Discover the tactics that will open up the discussion and effect change at your organization | DMA

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Discover the tactics that will open up the discussion and effect change at your organization

This article originally appeared in Fortune’s Leadership Insiders column, authored by Elise James DeCruise, VP, New Marketing Institute at MediaMath. Edited by Lauren Jones.
I lead a diverse, global team of 29 people in 16 different countries. This brings me face-to-face with the importance of open dialogue about equality in the workplace. Here are a few tactics that will open up the discussion and effect change at your organization:
Create equal opportunities
Remember that diversity and equality mean different things. Diversity is recognizing and embracing our differences at work and in society. Equality refers to fairness and equal treatment, where everyone has the same opportunities.
Unless all staff have equal opportunities for development, career pathing and access to resources, you’re not fostering equality. You may be ticking the diversity box on paper, but you must also nurture and empower each person's potential.
Effect organizational change
Organizational change efforts fail through a lack of institutional buy-in. Build relationships in advance and show a strong track record. You are then more likely to get support when making changes.
When I joined MediaMath in 2012, I made it my mission to foster a strong relationship with our CEO. I was building a comprehensive training program for employees, clients, and partners. One that honored differences in gender, culture, and career background. This was a first for the company. By sparking regular communication, building trust and showing commitment, I made the CEO my biggest champion. He was instrumental in helping me nurture the New Marketing Institute (NMI) into the global unit it is today.
Show your executive sponsors that being an equal workplace brings value, innovation and unique perspectives.
Start equality programs
Equality-based initiatives foster and promote teamwork, compassion, inclusion and respect. In 2014, NMI created the Marketing Engineer Program (MEP). MEP provides training and career opportunities for individuals, regardless of background, gender, ethnicity or race.
Consider internal initiatives such as;
  • A high-performance program for talented employees of female or minority backgrounds.
  • Connect women in leadership roles to younger female employees for mentorship.
  • Hold on-site training and team summits at times that accommodate working parents.
Meet each person where they are
We can’t approach equality with a broad brush. For instance, 55% of women without children turn down promotions, as do 58% of working mothers. Those numbers are pretty close. This goes beyond gender and parenthood to the very heart of what we expect out of leaders today.
At NMI, we talk about “meeting the learner where they are.” This means understanding each person’s needs and motivations based on their situation.
Ask yourself;
  • Do employees in other regions have access to the same resources in their native languages?
  • Can employees access opportunities in a way that is relevant to their background?
  • Is everyone in every office onboarded in the same way?
  • Does everyone, from junior to C-suite, have access to professional development that fits their career phase?
How do we “meet the learner where they are” at NMI? By offering localized content, online and in-person courses at different levels to meet specific areas of expertise. We nurture a culture of information-sharing ensuring resources and learning opportunities for all.
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