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In the fight against racial and social inequalities, words matter—but only if they’re followed by listening to those affected and, ultimately, actions. Today, we all must act, decisively and without hesitation.

At Nielsen Global Connect, we are not afraid to take responsibility and drive change, be it through the products we launch, the insights we provide to clients or the corporate principles that define who we are. We embrace diversity and inclusion (D&I) as a key imperative of our corporate identity. And we’re taking actionable steps to make sure we reinforce our commitment, build on our progress and leverage the unmatched depth and breadth of our understanding of consumers. 

SUPPORTING BLACK COMMUNITIES

With this backdrop, our CEO David Rawlinson has joined the Black Leaders Network and signed the Anti-racism Pledge for CEOs from the National Coalition for Racial Justice & Equity (NCRJE).

The recent Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted social and economic inequalities faced by Black communities, as well as people of underserved ethnicities, those with disabilities and women, not only in the U.S. but around the world. This has triggered many individuals and businesses to commit to reducing inequality in employment, financial and development opportunities for Black people. In fact, the Nielsen Foundation, a private foundation originally funded by Nielsen, is contributing $1 million over the next three years to support U.S. Black-owned small businesses impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns and recent social unrest. 

The Black Lives Matter movement also fueled the June 2020 launches of the nonprofit Black Leaders Network, founded to drive Black inclusion and challenge inequalities within communities and working environments, and the National Coalition for Racial Justice & Equity, an initiative of the National Diversity Council that aims to advance racial equity for all to achieve social justice. We realize that we cannot change the world on our own, but we do have the power to change our company and take the next step in our thousand-mile journey. 

“I say repeatedly that the world can be a better place because we exist. We have the power, platform, talent and ability to make real differences in the world—and we’re going to not only do our part but also do better. We have a lot of work to do internally to make sure that Black associates are well represented, well valued and well heard, and we will also seek to make an impact on the wider world as well. This is a good step on that continuing journey,” said David Rawlinson. 

Joining the Black Leaders Network and signing the Anti-racism Pledge for CEOs does not come out of the blue; these actions represent the latest steps in our D&I journey that began in 2006, when we launched our first employee resource group (ERG). Corresponding with the stances of the pledges, we commit to specific action in several core directions: prioritizing D&I—and specifically race and ethnicity—as strategic agenda items at board meetings, cultivating leadership and management ownership of the D&I progress, enacting a clear action plan, ensuring accountability and enforcing KPIs for Black inclusion at various management and leadership levels. 

EMBEDDING D&I INTO OUR DNA

These recent commitments align with and build upon systematic efforts already in place at the company. We have enacted diverse slates, secured sponsorship of all ERGs by the company’s Executive Committee Members and launched an allyship ecosystem with more than 60 local inclusion impact teams at 80-plus Nielsen offices all around the globe. Associates’ efforts toward building a more inclusive culture are encouraged and regularly evaluated as part of performance reviews, and the role of D&I leader at Nielsen Global Connect has recently been expanded to include ownership over all talent, diversity and culture outcomes, making it an essential part of key business processes. 

“We added a D&I lens to our engagement, people processes and assessments, as we want to ensure we have a workplace where everyone feels included. We strive to honor our responsibility to lead by example: In the company’s new global leadership team, 69% of executives are women and/or ethnically diverse,” commented Michael Alicea, Chief People Officer, Nielsen Global Connect.

Nielsen’s efforts in D&I have already been recognized by key industry organizations, with the company being named No. 20 on the 2020 DiversityInc Top 50 and earning a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), as well as being recognized as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” for the seventh consecutive year in 2020, to name a few.