Nielsen Hosts First-Ever Black Employee Forum

The forum was designed to enrich Black employees' connection to the Nielsen Employee Experience.

Nielsen Hosts First-Ever Black Employee Forum

Nielsen (No. 41 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) recently held its first-ever Black Employee Forum in Atlanta, sponsored by Jamere Jackson, Nielsen's Chief Financial Officer, and Angela Talton, Chief Diversity Officer. Our Diversity and Inclusion team designed the two-day event to enrich our Black employees' connection to the Nielsen Employee Experience: Be Yourself, Make a Difference and Grow with Us.


By providing visibility, access and opportunity, this professional development opportunity sought to increase engagement and retention and empower associates to strengthen networks through access to senior leaders, cultural events and business strategy workshops. Although this forum was Nielsen's first cultural employee development and networking event, the design was based upon best practices used at other high-performing companies to build an internal culture that supports diversity and inclusion.

"As our CEO, Mitch Barns says, diversity and inclusion is crucial to Nielsen's growth, strength and ability to innovate. For that to be true, diversity and inclusion must be about more than having a seat and the table. It's about having a voice at the table," said Angela to kick off the event. "As we were designing the Forum, we knew it would be important for our black employees to feel valued by the organization and, even more than that, for them to understand that we want and need them to be at the Nielsen table and for their voices to be heard."

More than 200 U.S.-based associates, six clients, and more than 12 community partners gathered at the J.W. Marriott, Atlanta Buckhead (No. 9). During the two-day sessions, several top Nielsen executives joined Jamere and Angela to provide updates on key Nielsen initiatives and share their diversity and inclusion experiences. Two panels hosted during the forum provided attendees opportunities to hear about the different experiences senior leaders had within the organization and how we can all be empowered to learn, at any level.

Chief Human Resources Officer Mary Liz Finn hosted a "Grow With Us" discussion, and Angela (joined by Sara Erichson, EVP of Client Solutions, Audience Insights; Amilcar Perez, Managing Director, Tech/Telecom; and Karthik Rao, President, Expanded Verticals) lead a discussion on having a voice at the table.

The program also included an external panel showcasing how diversity in the workplace will ultimately create a stronger business. Representatives from UPS and Turner Broadcasting joined Gloria Cox, Nielsen's EVP, North America Buy, to explore how their companies have benefited from diversity and inclusion. Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns joined virtually, expressing his excitement about the event while underscoring the importance of diversity and inclusion as a key operating philosophy of Nielsen's overall strategy.

Additional sessions focused on the contributions of Black Americans: Bernard Kinsey discussed The Kinsey Collection, and the group visited the Center for Civil & Human Rights. As a responsible corporate citizen, Nielsen and was proud to support of the African-American community and award three scholarships during the program: one to The Ron Clark Academy, a highly-acclaimed, nonprofit middle school located in Southeast Atlanta, and two others to HBCU (Historically Black College and University) students at Morehouse College and Spelman College.

The philanthropic component of the event also featured a Nielsen Cares skills-based community outreach activity with high school students from Atlanta Cares and POSSE, an organization dedicated to providing college access and youth leadership development. Almost two dozen students were given a lesson in building their personal brand and their elevator pitch.

The Black Employee Forum was a pilot initiative, created to provide a template for future events to enrich other diverse groups within Nielsen in 2017 and beyond.

"'Be yourself, make a difference, grow with us' is more than just a clever tagline for Nielsen," said Jamere. "Providing visibility, access and opportunity to diverse employees is an investment. I'm proud to be a part of an organization that stands with me in that belief, and I look forward to being a part of future employee engagement events."

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The latest Total Consumer Report from Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN), which leverages the company's new Total Food View, shows that fresh categories within the U.S. are driving nearly 49% of all dollar growth across the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brick-and-mortar landscape. In fact, within the last year, fresh and perishable foods generated more than $177 billion in sales—marking a sizable growth opportunity for many FMCG marketers who may be operating with a siloed and non-holistic view of their market.

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Nielsen's Diverse Leadership Network Builds Momentum With Fifth Class And Business Impact Projects

"Each year we induct a new class to the DLN, we're strengthening our diverse pipeline for years to come," said Audrey Yi, VP, Diversity & Inclusion at Nielsen.

