After 10 years in diversity and inclusion (D&I) and a total of 20 years at Nielsen, Sherri Dublin, Vice President, Diversity Program at Nielsen, loves her job. It comes through in her voice and enthusiasm for her work. Dublin focuses on leading the company’s Global Employee Resources Groups, and she is responsible for the organization’s strategy for diversity and inclusion training and serves as the Chief of Staff for the Chief Diversity Officer.
Her group’s focus is to serve as catalysts to connect colleagues, clients and community. The Employee Resource Groups is also known as ERGs at Nielsen. The group focuses on four key areas to include recruitment, professional development, community outreach, and education/ engagement. Under recruitment, the groups partner and provide support to the talent acquisition team through employee referrals and serves on university recruitment events. Some members are diversity champions for the recruitment teams.
“The ERGs also enable the growth and development of members and associates by providing leadership and development opportunities,” said Dublin. Additional services of the D&I group highlights community impact and outreach and education and engagement, leveraging the affinity groups, cultural celebrations and client and community events.” These extensive efforts are key to the success of supporting Nielsen’s large employee base and its diverse employee groups.
However, many are unaware of the extensive services provided by the industry giant. The Nielsen Corporation is a global performance management company which provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with audience measurement services across content, namely video, audio and text. The Nielsen Corporation is listed as an S&P 500 company and has operations in over 100 countries covering more than 90 percent of the world’s population.
To assist with employee diversity, there are over 8300 global employees who are members of the Employee Resource Groups. Of those overall employees, there are approximately 4,600 U.S. members and 3700 employees outside of the country, and growing. There is also Nielsen Cares, company’s corporate social responsibility initiative. Nielsen’s groups align to support their focus on skills-based volunteering. Currently, some of programs include International Women’s Day along with strategic partnerships focusing on STEM programs with local middle and high school students and the development of programs using math-related systems applied to analytics.
“For success, I am always reviewing, analyzing and looking at metrics performed benchmark to improve the impact of the groups,” Dublin said. “When the ERG groups work with employees, their work has to align to their focus areas and if not, we ask why—what is the business purpose,” said Dublin.
“Elevating diverse professionals and D&I issues are key at the company, but the foundation of its diversity and inclusion strategy is focused on providing employees with visibility, access and opportunity,” Dublin said. The ERGs is one program that enables this to happen.
Dublin outlined the Importance of senior leadership in the success of any D&I program , and she noted that the Nielsen CEO is actively involved in supporting diversity efforts, “Our CEO, Mitch Barns is also a former Executive Sponsor for our SABLE (Sustaining Active Black Leadership and Empowerment) ERG. He consistently states that diversity and inclusion are crucial to our growth, strength and ability to innovate. For nine years, Dublin’s hosted the ERG Leadership Summit and invites the CEO. He has spoken to the leaders on topics ranging from the business, leadership and his expectations of the teams for the year. Also, the Chief Diversity Officer, Angela Talton, is supportive of the Dublin’s ERG groups. “She gives us a sound voice and visibility to what we do and that is big part of our success,” Dublin said.
To further support its overall diversity efforts, Dublin stated that some of the ERG members were former supplier diversity liaisons. They partner with Nielsen’s Supplier Diversity team at conferences, and encourage the teams to use diverse suppliers whenever possible. “We encourage the teams to spend with diverse suppliers. You have to be proactive not simply say the list is on our website, but rather be consciously inclusive and be deliberate,” said Dublin.
Before finishing the interview, Dublin was asked her thoughts on how the new White House Administration will impact diversity and if it will impact the way Nielsen does business. Dublin summed it up by saying she thinks there is a lot to be seen. “In the space of D&I, we have to wait and see. I don’t like to judge anyone too early, but I will say that at Nielsen, we embrace inclusion and diversity,” she said.
Bottom line, they want their company employees to feel valued and respected. “We have to learn more and more on how to foster inclusion and work and communicate across lines of difference; to be comfortable being uncomfortable. “Our mission is to infuse diversity and inclusion into the DNA at Nielsen. It is Important to have an environment that is open and inclusive of diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.”