Many companies rely extensively on metrics to assess their business goals and determine new strategies. In the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I”) area, Comcast NBCUniversal has taken metrics to a new level of transparency, both in terms of its workforce and supplier diversity assessments, and in looking at the marketplace.
Notes Maria Arias, Vice President, Corporate Diversity & Inclusion, “The commitment to detailed metrics began when the D&I initiative ramped up with the acquisition of NBCUniversal, which closed in 2011.” Senior Executive Vice President David L. Cohen became the enterprise-wide Chief Diversity Officer, and “the company made a very public commitment to D&I.”
Initial metrics were modeled after those used by HACR (Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility), and covered traditional areas, such as representation in the workforce, supplier diversity, and community investment. “But to truly demonstrate our commitment, we wanted to measure our progress in the heart of our business: programming. We wanted to create a culture of inclusion, and become the model for D&I in corporate America,” Arias says.
Starting in 2012, Comcast NBCUniversal created an annual online D&I Report that included substantial content, including information on multicultural programming and on-air talent.
Today, the company focuses its D&I efforts on Workforce, Procurement, Programming, Accessibility, Community Investment and Governance. The 2017 D&I Report is a model of transparency, including:
The company is also transparent about its philanthropy to organizations led by, and serving, diverse communities, including efforts to bolster internet usage in low-income communities. In August 2017, the company announced a milestone of providing 4 million low-income Americans with internet access through its Internet Essentials program.
“Our commitment to diversity is not just the right thing to do, it’s also the right thing for our company. The world is different than it was 25 years ago. We will soon be a minority-majority population in the U.S., and the multiculturalism of Millennials has changed everything. We benefit greatly from the innovative and unique perspectives of our diverse employees, suppliers, and programs,” Arias says.
She highlights the increased emphasis on online demographics and in looking at programming and casting on television and in films. “When you look at areas like films for NBCUniversal, the release of ‘Girls Trip,’ which was the first film produced, written and starring African-Americans to break the $100 million box office mark, and other films like ‘The Best Man Holiday,’ which had great success in the African-American and general markets, these are smart business decisions. After African-American anchor Lester Holt took over ‘NBC Nightly News,’ it became the most-watched evening news program among 25-54 year olds. That’s just smart business.”
She also cites increased focus on accessibility initiatives for the disability community with devices such as the X1 Voice Remote and X1 Talking Guide. Comcast NBCUniversal’s diversity efforts extend to the LGBTQ and military communities as well.
“The success of our program is that we built the foundation. Then, we took a step back and we’ve partnered with the business to see what works. We share best practices and seek advice from our internal and external councils, and from partner organizations. And most importantly, we share the lessons learned,” she adds.
This case study is an excerpt from Diversity Best Practices’ upcoming publication, The D&I Strategist Playbook, your go-to guide to build and advance your organization’s D&I strategy. Each chapter will include:
Stay tuned for more details and how to order your copy of this exciting new resource!