Make / Change: A Strategy for Racial Equity in Creative Companies

Two months ago, we started breaking and remaking our culture to make R/GA a place in which everyone can succeed, regardless of race or ethnicity.

Rather than rushing to put out a series of arbitrary pledges, we wanted to understand the nature of our own problem, so we did what we would do for any strategic project. We listened; we researched; and we looked for opportunities and behaviors that would give us the best chance of success.

Finding #1: Most DEI plans look the same (and according to the data, they’re not working)

We looked at dozens of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plans across the technology, design and advertising sectors. What we found was a long list of companies falling on the same hurdles that we are.

Finding #2: We have to design for OUR culture.

It also struck us as unusual that the plans we reviewed came from different companies with famously different cultures, yet all contained the same actions. Why the cookie-cutter approach?

Finding #3: Our current Black employees are the most important stakeholders.

We’ve worked on a number of employer branding and recruiting initiatives for our clients, and the truth is as consistent as gravity:

Make / Change

Make / Change is a series of actions we will carry out on an ongoing basis, that allows for different groups and offices to take and adapt, that puts our current Black employees first, and that prioritizes action on behalf of the entire company, not just leadership or HR.

Make / Clear

Shine light on the problem. Keep listening.

Make / Right

Evolve our internal processes.

Make / Smart

Make anti-racist education and conversation a daily and visible practice.

Make / Work

Use our creativity to take the fight for racial equity outside of R/GA.

Make / Room

Mentor the next generation.

Make / Change @ R/GA: Phase One

Below are some specifics of the actions that are already underway at R/GA. However, the point is not to replicate these actions: it’s to find the ones that work for you.

  • Internal transparency around Pay Equity (for which we’re already audited) and how our incident investigation process works.
  • Quarterly publishing of our data.
  • Empathy training
  • #theintersection channel for discussion on issues of equality.
  • Leadership coaching on EDI.
  • Mandatory two-hour workshop on Allyship to the Black community for all US employees, created by Brandon, Elyse, Bria and Michael.
  • Commitment to Free The Work, an organization designed to bring more diverse creators into commercial creativity
  • The CDC (Creative Diversity Coalition): a team of diverse RGA employees formed to help stem the spread of stereotypes and bias in creative work.
  • Partnership with Verizon AdFellows to hire more up-and-coming talent
  • Sponsorship of two student places at the One School, The One Club’s curriculum for Black creatives

R/GA is a global innovation company. We design businesses and brands for a more human future.