Mar 10

Encouraging Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Natalie Jones

During the first weekend of February, Harvard Business School’s African American Student Union organized the 44th Annual H. Naylor Fitzhugh Conference. Attendees discussed many ways for organizations to spur important conversations by engaging employees in diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace. Here are three identified best practices:

  • Recruit: Set data-driven diversity goals to promote transparency in hiring

    It’s imperative that companies be transparent about where they are and where they’re hoping to go in terms of recruiting a diverse staff. Management (not just the D&I team) should sit down and scrutinize the numbers just as it would any other business opportunity. Once the targets are determined, providing progress updates will demonstrate to interested parties that this is a real business priority and give everyone accountability in seeing the goals accomplished.

  • Retain: Establish employee groups to foster camaraderie

    Employee resource groups provide a setting for employees to convene with people who are passionate about elements of minority identity. Having these affinity groups accessible and active is significant for retaining diverse talent. In order to reap the full benefits of the groups, management should invest in the establishment of signature events and regular programming to bring multiple employee groups together as well as to engage the larger employee population.

  • Recognize: Invest in high-performers to prove commitment to diversity

    In order to help diverse talent thrive, organizations should coordinate workshops or retreats to engage with minority employees and seek their perspectives and candid feedback. In addition to being a tangible investment in high-performing employees, these gatherings bring diverse talent into the conversation about the company’s future success.

Leaders in corporate America have a great opportunity to promote inclusive cultures by engaging employees in efforts to ensure organizational diversity. With employee enthusiasm and involvement, these best practices can help them do so.

Natalie is one of the leaders of Powell Tate’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Perspectives. Her previous post on racial discourse can be found here: “Pushing for Progress on Racial Discourse during #BlackHistoryMonth.”

Feb 23

From Report to Reporting: The Case for Always-On Transparency

Catie de Montille

When working with clients to shape sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting efforts, our team makes a point to speak about “reporting” instead of “the report”.  It may seem like a matter of semantics, but it’s an important distinction.

In our experience, by viewing the release of an annual report as one important pulse point within a broader year-round engagement strategy, companies are able to position the report as part of an ongoing conversation.  The distinction has broad implications for organizations that are embracing transparency as a means of informing stakeholders about their environmental, social and governance (ESG) endeavors.

In our work, we often talk with clients about the need to be “always-on” in order to break through in today’s crowded communications landscape.  In the context of ever-increasing means of sharing messages and opinions – and ever-increasing voices participating in the sharing – it’s more important than ever to earn people’s attention and trust with timely, relevant and honest content, particularly around corporate ESG issues.

Our client Michael Meehan, Chief Executive of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), underscores the importance of ongoing reporting the second installment of our Innovation Trends Report, Always-On Transparency. He has a front row seat to the shift to Always-On Transparency, as the head of an international independent organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate the impact of business on critical sustainability issues. Michael says:

“It is becoming increasingly evident that transparently reporting impact is a valuable investment. Companies that embrace transparency, for example, are increasingly more attractive to investors, as they signal less risk. Other benefits include improved reputation, increased employee and consumer loyalty, and more savings due to better management of resources. Perhaps the most profound benefit of reporting is the process itself, which is a powerful catalyst for continuous change and improvement.”

In the future, the need to drive transparency through ongoing communications will become increasingly important as stakeholders demand it, reporting standards adopt always-on expectations and companies recognize and embrace the benefits of more open and ongoing engagement through reporting.
I hope you’ll explore this trend more in our new Always-On Transparency report and encourage you to share your thoughts and best practices.
And, stay tuned for subsequent reports in the series, which will explore additional trends – such as purpose-drive data, conscious crowdsourcing and inclusive global economies – that are transforming how people, organizations and systems connect to drive positive change.

Jan 29

Introducing the Social Impact Insider

Paul Massey


Social Impact Insider

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Introducing the Social Impact Insider

At Weber Shandwick, we’re excited to introduce you to the Social Impact Insider, a monthly newsletter designed to deliver you the latest must-read news and insights on the innovations, trends and influencers driving the global social impact agenda across sectors and industries.

Highlighted throughout this inaugural edition is the role of the private sector in accelerating progress on the United Nations’ Global Goals and the COP21 climate change agreement. Both agendas influenced conversations at the World Economic Forum last week in Davos — and will shape corporate shared value and sustainability strategies for the next several years.

Want the Social Impact Insider delivered to your inbox monthly? Subscribe using the sign-up form in the right sidebar of this page.



