Emspace + Lovgren continually works to foster an inclusive environment, diversify our workforce and examine equity in our practices, not only because it’s good for our team, our clients and our business — it’s the right thing to do.
Our IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability) work group shapes plans and sets them in motion. The work group came together in 2021 and includes a few team members who have stepped up to steer the ship. Our larger IDEA advocates group helps the work group complete tasks and rallies the whole team.
Before we started drafting IDEA plans for 2023, we distributed our annual climate and demographics surveys among our team. These surveys give us valuable information about our team’s diversity, help us determine what areas of focus should be prioritized in the work plan and hold us accountable to improvement.
Infusing IDEA into our everyday practices is no small task. We carve out dedicated work time and internal funds to promote IDEA in our agency, in our client work and in our community. All of these 2023 tactics are a work in progress — if we’re not doing them yet, we will be throughout the year!
So far in 2023, our team has participated in an unconscious bias workshop and a Heartland 2050-facilitated workshop that explores the future of our region. Later this year, we will be hosting workshops that focus on difficult conversations and avoiding burnout.
There is a wealth of IDEA-related events in the Omaha metro. Our team shares event opportunities with each other (plus any other IDEA-related things we find, like articles, podcasts and resources) in a dedicated #IDEA Slack channel. Our work group regularly attends the Greater Omaha Chamber’s CODE employer coalition events, and our president attends CEOs for CODE meetings.
In addition to our internal surveys, our team will join other Omaha-area companies in taking the Chamber’s CODE assessment surveys.
Our entire team contributes to and uses our IDEA Resource Center, a document that includes lists for diverse vendors; IDEA-related content to watch, listen, read or follow; professional development opportunities; volunteer opportunities; and our annual work plan.
Each month, we host an “Inspire-Thirty” watch party, which has featured anything from documentaries to TV episodes to TED Talks that open our worldview. We also plan opportunities for team outings, like visiting the Great Plains Black History Museum (a client we’ve loved working with) and El Museo Latino.
IDEA is just as much about individual education as it is about examining our practices and policies. We are reviewing our hiring process to help reduce unconscious bias and ensure we’re reaching diverse candidates.
We know not every team member may feel comfortable advocating for themselves without detailed guidelines. We are examining our career advancement, salary and raise processes to more clearly define each for our team. We’ve also begun posting salary ranges with our open positions.
Our IDEA work group is committed to quarterly all-team check-ins, monthly IDEA advocates meetings and measuring our progress through our annual surveys. IDEA involvement is also measured in each team member’s job performance reviews.
We will be providing every current and new client with a document detailing the most up-to-date terminology for groups of people according to AP Style. We will review and update this document annually. Learn more about our use of the AP Stylebook.
Our clients depend on us to engage the public for a variety of projects. While we always strive to be sensitive to the needs of our audiences, we are formalizing inclusive decision making within our events checklist document to ensure all stakeholders are accommodated.
We love the vendors we work with, and we are always looking for opportunities to build more relationships. Our IDEA Resource Center features a new vendor list, curated with diversity in mind. We are also working to connect with vendors before we’re in the thick of a project, inviting them to present during our staff meetings or visiting their workspace to learn more about their services.
When we produce reports for our clients, we will inform them of how IDEA has intersected with our work when applicable.
For the past few years, our team members have received eight hours of PTO for volunteering. We evolved these hours into “community hours” to be used for a variety of community events. We regularly post about events in our #IDEA Slack channel and will soon have a dedicated bulletin board in the office to keep opportunities top of mind.
Prior to the pandemic, our Forge program introduced college students with the “real world” of communications, showing them that Omaha is a great place to grow their career. As we plan the future of this program, we will have a particular focus on supporting underrepresented groups. We are also always open to casual mentoring through coffee chats and office tours, so if you’re interested in our field of work, let’s connect!
At this point, you may be wondering “can I have access to your IDEA Resource Center?” Yes… soon! A public-facing version is in our plans.
As sponsorship opportunities arise throughout the year, we will be giving our dollars to organizations that show a commitment to IDEA.
We will post an annual blog detailing our team’s IDEA progress each year. The one you’re reading right now is just the beginning!