How does diversity, equity and inclusion come to life behind the scenes at Healthline Media? We sat down with key internal leaders to find out. In this Q&A series, we’re peeling back the curtain to show how we’re walking the talk at every level of our business.
JESS SIMON, Chief People Officer
As Chief People Officer for RV Health, Jess is responsible for all aspects of the employee life cycle. Her team focuses on talent acquisition, HR business support, internal communications and people project management.
Can you explain the importance of DEI from a People perspective?
Having a diverse and representative workforce is critical to our business. It ensures that we’re producing content that resonates with the whole spectrum of consumers, which means we can reach more people and have a greater impact. But it also drives our company culture, and influences everything from our business partnerships to marketing campaigns.
Studies consistently show that diversity and representation leads to better decision-making, higher retention rates and greater business success. So it’s crucial that we, as a People team, always keep it top-of-mind.
What is the People team doing now to promote diversity and representation internally?
We are constantly looking for ways to increase representation at all levels of our company. From staffing to performance reviews, we want our processes to be equitable for everyone. So for our performance management processes, for example, we’re auditing the whole experience, removing biased language, and setting bias checks at each stage to ensure the process is open and fair.
We’re aiming for our BILAP (Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islanders) promotion rates to be equal to that of our white employees. We want to make sure we have representation amongst our key decision-makers. And all our leaders are completing unconscious bias training (an initiative that kicked off in partnership with Paradigm last fall).
We want all employees to feel supported in bringing our whole selves to work. And that includes our team members who are caretakers, and those who have to balance multiple external priorities. During the pandemic, we provided monthly, company-wide “recharge days” – when all our employees are offline. That way, no one feels singled out for needing extra time.
Our commitment to inclusion also shows up in our employee resource groups and our BILAP executive mentorship program. We have a multitude of employee resource groups that are offered to underrepresented groups and allies. These groups promote open and honest dialogue and provide opportunities for individuals to connect with senior leaders.
We also have an executive mentorship program that structures mentor/mentee relationships with underrepresented individuals and executives across Red Ventures. This program provides connections and fosters relationships to advance growth.
We have a lot of work to do to increase representation, and for it to succeed long-term, we need to ensure our systems are cultivating the right business outcomes, and not just checking a box. These types of practices are a great start, but we know it’s an ongoing process.
How does investing in our people strategy connect to the company’s broader mission?
Our people are our company. We are nothing without them. As a media organization, everything we do – from our sales executives to our editors – is done to help the people we serve take healthy actions. Ensuring that we have the right people, with the right skills, in the right roles is critical to our success.