We, as an agency, are lacking in diversity—a fact that we are acutely aware of. And something we are committed to changing.
We must be strong allies for our employees of color and ensure that OutCast is a place where everyone feels valued, encouraged and supported – and where everyone sees a path to grow and lead. Additionally, we must use our influence as communications professionals to amplify BIPOC, LGBTQIA and other marginalized voices, as well as uplift brands and organizations that serve these communities.
We’re sharing our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion commitments here as a way to hold ourselves accountable.
Our DEI Beliefs
The efforts of our amazing group of DEI leaders within OutCast, in collaboration with our HR and Management Teams, are driven by the following guiding principles:
- Diversity: We value — and work to attract and retain — representation of people from a variety of identities and backgrounds (i.e. race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, differing abilities, sexual orientation, nationality, socio-economic status, etc.)
- Equity: We seek to ensure the fair treatment of all and provide equal access to opportunities, information, and resources. We work to eliminate institutional and unconscious barriers that could limit the potential for any and all participants.
- Inclusion: We build a culture of belonging that makes every individual feel heard, accepted, and valued
Our DEI Commitments
Our ultimate goals are to have OutCast reflect the world we live in and, collectively, to use our skills to support and uplift people of color and other marginalized groups.
To make this vision a reality, we outlined actions under three core pillars — Talent, Training and Advocacy — and set a six-month timeline to show progress.
Talent: We have an opportunity to make significant progress on becoming a more inclusive company in the way we recruit, retain, evaluate and cultivate the people who make up OutCast. Our commitments are to:
- Engage a third-party consultant to conduct a thorough audit of OutCast’s process, procedures, and culture across all geographies, as it pertains to DEI, and develop an action plan based on findings
- Identify, reach out, and build relationships with Comms, Marketing, Creative, and Business associations and organizations focused on people of color to increase our pipeline of talent for future hiring
- Build relationships with key HBCUs, and with POC-focused organizations within select PWIs, in the US to build awareness of OutCast; focus on key schools in local geos or with alumni connections to OC
- Build a plan to attract and identify diverse candidates through our Associate / Graduate Program and for key strategic positions across the company; be fully prepared to activate when business needs arise
- Evaluate the opportunity to create a new program to better reach marginalized communities with non-traditional backgrounds to learn at OutCast
- Explore updating hiring qualifications (specifically BA / undergraduate degree, etc.) and come up with new requirements for Associate / Graduate Program and beyond
- Incorporate DEI into the agency’s overall values and goals of Smart Growth, Best People, Best Work, Best Clients
- Among OutCast’s five core values, we will update the description of ‘‘Inclusion” to reflect specific behaviors that directly impact diversity, equity and inclusion
Training: We are striving to build a culture where individuals understand the power and privilege that comes with their roles and their positions in society, and improve internal communication while eliminating bias. Our commitments are to:
- Develop DEI training plan for FY22 that includes a cadence and schedule for all employees, requirements by level (i.e. targeted trainings for managers), “listening” sessions / guest speakers, and more, based on recommendations from a third-party expert
- Conduct mandatory training (with external expert) for all OutCasts on the topic of unconscious bias
- Create and train employees on a process for reporting, investigating, and addressing incidents of bias
- Train all employees on eliminating bias related to candidate selection, interviews and recruiting
Advocacy: We recognize that the choices we make in terms of partners, referrals and sharing our experience can make an impact on our community. To put that power into action, our commitments here are to:
- Create a structured pro-bono program for US geographies that enables OutCast/outlier to take discrete projects for POC-owned and -led organizations who support underrepresented groups
- Establish “Office Hours Workshop” program and/or training for Black / POC-owned start-ups and businesses in the US to advise on Comms, Marketing and Creative
- Update OutCast’s agency/freelance partner and referral vendor lists to include POC-owned companies and build new relationships with a diverse set of individuals to partner, connect and refer
Beyond these commitments, we’re setting longer term (12-18 months) goals to drive lasting diversity at OutCast. These include:
- Significantly increase representation by people of color on the management and senior leadership team
- Evaluate hiring within all states where OutCast employees currently live to broaden search for candidates that reflect diversity
- Proactively develop robust plan to ensure OutCast culture extends to all employees working remotely
We have a long way to go and we know that our work will never truly be done. But through our unwavering commitment to the steps above, and by constantly challenging our own practices and assumptions, we will work to make OutCast the most inclusive culture that it can be.