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This guest blog has been written by Asif Sadiq MBE, SVP and Head of Equity and Inclusion at our member organisation, Warner Media. By sharing Warner’s inclusion journey, Asif gives us great insight and inspiration to empower colleagues to take action.

At Warner Media we believe the stories we tell must reflect and represent the vast and varied experience of our global audience. We take this responsibility very seriously and are committed to building a fair and inclusive culture where difference is celebrated across our workforce, our content and our communities. We are determined to make Warner Media one of the most equitable and inclusive workplaces in our industry and one where people feel they belong and are able to succeed.

We embrace the power of creativity to build awareness of otherwise hidden injustices and help facilitate change within communities. We are passionate about making a positive contribution to local creative economies and the skills base. We are focused on investing in local content production and embrace the power of our brands to amplify that content on the world stage.

To achieve this, we have positively disrupted the Equity and Inclusion space by looking beyond traditional DEI interventions and focusing on building sustainable efforts that impact long term change and create a true sense of belonging for all, through empowering all our people to create true inclusion.

Developing an inclusive culture

Our culture is defined by a commitment to and investment in equity and inclusion, as we believe by achieving this, we will create more diversity. We want all our employees and leaders to realise the contribution they can make to advancing equity and inclusion and provide a pathway toward getting more involved.

As we all work to build a culture of inclusion at Warner Media where all people thrive, we want to hear from our colleagues about their experiences. We want to offer colleagues a safe and supportive environment where they are encouraged to reflect, tell their stories, practice self-care and feel seen by their community.

To support these ambitions, all of us must have the skills to build and work with diverse teams, advance equity, and foster inclusion in every aspect of the ways we work.

Providing a safe space for difficult conversations

Over the summer of 2020, Warner Media launched our Listen. Understand. Act. initiative to help us recognise the needs of our workforce. What we heard was a desire to learn, to take action and to make deep, fundamental change happen.

The Inclusive Conversations: Dialogue is an opportunity for us to come together as a community and build our competency to engage in conversations around difficult, yet vital, topics. This interactive experience provides a safe space to dialogue and reflect on different areas of Diversity and Inclusion. Each month, in sessions led by professional facilitators, we gain insights while practicing how to lean into conversations on psychological safety, privilege, meritocracy, microaggressions and allyship.

We explore how to apply an equity lens in our daily life to identify barriers that can stand in the way of equity, understand how to begin to personally enable equity through intergroup interactions, and reflect on the role that we play in creating an inclusive culture, both inside and outside of Warner Media.

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Diverse group of office workers high fiving each other, laptops and takeaway coffee cups are on the table in front of them

Involvement from senior leaders

We have created an E&I Council which is composed of senior leaders from across Warner Media who are working to create an environment in which equity and inclusion are woven into the fabric of our culture so that everyone can achieve success, while being celebrated as our authentic selves and working towards creating a model for the industry to follow.

The council works closely with the Warner Media E&I team and engages all to create a culture of equity and inclusion that makes this the best place for diverse builders to innovate on behalf of our customers. They take thoughtful, bold and industry leading actions to build a company culture and workforce where no one feels their growth is intrinsically limited. They support us in creating transparency around E&I metrics and goals, develop scalable mechanisms for action and open multiple entry points for employees to have a voice.

To champion true change, we also believe it is everyone’s role to be an ambassador for E&I and this included all our leaders. We are creating learning journeys for our leaders to go on, so they are more confident around E&I conversations. We want them to be authentic and are not afraid to be honest or vulnerable in order to drive change.

A focus on long-term education

We also understand that for Equity and Inclusion learning to be effective, it has to be both long-lasting, encourage a change in behaviour and more importantly it has to be relevant to each and every team across our business, for it to add value and support our organisations ambitions. Therefore, to make our learning work we are embedding it as part of our employees’ career journey with us. We asked ourselves, what would work best for our environment, because just like everyone’s educational journey is different, so is every organisation’s journey. We have ensured that our staff have a choice of learnings available to them to support their learning towards inclusion.

Supporting our staff networks

At Warner Media, we believe everyone deserves authentic, meaningful connections and our employees have the power to make a difference. We believe diverse perspectives bring the world into focus and feel it is our mission to provide our internal employee groups the freedom, support and equitable opportunities to create lasting impact.

Our Business Resource Groups (BRG’s) are the heart of this mission. Led by employees based on shared pursuits, purpose, identities and interest. They are built on the foundation of developing careers, fostering culture, and driving connections, but in reality, they are much more. They are us. Communities where all are welcome and encouraged to participate.

Our groups at Warner Media are unlike anywhere else. We have created the scale, platforms and the resources for their voices to truly have an impact and believe that with amplification, we can play a critical role- defining the future of media. With access across our company, membership in a BRG allows members to transcend daily roles and become a part of something larger- An inclusive incubator of great ideas with the power to resonate.

Designed to propel our leaders to the next level, our groups drive business through recruitment, retention and audience wide engagement and ultimately work to increase our collective empathy for the communities that comprise us and compose the world we live in. With distinct cohorts, mirroring our people, families, communities, nations and world our groups are storytellers and stories told well have the power to move people in lasting ways.

Find out how you can empower your employees to take action during NIW and beyond with your Daily Action guide in the National Inclusion Week Toolkit (don’t forget to register or log in to access the toolkit).

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