22squared is hoping to share best practices and tips when it comes to diversity and inclusion initiatives with its new “Count Me In” resource guidebook.
The guide provides resources and lessons the agency has used to promote DE&I at its own shop.
For instance, “Culture Fit” training is designed to teach interviewers how to remove unconscious bias throughout the hiring process. And Netflix & Chats are hosted events with themes typically informed by topics in popular culture or annual heritage months. A moderator leads the meeting and establishes that the room is a safe space for uncomfortable conversations, and then asks discussion questions about culture inspired by events in the film.
“We need to humanize, empathize and actively listen to what is going on outside of our company walls, reflecting the culture our communities make,” explains Janis Middleton. Executive Director of Multicultural & Inclusion, 22squared. “While we still have miles to go, there have been some critical key learnings we think should be out in the public.”
The program initially started with a D&I Council in 2016, a small band of diverse individuals at the agency committed to building a more inclusive workplace there. “We knew our peers were feeling under-heard, under-represented, and under-supported. We didn’t know everything to build a better, all-inclusive workplace—but we were all willing to get our hands dirty, fail, try new things, and most importantly: get uncomfortable,” says Middleton.
“DEI can be a heavy initiative and load for any one person or department to carry,” she says. “We may compete as agencies for brand work, but diversity, equity, and inclusion is not a competition. We need to all win at this."