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“This is not a trend – it’s essential for organisations to thrive for the future”

ViacomCBS’ Wincie Knight on why all businesses should be implementing diversity and inclusivity strategies.

Last summer saw ViacomCBS Networks UK reveal a series of new measures to strengthen its diversity and inclusion drive in the territory, accelerating diverse representation on-screen, off-screen and within its organisation.

Putting transparency and accountability at the heart of a reinvigorated inclusion strategy, the company has introduced a range of new initiatives. These include implementing a ‘no diversity, no commission’ content policy for suppliers; creating a new ‘Promotion Opportunity Project’ which will identify and support the promotion of BAME talent in the UK production sector; embedding inclusion into its strategy and leadership decisions with the creation of an Inclusion Board allying its senior leadership team with its Employee Resource Groups; plus creating a BAME Talent Sponsorship Programme, which will pair senior leaders with diverse talent.

“We’re making sure that inclusion is at the heart of our organisation and ingrained in our DNA,” Wincie Knight, vp global inclusion strategy at ViacomCBS explains. “We’re embedding diversity in everything we do as a company, creating policies and having conversations at the right level and really making sure that all our suppliers know our mandate and holding them to account.”

Wincie believes that businesses should all be implementing diversity and inclusivity strategies, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do. “There is so much evidence which highlights how diversity and inclusivity breeds creativity and innovation – why wouldn’t you want your business to be more creative?” she asks. “You need to keep your mind open… if you get it right, it makes organisations sustainable and appealing to a diverse audience and consumers. This isn’t a trend, it’s essential for organisations to thrive for the future.”

Wincie says that getting started is as simple as sitting down with your team and beginning the conversation. “Think about a strategy… how can diversity and inclusion be ingrained within it, what it means for your business and the benefits it will bring,” she says. “Open up your eyes. Who are you not appealing to? Just think about that and be open to more ideas of diversity and inclusion within your team and the products you are trying to sell. But do it authentically and with the right intent – think of it as how can it help your business rather than it being an add on.”

Wincie sums up by saying: “We’re on a journey and our main objective is togetherness, with all of us achieving our set goal, working in a way that makes everyone feel like they belong. It’s about creating content and products that make people feel they’re part of something – inclusion is about the feeling.”

This feature originally appeared in the spring 2021 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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