For several years, Prophet has been working hard to strengthen our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Pride at Prophet, a group celebrating and building a community around our LGBTQ employees and allies, is flourishing. While we still have a lot to do, we’ve accomplished much with our Women in Leadership effort as our junior partner team became more gender-balanced. But as Black Lives Matter protests swept the globe in May last year, we knew we had to take a new–and harder– look at our own community, culture and practices.
As we absorbed what was happening around us, we closed firmwide for a Day of Reflection in mid-June and then listened to how each of us as team members at Prophet thought about how we can better reflect inclusive and diverse voices and embed them more deeply into our processes and our culture. Since June, we’ve continued these conversations as we’ve gone deeper into our DEI work at both the local and global firmwide level.
We also conducted a global firmwide DEI survey to better understand our current realities and perceptions and where we most needed to focus first. With broad engagement across offices, levels and functions, the survey gave us a detailed view of how we can further become truly diverse, equitable and inclusive. While we were moving in the right direction with the work done so far, we knew we had to do more. We asked ourselves how we can better deliver on the promise of one of our values – to allow everyone to be “fearlessly human” creating the room, structures and space to bring their best selves to work every day.
So, we got to work. We made the effort more immersive and transparent. While a committed DEI Council continued to push on efforts, we aimed to make the dialogue and actions broader and more local – to fit the needs of each of our geographies. We started to push on existing processes where we can better embed the core principles of our DEI efforts.
We know that this is hard work and it is something that must be sustained. We want change to be meaningful and it is important to make this not just about hiring more people of color or donating money to a charity. It’s about challenging ourselves to make sure every solution we create for ourselves and our clients–every brand strategy, every customer experience, every organizational analysis–moves toward a more just and open world.
In this context, we can share that we are focused on some key areas:
No one knows better than we do that the right consultants can change everything. Even though a super passionate internal team has headed our DEI efforts, we knew we could benefit from professionals with deep experience and fresh insights. We retained Collective, specialists in DEI consulting, to help.
Together, we’re looking at new and better ways to engage our people, support their development, and recognize their achievements. We expect to have a full report on its recommendations soon, and this audit will help further refine areas in which we can make progress.
We are also in the process of identifying and hiring a Head of DEI, who will be 100 percent dedicated to this vital work – a first of its kind at Prophet.
Enhancing Our Definition of Diversity
Including more diverse voices in our team has always been a goal, but we are stepping up those efforts. First, we’re working harder on campuses, adding historically black colleges and universities to our regular recruitment outreach. We are also partnering with the Consortium, a nonprofit that promotes inclusion among MBA students.
We launched senior-level searches to diversify the executive team and at the partner level. And we are actively interviewing candidates for our Board, with additional outreach underway.
Overall, as part of our recruiting process, we’ve made sure that at every level, across every role, we have a diverse slate of candidates.
Learn More, Do Better
Awareness is an essential part of this process, and during the fall, almost 90 percent of Prophet employees have completed microaggressions training to understand better the many ways bias can affect the Prophet community members. Importantly, this training also addresses what people can do about it–either when they make a mistake themselves or witness one.
From there, we are now beginning to deploy our next employee training focused on becoming better allies to our coworkers, with the aim to have everyone go through the training in Q1.
Support Racial Justice
In addition to our internal work, we are excited to be doing more to promote justice externally. In September, we also activated Prophet Impact (formerly P4NP – Prophet for Nonpofit) with a racial justice track that identified areas where we can do more pro-bono consulting with organizations dedicated to the fight for equality. Our intent is to make this a regular program rather than an opportunistic one, with clear budgets, goals and active management.
All of this requires us to measure our progress and we all know metrics matter. The DEI survey we conducted has not only served to inform areas of focus but also to create a starting set of metrics for us to measure ourselves against. It probed four primary DEI dimensions–respect, belonging, evaluation/progression and commitment, and captured demographic information, now on our intranet, to track progress on representation. This data is feeding and informing our plan for the new year and beyond.
What to Expect Next
In the weeks and months ahead, we expect to do more and share more. Prophet has long been built on a commitment to “Many voices. One team.” We all have a strong desire to make this a holistic reality. We are excited to have a passionate team across the globe working together to make us a better firm – more inclusive and more diverse than ever.