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CultureNov 12, 2021

Credera Hosts the First Annual DE&I Summit

Rhea Horton

Credera’s Chief Diversity Officer Nickoria Johnson had a vision to bring together Credera partners, executive leaders, and representatives from all Credera practices and corporate teams, along with other diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) leaders to host a global DE&I dreaming and planning session. We, at Credera believe that creating an inclusive environment where everyone’s differences are celebrated results in an engaged, innovative, and empowered team - one that better represents and serves our clients and our surrounding communities. 

As stated in Credera's recent DEI&W report, our goal in our DE&I journey is to “have a clear sense of what we are doing well and where we need to improve [which] will better equip us to identify and address the needs of our people and our communities”. Thus, Johnson's goal was to highlight the many DE&I projects happening across the firm, share 2022 plans to make progress toward our DE&I goals, receive feedback from relevant stakeholders, and build a cohesive DE&I 2022 roadmap.  

Justin Bell, Credera's CEO, was excited about this vision, and thus began the planning of Credera’s first annual DE&I Summit.  

Credera’s First DE&I Summit

The DE&I Summit consisted of two days worth of sessions, exploring the topics of recruiting, training and development, global DE&I strategy, retention, marketing, and other DE&I strategic efforts. Over 45 Credera employees were invited to join us at the various sessions.

The opening general session focused on the importance of diversity in business and to Credera. Tony Hobley, Chief DE&I Officer at Omnicom Precision Marketing Group (OPMG is a collective of full-service agencies and consultancies that align digital, data, and customer relationship management capabilities to deliver precisely targeted and meaningful customer experiences at scale), shared DE&I efforts at the OPMG level, aiming to increase inclusion across all firms. Guest speaker Dr. Candice Bledsoe, Executive Director of Action Research Center and Southern Methodist University professor, presented the importance of diversity to business, the effects when diversity is lacking in business, the dangers of a single-story narrative, and how we can use metrics to measure DE&I.

DE&I Summit Session Summaries

Attendees were invited to attend sessions where they could contribute and provide the most impact, and were invited to attend additional sessions that may fit their interest and availability. Many of our attendees made the time to attend two or more sessions, including several senior-level executives.

A subset of the presentation materials from the DE&I Summit, outlining a few goals and the agenda of the summit.

Below describes the major takeaways from each session.

Recruiting for Campus Hires & Experienced Hires

We held separate sessions to deep dive into recruiting for campus hires and experienced hires. The Talent Acquisition team presented market data, walked through their current recruiting processes, shared recently implemented initiatives (e.g., Credera Unity Board, use of diversity screening tools, partnerships with local and national organizations), and shared challenges they are facing. 

This topic is so near and dear to all who were on the call and generated a lot of ideas for how to solve the challenge of increasing the number of diverse candidates at the beginning of the recruiting cycle and how to ensure fair and equal treatment throughout the interview process.

Learning & Development at Credera

The Learning & Development (L&D) team led their session by presenting a study from BCG on why consultants fall off the promotion track and discussed what we can do to better address these circumstances within Credera. The L&D team shared a number of their initiatives, such as a new learning management system, bringing in external DE&I training for the management team, and building programming to support career coaches and Credera staff. 

The L&D team is interested in programming to support the development of Credera staff who are entering without the traditional consulting background, investing in more external DE&I trainings, and developing a growth mindset among all Credera team members. 

Globalization of the Workforce

The session on globalization was spearheaded by Nickoria Johnson who presented concepts on how to begin creating a global DE&I strategy. She also shared what concepts may be better defined at the global level versus regional level or in collaboration across both groups. 

Justin Bell spoke about the importance of being culturally flexible to recognize when we may need to challenge our thoughts of another culture and be open to learn more. He shared that we should show respect of other cultures through adapting cultural norms in a way that feels authentic to your identity. 

Employee Retention

During our session on retention, we explored the current status and future goals of our established employee resource groups (ERGs) in the U.S. (i.e., Credera Women's Network, Open Pride Credera, and CredCOLOR). We heard from two groups who are formalizing into ERGs to support our Veterans community and those who are advocates of wellness and mental health. We discussed additional means of providing support to diverse populations, through a HBR study, that can have an impact on the African American, women, and LGBTQ+ communities.  

Finally, conversations ended by identifying potential groups who may need support and policies that may need to be updated in order to be more inclusive.  

Marketing Impacts

Our marketing team demonstrated their accomplishments this past year, including initiatives to expand diverse representation internally and externally, which better aligns with Credera's diversity makeup. They shared their ideas of expanding these efforts in 2022 along with a desire to collaborate more closely with the ERGs and the office of the chief diversity officer to aid in increasing their voices and highlighting DE&I wins and other pertinent topics.

Growing the DE&I Commitment

Our final session discussed additional topics that help to build our greater, strategic approach to developing an inclusive environment. Topics such as supplier diversity, including DE&I into the current career performance management (CPM) framework, strengthening DE&I metrics, and developing a new service offering were presented, along with next steps for implementation.

The Future of DE&I at Credera

We want to capitalize on the high level of engagement we experienced throughout the sessions, thus we are following up immediately with our respective teams. 

We are continuing to support efforts that advance our strategic goals, such as rolling out a new service offering focused on DE&I, refining our internal DE&I data and metrics, developing an approach to diversity suppliers and vendors, incorporating DE&I into our CPM Framework, and developing a comprehensive values statement to share with future clients for greater values alignment.

To learn more about DE&I initiatives at Credera and our DE&I leaders, visit us at Credera.com.

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