DeVries Global New York:
An Update on Our DE&I Progress
Our mission at DeVries Global is to decode culture, and we are acutely aware this is only possible by building a culture that reflects diversity in people and perspectives. In August 2020, we shared our agency’s diversity data, in accordance with the Equal Employment Office’s (EEO) standards. It was a time of deep reckoning and awakening to the responsibility we have to create equal opportunity and an inclusive culture to be proud of. We also shared the areas of focus necessary to create and affect change.
Reflecting upon this past year, we recognize there is still significant work to do, but we have indeed made steady, small progress toward systemic change and fairness over time.
Today, we are humbly sharing our progress and reminding ourselves and the industry to stay focused.
Change Our Makeup:
Simply put, our goal was to improve Black representation. We were intentional around the opportunities to hire diverse talent, with the majority of open roles at the Professional level. As we progress, the same intention will apply to OM1 and OM2 levels, where we will focus on both identifying talent, and supporting and elevating diverse talent into OM1 and OM2 positions.
- Since August 2020, we made 18 permanent hires; 44% represent BIPOC talent, and our Black representation has increased from 5% to 12%. We continue to focus on building a diverse talent pipeline and establishing and strengthening relationships with BIPOC talent across all levels and specialties. The agency hired 21 temporary employees since last August; 52% from diverse communities, including eight Black hires for short-term and long-term ongoing projects.
- In addition to continuing to foster our partnership with Howard University, we developed relationships with Morgan State University and Hampton University, and joined the #HIREBLACKNOW initiative focused on recruiting and allyship.
- Last Fall, we pivoted our existing virtual learning program (Decoding PR Externship) to focus solely on diverse students/recent graduates via partnerships with HBCUs and affinity groups within universities. For the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 externship sessions, all 22 participants were from diverse communities, and we have since placed two participants in paid internship roles. Program participants are also now connected with an agency employee for ongoing mentorship and networking opportunities.
- We continue investing in developing sponsorship programs and external development opportunities to provide our BIPOC employees a roadmap and tools for advancement. This includes a Goal Development Workshop focused on career pathing and defining promotion criteria to foster growth opportunities for BIPOC talent to progress to OM1 and OM2 levels.
- Professional development training coming this Fall offers training in Inclusive Leadership, Inclusive Teams and Writing. All employees have access to LinkedIn Learning, which has more than 5,000 course offerings. Employees are encouraged to complete 24 hours of professional development training annually, including at least two DE&I focused courses, as part of their annual performance and development plans.
- We have been honored to partner with clients committed to meaningful DE&I campaigns. We are the U.S. AOR for Sephora and helped them strategically communicate significant moments: from being the first retailer to sign up for the 15% Pledge, releasing the Racial Bias Study and company action plan, to the evolution of the Sephora Accelerate brand incubator program focused on cultivating and growing BIPOC-owned brands.
Celebrate Each Other:
Despite the virtual nature of our world, we celebrated our differences by learning more about each other.
- Our EMBRACE team focused on driving and championing DE&I initiatives; organized and hosted virtual events honoring Hispanic Heritage, Black History and Women’s History months; and celebrated each other via cooking with one another’s families, trivia quizzes, movie nights and employee spotlights.
- As a female founded and led organization, we organized a panel discussion in celebration of National Women’s History Month, entitled AccompliSHEd: An engaging conversation with our client leaders who ‘lift as they climb’ to help other women rise. Three out of four of our inspiring panelists were BIPOC leaders, including one Black leader. They shared their personal journeys and remarkable accomplishments, the helping hands of mentors and sponsors, the lessons learned, and how they fostered the success of women around them.
- As part of our 400ForGood program – a call-to-action for our collective team to give back 400 hours of community service to organizations that serve and improve the lives of marginalized people – employees volunteered with organizations including New York Cares and New York Food Bank, serving those impacted by hunger and homelessness; WIN (Women in Need), the largest provider of shelter and supportive housing for New York City’s homeless families, women and children; and reading with children from underserved communities at Boston Collegiate Charter School, to name a few.
Support Each Other:
We focused on education by both creating opportunities for employees to learn, and ensuring they were aware of resources available to help them navigate challenging personal and professional times.
- Offered DE&I focused training sessions, including: Spotting Bias and How to Address It Workshop; Inclusive Leadership: Providing Sound Talent Feedback While Avoiding Bias/Microaggressions; and How To Be an Inclusive Communicator at Any Level of Your Professional Journey.
- Employees have access to IPG Racial Equity resources via Inclusive at Work; MERGE Business Resource Group events; and training.
- In response to AAPI violence, the agency held AAPI Counseling and Ally sessions led by our Employee Assistance provider to create a safe space for sharing and guidance for supporting AAPI colleagues and friends.
- Employees have access to mental health and wellness resources via our Employee Assistance Program and Healthcare provider, including access to Sanvello, Talkspace, Headspace, etc., and a Health, Wellness and Peace of Mind Reimbursement Program, which offers a monthly stipend for mental or physical health activities.
All focus areas were measured via annual and half-year Favorable Climate Surveys, in which employees were asked to share candid feedback on our DE&I initiatives and programs to help understand where we are making progress, where we should focus next, Talent Pipeline Development, Workforce Development and Market Impact.