Opinion

In Conversation with Jennifer Warren at Indeed

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MediaCom Global CEO, Nick Lawson, speaks to Jennifer Warren, Indeed’s VP, Global Brand Marketing, about the company’s efforts on D&I.

Nick Lawson: Good to speak to you, Jennifer, and thanks for your time. I know diversity and inclusion (D&I) is as important to you and it is to us at MediaCom, so can you kick off by telling us a bit about what your organisation is doing in this space please?

Jennifer Warren: Sure. Indeed is a mission-driven brand. We help ALL people get jobs, and every decision we make is through that lens. We are here to help everyone, and especially those that need it most. D&I is therefore naturally a core value of ours, and we work hard to reflect that internally and in our external communications. It’s our job to make sure we are helping build a better world of work and that applies to everyone.

Nick Lawson: Brilliant – it’s such an important mission and we applaud the work you’re doing. Can you tell us a bit about how the pandemic impacted your approach to D&I? Clearly it had a huge impact on what you’re aiming to achieve…

Jennifer Warren: Millions have lost jobs throughout the pandemic, experienced burnout, and been impacted by social justice issues. This caused us to really double down to focus on our mission and ask ourselves “how can we best help put the world back to work during this pivotal moment?”.

One of the things we heard early on from job seekers was that they had lost hope, and they felt like no jobs existed. So, we wanted to provide optimism and inspiration to let them know that we could be a resource for them every step of the way. This was the goal behind our new brand campaign that we launched during the SuperBowl. To be authentic in our message, most of the people in the ad were real job seekers who had found jobs during this time and we wanted to reflect that it was their inner strengths that got them the job. We also took to social media during the game to highlight companies that were hiring right now and encouraged them to apply.

Nick Lawson: It really is an incredible campaign and I’m not surprised by how successful it’s been. Have there been any more campaigns that focus on the desire to help?

Jennifer Warren: Yes, there has. This SuperBowl campaign led to the development of a second campaign called Empathy at Work, which supports people who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. For example, 5.3 million women in the US lost or left their jobs last year. So, during women’s history month, we wanted to raise awareness to the world that Work Needs Women. Just this month, we launched an effort in support of Pride, where we celebrated allyship and showed support to the LGBTQ+ community. We went to great lengths to maintain authentic choices throughout the ad, including our selection of our principal talent. We worked closely with River Gallo (who also uses they/them pronouns) on several key details, like the wardrobe choices that these people would actually wear in an interview. We have plans in place for the remainder of the year to continue the messaging.

Nick Lawson: This all comes back to something I’m very passionate about, which is authenticity. How do you ensure your strategy is reflective of that?

Jennifer Warren: You always have to think back to your core mission and values which ensures you bring an authentic voice.

We have a diversity, inclusion, and belonging team that we see as our creative partners, and we make sure to have diverse representation at every step of the development and execution process - both behind and in front of the camera.

A great example of that is Rising Voices - we launched a creative call last year to invest in and share stories created by Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) filmmakers, with the idea that talent is universal, but opportunity is not, and we know that diversity and representation is a problem in the film industry. We partnered with actor and writer Lena Waithe, and her company Hillman Grad productions, to invest one million dollars for 10 filmmakers to create work and uncover the next generation of directors.

Nick Lawson: Looking back then, what are lessons you have learnt throughout the process?

Jennifer Warren: First, you can’t let your fear of getting the message wrong get in the way of taking the first steps. Because its core to who we are, we’ve been on this journey for a while now and have made some mistakes along the way. But those mistakes have created great learning, and completely changed the way we approach campaign development. We have made last minute changes to campaigns, when we waited to get a diverse set of feedback. We’ve learnt the importance of working with diverse groups to reinforce the integrity of our messaging and have implemented an integrated creative process with both our DI&B team and our Inclusion Resource Groups at Indeed to ensure our message is delivered clear and appropriately.

Nick Lawson: I think that’s a really great message about feedback and being brave. To end on, what excites you about the future for Indeed regarding D&I and in general too?

Jennifer Warren: Access to economic opportunity is truly life changing. We know that talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. So, we recently announced one of our Environmental Sustainability Goals goals is to help 30 million people who face barriers find employment by 2030, which is aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Barriers include ethnicity, disability, age, criminal record, and education level and the long term unemployed. As the world’s number one job site, we feel we have the ability and the responsibility to help tackle unemployment. The initiative today includes help through the Indeed online job-search platform, and through partnerships such as Goodwill Industries and Shaw Trust with whom Indeed collaborates. We know this will grow over time. It’s exciting to be a part of a company with big goals like this, and that is making a real difference in the world.

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