Hirons’ Diversity Team was established years ago to help diverse staff feel included and to educate team members on various cultural learnings that can aid our work as communications professionals. The purpose of this affinity group has shifted and evolved over time as conversations surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace have become more common. In the fall of 2019, I was tasked with stepping up as the leader of the group following the departure of another staff member.
In early 2020, our team convened and identified multiple opportunities for improving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the agency as well as the need to develop a comprehensive plan that could document the execution of such improvements. We set out to create a plan that would include both short- and long-term tactics encompassing four main categories: company policies, operational procedures and company culture.
As a first step in this process, I led the development of a DEI Policy to clearly demonstrate Hirons’ commitment to making clients, staff and partners feel included, and to diversifying the agency. Development of this policy took longer than expected as we all adjusted to working remotely, but in June 2020 we proudly shared the policy with our management team.
After receiving resounding approval, the policy was shared with all staff and posted publicly on our website. The policy states the following:
OUR COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION
We are committed to fostering a positive environment for all of our employee-owners, clients, partners and agency friends as we produce bold, award-winning work for our clients. As part of this commitment, Hirons prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across the agency.
To best represent our diverse range of clients, and to support our team members and push our industry as a whole moving forward, we empower our team to bring their unique experiences, perspectives and cultural backgrounds to their work every day.
Our commitment to diversity includes but is not limited to respect for race, ethnicity, color, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomic class, religion, physical ability, cognitive ability, age, military status, political ideology, economic status, geographic location and language/linguistic ability.
Hirons exemplifies our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by:
- Making decisions – be it everyday choices or long-term strategies – that foster a culture of inclusivity.
- Prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion as one of the elements in our agency’s strategic planning process.
- Learning from our team members’ unique experiences to help us grow as individuals and as professionals.
- Partnering with and supporting certified women-, disability-, minority- and veteran-owned enterprises.
- Working with other organizations that are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Partnering with community organizations and thought leaders to provide educational programming and professional development opportunities for our team members.
- Serving clients across a diverse range of sectors, organizational structures and missions.
- Evaluating our company’s performance on diversity and inclusion efforts, including in our relationships with partners, clients and staff, on an annual basis.
- Ensuring all recruiting, onboarding and retention processes are equitable and inclusive.
- Striving to increase the number of minority group members in leadership roles within the agency.
- Prioritizing the mental and physical well-being of our team members.
While these actions represent overarching DEI goals for the agency, this list is non-exhaustive. We understand dialogue surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion is ever evolving, and so are we.
I am thrilled to have been a part of this process and to have had the opportunity to collaborate with all levels of staff to develop and publish this agency-wide policy. We intend to follow up on this statement with the aforementioned action plan to outline strategies and tactics necessary for maintaining this commitment.