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Remix Your Algorithm — Shifting Our Culture at FleishmanHillard to Confront and Remove Bias

August 31, 2020

At FleishmanHillard we have a bold ambition to be the most inclusive agency in the world and we are forging the path that will get us there. It won’t happen overnight, but the past few months have made us examine ourselves closely. It’s clear – we must think of new, bold ways to challenge our organizational culture, attitude and how we ‘show up’ for our colleagues, stakeholders and clients.

Detailed in our agency’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) strategy are programs designed to add diversity to our workforce and nurture, as well as challenge, our colleagues to continue crushing barriers and biases that keep us separate. This healthy confrontation will help us attain an inclusive environment where equity is our mainstay.

We know that our actions, when intentional, make us better counselors and citizens. I don’t know about you, but I’m not satisfied with being satisfied, or with being comfortable while our agency, and our world, requires more. There’s no better time than the present to make a change.

We recently launched Remix Your Algorithm (RYA) for our employees as one of our agency’s global DE&I initiative to broaden perspectives and help us break out of the biased echo chambers and feedback loops that reinforce what we already think.

Technology is embedded into many aspects of our lives and algorithms play a bigger role than many of us realize in shaping how we see the world. The problem is that these algorithms can influence and determine what we see, hear and feel, and when we passively accept the idea that the algorithm knows best – complex issues become black and white, diversity disappears and the echo chamber is all that’s left.

We’ve all seen what can happen in society when people don’t seek to challenge their bias – they act upon their prejudices, and the harm is real. We need to unlearn and challenge assumptions and broaden our points of view in order to combat the detrimental effects of our bias and encourage understanding.

You might wonder why this is particularly important to our agency; the fact is that FleishmanHillard guides the communication strategies for some of the biggest companies in the world. We can’t deny that we hold a great deal of influence and it’s with that in mind we wanted to challenge ourselves to rethink how we see the world, not just as an organization, but as 2,300+ individuals in a network that spans 80 offices in more than 30 countries.

We want everyone who meaningfully engages with our firm – from our employees to our clients – to think intentionally about how connected – or not – they are to perspectives that are different from their own.

Whether it’s adding a new media outlet to your regular morning reading or engaging in courageous conversations with people who have different lived experiences than you, RYA is about impactfully and purposefully bringing new ideas and points of view into your orbit.

The launch of RYA is just one step in driving sustained behavioral change and we know that genuine and authentic commitment to DE&I means doing the work – all day, every day.

Each month we’ll introduce a new RYA concept to help all of us view algorithms and their role in our lives through another lens. We’ll also share stories of FleishmanHillard employees who are remixing and how it’s going.

Working with our TRUE Global Intelligence practice, we’re building touch points for RYA data and insight collection to help evolve and deepen the program along the way.

I want to invite you to examine how you can remix your own algorithms, and then do it – even if it’s just one thing. It may be challenging at times, perhaps a little inconvenient. But no real change ever comes about by sticking to your comfort zone. If we can look up in four weeks’ time and truly have broadened our perspectives, then maybe we’ll be one step closer to being the change we all wish to see in the world, starting here at FleishmanHillard.