Building Better: An Update on DEI at BCG Digital Ventures in the U.S.
Diversity in the workforce is both a moral imperative and a competitive advantage.
Amid a groundswell against long-standing racial and gender-based disparities, individuals across the U.S. are rising up to demand an end to systemic inequality.
And corporations have a critical role in building equitable economies. At BCG Digital Ventures, we understand our role in being agents of social change — and we take that responsibility seriously.
Diversity in the workforce is both a moral imperative and a competitive advantage, and we know we are strengthened by a workforce that embodies diversity in all its forms. Embracing perspectives from all walks of life — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation — leads to diversity in thinking and unlocks innovation.
What makes us different, is what makes us great.
Our goal is to facilitate a sense of inclusion and belonging. We aim to create an environment representative of the world we live in where all employees — but particularly those historically at the margins of society — can unapologetically bring their authentic selves to the workplace.
So, as we move towards building a more authentic future, we believe it’s vitally important to be transparent about our company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) journey. We strive towards increased transparency for the sake of our employees — both current and future, the communities we serve, and our clients.
Our commitment to DEI
In 2020, our team made commitments that specifically focused on racial and gender equity. These commitments, and their associated targets, remain top of mind. By monitoring, analyzing, and publishing DEI data, we can take productive steps to advance underrepresented groups within our employee population. After all, words without action are meaningless.
Overall, we’re making steady progress towards our vision for a more diverse workforce. Our targets included increasing the representation of Black and female employees in the U.S., and ensuring we move towards retention and advancement parity. To maintain transparency and accountability, we’d like to share our progress with you.
Increasing Black employee representation
Our goal is to increase the proportion of Black and African American employees to 11%. Today, Black employees constitute 7.9% of our U.S. workforce — up from 5.9% in 2019. While we’re pleased that our progress over the four years we’ve been tracking this metric indicates we’re moving in a positive direction, we recognize that we still have improvements to make in this area.
“Work remains, but I’m encouraged by the energy BCGDV has invested to better attract and retain Black talent,” says Jordan Syms (he/him), Lead Growth Architect at BCGDV. “BCGDV has partnered with the National Black MBA Association for programming and recruitment events, for example, alongside working with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to source Black applicants. We’ve also instituted bias training and pair staff with leadership mentors for career guidance and support.”
Our efforts to improve representation also include participating in MLT’s Black Equity at Work certification. We have a three year plan to reach certification. This plan helps us make meaningful progress toward Black equity, using a common standard as our guiding light.
Another of our aims is to increase Black representation at the senior leadership levels of Managing Director and Partner (MDP) and Partner and Vice President (PVP). While we’ve met our target by adding two Black senior leaders to our team — we know it’s imperative to continue increasing the level of Black representation within our leadership ranks.
Increasing female representation
Today, 50% of BCGDV’s workforce is female. And while this is great progress, we also seek to specifically address gender equity at the senior leadership level. In 2020, we set a goal to increase the number of women at the senior leadership levels of MDP and PVP to six. We are halfway to our goal with three female Managing Directors and Partners, and are working to increase this representation over the coming months and years.
“I’m proud of the progress we have made over the years that make DEI a core pillar in all of our processes,” says Madison Dakovich (she/her), People & Talent Lead, NAMR at BCGDV. “BCGDV has implemented equity checks across all of our systems — from evaluating promotion and rating parity as part of our bi-annual performance process to consistently auditing pay equity. As a result of these equity checks, we’ve been able to make recommendations for what we need to improve, such as increasing our female population at the leadership level or making shifts to salary to ensure parity.”
Ensuring retention and advancement parity
To ensure parity of retention and advancement for all our employees, we now actively monitor the promotions made during each performance cycle. We’ve also launched a range of People and Talent programs and initiatives designed to provide professional support to underrepresented employees.
BCG Digital Ventures supports six employee resource groups (ERGs) designed for historically disenfranchised groups or communities that share similar backgrounds, identities, or other characteristics. These employee-led networks include:
- Asian Pacific Network (APN)
- Black Employee Network (BEN)
The goal of each ERG is to help its members build community while also advocating for their interests, supporting recruitment efforts, and championing career development and advancement. These groups also provide a platform for education, advocacy, and celebration.
“BCGDV has put words into action to support retention and advancement parity, from holding listening sessions to unpack the various factors that might lead to higher-than-average exits to pioneering a champion program that ensures the voices of our ERG membership are given a platform,” says David Tang-Quan (he/him), Senior Venture Architect at BCGDV. “ERGs, for example, serve a dual role of community and affiliation for identifying members of a population, while also providing a space of learning and knowledge-sharing with allies. We’ve found ERGs are an essential component for ensuring retention because of both the informal mentorship program, as well as the opportunity to connect with others at the company who have blazed a path in similar ways.”
In addition, our Champion Program is dedicated to growing our Black, Latinx, Asian women, and LGBTQ+ talent by creating a better sense of belonging at BCG Digital Ventures. Our Managing Directors and Partners act as Champions and Championees who meet with employees at least once a month to discuss topics like career planning, networking, skill building, and more.
Building a better future for all
As part of BCG’s internal Racial Equity Engagement Series, we recently sat down with BCGDV founding team member, Kevin Bethune. As a Black man in corporate America, he says, “I know how it felt — within certain teams in my career — to be the ‘other’ in the room, to be a marginalized voice not taken seriously. Unfortunately, I think we all probably have experienced teams or companies in our career where people were okay with the status quo, the blind spots, and the biases remaining. But if the last 24 months have shown us anything, it’s that we have to ensure our future teams are prepared.”
And at BCGDV, we are never satisfied with the status quo or content to leave things as they are.
While we’re proud of the progress we’ve made towards our DEI objectives in the U.S. over the last two years , we also recognize we have more work to do to meet our ideals as an organization and fully represent the rich diversity of our nation. Sharing our goals and progress holds us accountable as an organization as we strive to build a better, more equitable future.
“We have made a lot of progress on our DEI initiatives, but we still have a ways to go and this work is never really ‘done,’” says David Trumpey (he/him), Partner and VP, Experience Design at BCGDV. “That is why transparency in what we are doing and the metrics we have achieved are essential. It’s helpful for all of us to see what has been accomplished — and it’s equally important to keep our goals visible by all. We will continue to share our progress every year to hold ourselves accountable and ensure we continue with the great progress we have made.”