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Addressing inequity and the lack of inclusivity in the workplace

 

The Client

 

CJAM Consulting, LLC is a New York-based firm committed to arts, cultural and justice institutions that foreground communities of color, honor legacy and contribute to economic vitality. Combining decades of leadership and consulting experience, CJAM takes pride in providing clients with guidance and expertise on institutional development, strategic and business planning, and managing the implementation of staff and executive transitions.

The Challenge

 

As recent social movements have demonstrated in clear and vocal fashion, there are no excuses for organizations that fail to address inequity and lack of inclusivity in the workplace. All individuals must know they are heard, considered and respected in their professional lives. In response to these demands across the arts and culture sector, a renowned documentary filmmaking nonprofit hired CJAM to advise their board and leadership on how to meet best-practice standards in their approaches to equitable hiring, human resources protocols and cultural competence, and representation in the workplace.

 

CJAM undertook to develop an operations assessment and equitable practices program that addressed gaps in organization-wide diversity, equity and inclusivity (DE&I) processes. To adopt a balanced and comprehensive service approach, CJAM engaged NCAP to craft internal and field research tools. Specifically, our team looked into ways to both offer a background review of hiring and compensation standards in the relevant industries and obtain measurable input from the organization’s employees regarding the sensitive DE&I issues under review.

Image by Jakob Owens

Service Types

 

Foundational Research -and- Needs Assessment 

The Task

  • NCAP looked to undertake foundational employment research on nonprofit arts and filmmaking industries as well as collect insights and input from staff at the evaluated organization.

  • To achieve this end, our team arrived at a two-part solution: 1). compare available data on employment and compensation rates across U.S-based nonprofit arts and filmmaking organizations and 2). design and send a custom survey to the evaluated nonprofit’s employees to gather anonymous responses about perceptions of organizational priorities and reactions to workplace practices.

Our Approach

Landscape Research Focused on Hiring Demographic and Compensation Data

Our team looked to provide CJAM with the proper industry-wide hiring and compensation data to contextualize their larger evaluation of the filmmaking organization’s objective to strengthen their DE&I objectives and practices.

 

Culminating in a 15-page brief, our findings were structured into three main areas of focus: 1). employment and compensation rates in the nonprofit sector and arts + entertainment industry; 2). diversity rates in the arts + entertainment sector and documentary filmmaking industry; and, finally, 3). snapshot review of DE&I hiring and human resources best practices.

 

Drawing first from official government sources for employment and labor statistics, the compiled data framed the state of nonprofit employment overall, examined wage variances across different geographic regions and detailed compensation trends characterizing 501(c)(3) arts and entertainment organizations operating within the U.S. context.

The additional data extracts in the brief were taken from a series of reports surveying nonprofit organizations across the country. Our team honed in on how compensation policies, along with salary increase criteria and rates of increase, partly illuminate payroll strategies and employee advancement standards at U.S. nonprofit arts and entertainment organizations.

In addition to the data pulled from these referenced sources, we excerpted from studies focused on examining the current state and shifts in the documentary filmmaking profession.

We developed a summary of recommendations for DE&I hiring best practices. These recommendations were meant to serve as a ‘first step’ for registering improvements to hiring and HR processes and practices and establishing greater equity within an organization such as the documentary filmmaking nonprofit under evaluation.

Design, Development and Administration of Employee Survey

 

Following up on background research, and initial conversations with CJAM based on their engagement with the organization under evaluation, we designed a 29-question employment survey for deployment via email. Areas of inquiry included: 

  • Demographic information for the respondent, including a write-in box for self-described gender, race and ethnicity identification; 

  • Degree of equity, diversity and inclusivity achieved through hiring practices and protocol;

  • Review of human resources processes as related to respect for a diverse and inclusive employee population;

  • Perceptions and experience of workplace culture and interpersonal dynamics, particularly in regard to accepted best practices for how to balance the needs of diverse employee population;

  • Stated organizational mission and values versus daily work experiences and observations of operations in practice;

  • Relationship between staff, leadership and board of directors;

  • Compensation by income range in relation to reported employee position;

  • Impact of COVID-19 on human resources protocol and workplace dynamics;

  • Prompts for providing input on the most pressing organizational requirements in order to ensure the American Documentary hiring activities and work environment meet the needs of a diverse employee population.

Image by Jakob Owens

Findings

 

Landscape Research

  • Nonprofits represent 10 percent of all employment in the United States, with around 300,000 501(c)(3) organizations. Among nonprofits, 15 percent are in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

 

  • The annual average wage at nonprofits is close to $39,000, which the evidence suggests is not at a disadvantage with the for-profit sector. Nonprofit organizations also offer more benefits on average than their for-profit counterparts.

 

  • Blacks and African Americans make up only 10.5 percent of the arts and entertainment industry.

 

  • More women are joining documentary filmmaking and are more likely to be women of color. For respondents to the study on The State of the Documentary Field, 62 percent of women who have entered the industry within the last 15 years are women of color.

 

  • According to Nonprofit HR’s data, only 52 percent of nonprofits have formal diversity, equity and inclusivity (DE&I) policies or practices in place for hiring.

 

  • When it comes to increasing diversity, equity and inclusivity (DE&I), nonprofits must turn their attention to how they’re hiring. This includes disclosing salary ranges for job postings and emphasizing experience as much as education.

Survey Takeaways

  • Respondents detailed their feelings concerning if they had been “provided adequate opportunity within their organization to openly discuss and process U.S. events related to recent tragedies which have gained widespread attention and led to a national reckoning around structural racism and social justice activism?.” Elaborated write-in answers offered commentary and ideas for further discussion, as well as identified possibilities for future organizational action.

 

  • The survey additionally yielded useful score-based rankings and expanded qualitative input on strategic planning priorities and staff perceptions of organizational direction and policies. 

 

  • When asked about “types of support and resources you think would prove most useful during the COVID-19 crisis going forward,” respondents offered opinions across a series of questions that can assist the organization in determining how to balance providing fair and equitable support resources during the pandemic while preserving market viability in an increasingly competitive mediasphere.

Summary

  • The team partnership between our consultation firms provided expert one-on-one leadership consultation and customized contextual research paired with score-based audience (employee) survey data collection.

  • To begin understanding a given industry’s hiring and broader economic dynamics, it is essential to draw from a wide range of informational sources, which includes national databases and independent studies for more nuanced profiles on specific industries across both the for-profit and nonprofit dimensions of the U.S economy. 

  • In order to productively address Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DE&I) issues and standards at an organization, any credible research endeavor requires an initial and honest inquiry into staff and employee experience. This engagement should include both open discussion with those evaluated as well as a means to collect anonymous responses to ensure integrity in the gathered quantitative and qualitative data

Image by Jakob Owens