Radio companies are focused on building an inclusive culture that will help them retain their best talent and drive innovation within their organization. A recent NAB Show Premiere session, which was produced in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation, examined some of the most recent trends and best practices for recruiting talent in order to build and maintain an inclusive and diverse company culture.
Watch the video for more insights on how to build a diverse and inclusive workplace here, and explore additional NAB Show Premiere sessions here.
Michelle Duke, Chief Diversity Officer and President, NAB Leadership Foundation at the National Association of Broadcasters, sat down with Ralph Renzi, VP & GM, Cox Media Group Miami, Michele Laven, Chief Diversity Officer, iHeart Media, and Kenneth Forte, President and Co-Owner, R&F Communications, Inc., to discuss how to increase innovation and retain talent by building an inclusive workplace.
The first step to building an inclusive and diverse workplace is defining what that culture looks like, the panelists agreed, noting that it was essential for companies to accurately reflect the diverse ethnicities and perspectives in the communities they serve. “Inclusive means that you’re representative of your community both from an employee standpoint and really, in a very important part, from a leadership standpoint,” Renzi said.
Diversity shouldn’t be limited to ethnicities, Laven cautioned, but also to thought, and an inclusive company should reflect a range of opinions and ideas. “At a local level, it’s important to have on-air personalities of all backgrounds, experiences and races because that reflects our community,” she said.
“Inclusive also means including people who may not think that there’s a problem,” Renzi added, noting that while some groups of people might be very close to issues of diversity and inclusion others may not perceive a need for them. “Educating, informing, and giving facts to both groups is important and very much part of an inclusive environment.”
Leadership is key to successfully building an inclusive workplace. “It must come from the top down,” Laven said. Leadership needs “to do a better job listening, ask better questions. It has to come from the top,” Renzi assented. “Being a leader means being an active learner, understanding things like confirmation bias and microaggressions.”
Another essential component is offering new hires a pathway to advancement. “The greatest thing that we can do to address inclusion and diversity is to develop internally our own pool of leaders,” Forte said. “Because it gives them the opportunity to learn our culture and understand how move around and how to move up in that culture.”
Outreach to local community organizations and colleges and universities needed to go beyond the typical job fair, the panelists also agreed, and ongoing and aggressive relationship building remains the best tactic for developing local talent. Intern programs also remain an invaluable tool for companies seeking to develop talent at the local level. “We are intentional about going and finding these students,” Forte said. “They may leave eventually but that’s okay because it allows me to re-cycle more and put them into the pipeline.”
Renzi also noted that there are five generations in today’s workplace. “We have to ensure that our leaders have all the tools to reach all the generations in the workforce,” he said.