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We recently inducted the class of 2018 for our Diverse Leadership Network (DLN) in Chicago, marking our fifth class of the program. The DLN, a 15-month leadership development program, is our most diverse leadership program and provides opportunities for high-potential, mid-level leaders to learn from senior leaders within the company, collaborate among their peers, and apply their skills to practical business case studies.

The 2018 class includes 40 talented associates from the U.S., Canada and Mexico and across every function of our business. Participants met with their coaches for the first time during the orientation. DLN coaches are senior leaders who guide participants throughout the 15-month program and provide strategic guidance for non-DLN related experiences as well. Some of our more than 90 associates who are DLN alums spoke at this year's orientation event, sharing strategies and tips for optimizing time in the program and enjoying networking and learning from their fellow classmates.

"Each year we induct a new class to the DLN, we're strengthening our diverse pipeline for years to come," said Audrey Yi, VP, Diversity & Inclusion at Nielsen. "Our data from the past five years of DLN graduates shows that, upon graduation from the program, associates are expanding their leadership and influence in our company, as 93% of alumni are in a new or expanded role and 20% have reached the VP/general manager level. Representation of DLN graduates in leadership positions shows that we're committed to infusing diversity and inclusion into everything we do at Nielsen."

DLN graduates are expected to complete business impact projects that will provide process improvements and innovation for our business. That's why we also invited senior leaders to share the company's strategic priorities for FMCG/Retail, Total Audience, Gracenote and more. Participants will use the content of these presentations to guide their problem-solving process on business projects that will be assigned later in the program.

As part of the program's initiative to foster external relationships with clients and other brands, Eugene Campbell, Director, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability for Allstate and Co-Chair of our African-American Advisory Council, gave a keynote address during the orientation. Eugene spoke about the unique opportunity afforded to DLN participants, and how this class should utilize their coaches and other resources to aid in their leadership journey.

DLN IMPACT PROJECTS

Meanwhile, the DLN class of 2017 has continued their development in the program and recently completed four business impact projects that will be beneficial for many aspects of our company and our clients.

Development and Socialization of Multicultural Solutions

A team of DLN participants developed a strategy to both aggregate and socialize Nielsen's multicultural solutions with clients. The team created a multicultural solution roadmap, that points our client teams to the appropriate Nielsen product that helps our clients better reach multicultural consumers. They also created a task force that meets monthly to increase client awareness of our multicultural solutions. This project is essential to our business, because it shows our clients that we know the importance of multicultural consumers and are able to accurately measure their unique consumer preferences and behaviors.

Sales Engineering Process Improvement

Another DLN team created a streamlined process for our data to reach our clients. First, they engaged with both our sales engineers and client service teams to assess the areas where there were opportunities for increased efficiency. Then, the team developed a detailed responsibilities structure, which ensures that tasks are properly allocated and prioritized. The end result of this project is a better flow of information to our clients, which allows us to drive their business goals more efficiently.

Internal Cultural Adoption of Total Audience

A third team worked to socialize and evangelize our Total Audience system for internal associates. The group developed a strategy to both educate our employees and build their interest in our Total Audience measurement, which seeks to measure viewership across the many platforms available to consumers today. By creating this engagement, we ensure that our associates know the best way to incorporate Total Audience solutions into their client relationships and that our clients have access to our best audience measurement tools.

Experienced Hire Talent Assessment Model

Our final DLN team studied Nielsen's need for a way to assess prospective experienced candidates for Nielsen jobs. They helped Nielsen select Pymetrics, a talent assessment company that will use a candidate-friendly, AI-powered, bias-free set of games to assess a candidate's fit for a role.

"The DLN team was instrumental in helping us get to the talent behind what's next, by evaluating the marketplace for talent assessment solutions," said Chris Louie, SVP, People Analytics and Talent Assessment and sponsor of the DLN talent assessment project. "They leveraged their diverse set of experiences—different perspectives shaped by their current functional and geographic homes and their personal experiences as candidates. This provided unique perspectives on what a useful cross-Nielsen solution would look like. This project is a prime example of the superior results that diverse teams can produce when empowered to do so."