A Push for Gender Equality at the Davos World Economic Forum, and Beyond
Noting the lack of diversity at Davos, Theresa Whitemarsh, head of the Washington State Investment Board, and Elizabeth Nyamayaro, head of U.N. Women’s HeForShe campaign, share two impactful solutions to gender inequality in the workplace. The New York Times


What Millennials Really Want
As the largest working generation, Millennials have the power to shape the future of work. Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Impact Survey finds that to engage this purpose-driven demographic, employers must make a social impact. Fast Company


With Imposed Transparency and Concerned Millennials, a Boom in Corporate Responsibility?
Motivated by transparency and a socially conscious workforce, more corporations are prioritizing corporate social responsibility — not as a marketing move, but as a foundational business element. The New York Times


Tech Companies Make High-Dollar Commitments to Tackle Social Issues
The tech sector kicked off 2016 with significant philanthropic commitments to tackle critical social issues:

  • Microsoft pledged $1 billion in cloud space to nonprofits in an effort to combat the “digital divide.” Fortune
  • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg committed $31 million in Facebook stocks to nonprofits supporting women’s empowerment and girls in tech. Re/code
  • Netflix Founder and CEO Reed Hastings launched a $100 million fund to support access to college for minorities. The Washington Post



Meet the Nine Billion-Dollar Companies Turning a Profit from Sustainability
More and more companies are not only embracing a social impact ethos, but also seeing profit increases that are directly attributable to their sustainable practices and products. The Guardian


Doing Business in a Post-Paris World
With a renewed emphasis on collaboration and corporate involvement in the fight against climate change following COP21, businesses are setting strategies with an environmentally-conscious lens. GreenBiz


No Company Can Solve a Massive Global Problem On Its Own
From climate change to economic inequality to global conflict — tackling the world’s complex challenges will require diverse coalitions and public-private partnerships. Harvard Business Review



The Ford Foundation’s Quest to Fix the World
An in-depth profile of the Ford Foundation and its charismatic president Darren Walker shines a light on the challenges that even well-funded groups face in their quests for social justice. The New Yorker


The Hidden Lives of America’s Poor and Middle Class
The researchers behind the U.S. Financial Diaries project found that the barriers to economic mobility have changed dramatically — and so must the products, programs and policies intended to address them. Stanford Social Innovation Review


'Age of megacrises' requires new humanitarian solutions, says U.N.
A panel of experts commissioned by the U.N. to recommend solutions for the humanitarian funding gap have called for a larger, more efficient and transparent donor system, coupled with programs to reduce crises by tackling their root causes. Devex



Smart Africa: Big-data tools transform business
Social entrepreneurs are bringing big data access to Africa, enabling small businesses, farmers and policy makers there to better connect with international investors, share strategies and foster global economic growth. Financial Times


Crowdfunded Journalism: A Small but Growing Addition to Publicly Driven Journalism
Crowdfunding is creating a small but noteworthy niche media segment for public interest stories that don’t typically make the news. Pew Research Center


Global Goals:
Private Sector Opportunity

The United Nations’ new Global Goals for Sustainable Development are a universal set of 17 targets focused on ending poverty, reducing inequality and tackling climate change. This ambitious 15-year agenda calls on the private sector to help address these challenges—and leading corporations are heeding the U.N.’s call to action. For example, Mars, Inc. issued a graphic showing how its business supports all 17 goals, and Pfizer conveyed its commitment to advancing the sustainable development agenda via video. Private sector momentum continued to build around the goals at last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos with the launch of the Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development. Led by Unilever CEO Paul Polman, the commission will be dedicated to making the business case for supporting the Global Goals. (Unilever and Mars, Inc. are Weber Shandwick clients.)

At Weber Shandwick, we are proud to support more than 150 client assignments focused on poverty, hunger, gender equality, economic development and more. Learn how we’re helping clients communicate action and impact on the Global Goals in this short video.

Nov 20

UN Global Goals: Investing in What Matters

Paul Massey

The recent United Nations General Assembly convened 193 member states and took an important step in approving new Global Goals for Sustainable Development, focused on critical areas: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.

This ambitious agenda for the next 15 years recognizes that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with efforts to build economic growth and address a range of social needs, including tackling climate change.

It’s an agenda that Weber Shandwick is energized to support – and has been supporting – in partnership with our clients. Weber Shandwick is proud to be supporting more than 150 client assignments focused on the 17 new Global Goals, spanning creative campaigns focused on poverty, hunger, gender equality, economic growth and more – some of which are featured in the short video below. 

In meeting these new goals, there is a powerful opportunity for leadership from the private sector – to bring financial resources, human capital and innovation to bear on complex social issues. We look forward to continuing to support organizations that will have a major impact on the success of the Global Goals in the decades to come.

Nov 3

How to Follow #BSR15

Emily Semmelman

Weber Shandwick is the global agency partner for the BSR Conference 2015: Resilient Business, Resilient World. Our Social Impact team will be sharing insights from the conference on this blog.


This week, members of our Social Impact team are in San Francisco attending the annual BSR Conference. This year's conference focuses on resilience and will explore how through innovation collaboration, businesses can position themselves to not only survive, but thrive, through fundamental change.


How to Follow Along

  1. Check Out the Storify: We’ll be weaving together the best tweets from the week so you can check out what’s happening at the conference in one stop. Check it out below or follow along here.

  2. Connect on Social: Our team will be sharing insights all week on Twitter @WSSocialImpact Join the conversation on our handle and #BSR15.

  3. Tune in to the Livestream: BSR will broadcast much of the conference, including plenary and I3 speakers and the Take10 and Collaboration in Action sessions. Visit the conference homepage to learn more.

We're proud to be a sponsor again this year, and to partner with BSR on its strategic communications work. We'll be sharing insights throughout the week, and if you are at #BSR15 be sure to look for Paul, Kate, Katy and Emily.




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Must-read social impact news, trends and insights. (Monthly)