy with the steps we’ve taken thus far, we look forward to the road ahead!

Brad Schneider is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Rightpoint. Follow Brad on Twitter and LinkedIn.