Warner Bros. Discovery's approach to I&D as a global organisation

Warner Bros. Discovery’s approach to I&D as a global organisation

Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Asif Sadiq MBE, talks about Warner Bros. Discovery's approach to inclusion as a global organisation for Global Inclusion Week 2023.

I’m pleased to join you in celebrating Global Inclusion Week with Inclusive Employers. What a fitting and exciting way to launch our inaugural partnership in recognising this important initiative. The 12th – 16th of June should prove to be an informative and engaging few days in which we can actively deepen our understanding of how best to activate DEI. As a main sponsor, Warner Bros. Discovery is excited to have this opportunity to further illustrate our global commitment to the practice of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI).

Global Inclusion Week 2023, 12 - 16 June 2023. Sponsored by Warner Bros. Discovery.

Why Warner Bros. Discovery is taking part in Global Inclusion Week

When thinking about crafting a road map for advancing DEI at Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), we start with a vision that is rooted in power – leveraging the might of our company by empowering our workforce and creatives. We then carve a path for that vision with a mission to create a culture of equity and inclusion that yields belonging and understanding. This combination allows us to lean into and utilise our power as one of the industry’s leading media companies to enable our workforce and storytellers to help shape the most inclusive and equitable global society for all.

This manifests specifically in how we operate internally as colleagues and externally as content creators. Internally, we need to ensure that our internal processes are equitable, fostering a culture of inclusion, equity, and belonging where people can be themselves and operate at their best.  Externally, we take our responsibility as a media company seriously. The content we create and the stories we tell are an important forum for elevating underrepresented groups and minorities and reaching our diverse audiences around the globe.

Considering our aspirations, we believe in equipping our leaders with learning and information to advocate inclusion and champion DEI in partnership across the enterprise. Currently, that effort is reflected in our planned baseline DEI training for all staff to level-set understanding across the entire company and our commitment to a 12-month inclusive leadership journey for our senior leaders, illustrating commitment from the very top of the value chain. Moreover, integrating the work across all business units allows us to create shared ownership of DEI more easily and to establish quality sustainable efforts versus random acts of diversity.

How Warner Bros. Discovery is taking part in Global Inclusion Week

That said, at Warner Bros. Discovery, we believe in first establishing principles that serve as guideposts in support of our immediate and long-term DEI investment. The first, Intentional Inclusivity, emphasises how we need the support of everyone across the business to build a culture of belonging and to truly embrace diversity and purposeful inclusivity. An example in this direction includes our upcoming #BeCounted Campaign intended to capture global DEI data for the first time in the company’s history and establish WBD as one of the first companies to do so globally.

The second is the Pursuit of Equity in which our commitment to equity is reflected in the evaluation and evolution of policies, processes, and systems, with an eye toward accelerating and sustaining DEI progress across the employee lifecycle, from recruitment and retention to progression and recognition. As a result, we are employing a baseline e-learning program made available to all employees to provide a convenient and psychologically safe environment in which to learn and self-inform on all matters DEI.

The third principle involves Authentic Storytelling and Inclusive Productions. We know to achieve success; it must be applied in both the diversity of who makes our content and the multiplicity of what our viewers see on screen. Thus, we’re launching a WBD Inclusive Storytelling Guide which will be an open-source digital hub for DEI resources, available to our internal creatives and our creative partners. The site will provide access to information that will facilitate a proactive approach to content inclusion.

Why Warner Bros. Discovery believes Global Inclusion must be part of our daily actions

It is important that we are grounded in these philosophical and aspirational pillars, but it is also essential that DEI shows up in our daily work lives. Drilling down, that duty is recognised by the establishment of Creative and Business Councils comprised of top leadership who will meet quarterly to review DEI efforts by business units across the enterprise. Likewise, keeping our attention on long-term sustainable change that drives impact is essential to our success.

We will continue to leverage the breadth of our content platforms to reflect the diversity of audiences we entertain and the continuation and commitment to our pipeline development programs for underrepresented creatives is a critical way to ensure we have multiple points of access to and with the creative community.

In our workforce, one way we’ll win is to capture and have an impact on the employee lifecycle – from attraction to recruitment, retainment, development, and progression. Empowering employees to have ownership of and partnership in the company’s DEI journey is critical to our transparency and accountability and an important part of how we advance DEI. This philosophy is best represented by the power of our Business Resource Groups (BRGs). Integrated into one global framework and structure, we leverage the BRG membership to build community, drive authentic inclusion, develop leadership capabilities, and engage employees worldwide.

Inclusion is the same everywhere

Ultimately, we know that the type of change we seek to make is not a short-term opportunity. We are strategically crafting efforts and actions that will endure. To that end, participation in events like Global Inclusion Week is a critical part of the ongoing journey that leads to the influence that results in sustainable impact. Moreover, we’re proud to work with our leadership, employee base, and key external partners to shape and define that DEI journey so that it is an integral part of our DNA.

Finally, diversity in any organisation cannot be driven by one person or even a team. We need every single person to understand their role and responsibility around diversity, equity, and inclusion and how they can drive DEI from their position. As we seek to position WBD as a global DEI industry leader, we incorporate all constituents in emphasising our guiding principle of championing inclusion as we believe diversity is different wherever you go, but inclusion is the same everywhere.

Thank you for reading…

For more information and registration, please visit the Global Inclusion Week registration page.