“Viacom will foster an environment of inclusiveness, which holds leadership accountable for creating, developing, promoting and championing a diverse, multicultural workforce where all people can achieve and contribute to the company’s success.”
–Viacom Global Inclusion Mission Statement
At Viacom, the spirit of inclusion feeds into everything we do, on-screen and off. From the programming and movies we create to employee benefits/programs and Viacommunity outreach initiatives, we believe that opportunity, access, resources and rewards should be available to and for the benefit of all. For us, it’s more than an idea, it’s part of our business. Being open to all voices and viewpoints behind the screen helps us connect with audiences and retain the best talent, who know that they can bring their full selves to work.
To underscore the importance of inclusion, we established a dedicated Office of Global Inclusion (OGI), which is led by Marva Smalls, Executive Vice President of Global Inclusion Strategy, who reports directly to the CEO. As with any other business priority, we are constantly assessing and updating our efforts and strategy to ensure that inclusion is a reality in our company.
OGI runs our hugely popular Employee Affinity Group — or EAG — program. EAGs are groups of employees with something in common who are given company support to establish greater visibility and presence within the company. Current EAGs include The BEAT for African Americans, Somos for Latino/Hispanic employees, AMP for Asian Americans, Emerge for LGBT employees, Thursday Think for individuals starting their careers, HERE for women and The ParentHood for Viacom’s working parents.
In 2012, OGI undertook dozens of initiatives to support Viacom business efforts, enhance career development, celebrate cultural heritage, build ties with the community and increase networking opportunities. Among the many examples are the focus groups organized by The ParentHood, which informed the creation of the NickMom website; the mentorship programs offered by AMP and The BEAT; Pride Month events staged by Emerge; a Get Schooled college prep session for local students offered by Thursday Think; and a career panel tour featuring Viacom employees at area high schools hosted by Somos.
Viacom practices inclusion in other areas as well, most notably in our tax equalization policy for same-gender domestic partners. The Federal Defense of Marriage Act requires benefits for same-gender partners to be counted as taxable income. To offset this additional burden and equalize the tax impact of benefits coverage, Viacom gives payments equal to 25 percent of the value of health benefits to those employees covering same-gender partners on their plans. This payment is made automatically without the employee having to fill out any forms.
Viacom’s active support of diversity and inclusion attracted wide notice, establishing us as a pacesetter in corporate America. Working Mother named us to its 100 Best Companies list, and we were included in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. We received the Equality@Work Award from the Empire State Pride Agenda, a nomination for the Top Employee Resource Group Award from LATINA Style Magazine, and NAACP Image Awards and GLAAD Media Awards for our inclusive programming. And many of our best-in-class executives and employees were invited to speak at conferences hosted by external partner groups, including Diversity Best Practices, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications, National Council of La Raza, Executive Leadership Conference and Asia Society.