Taking Stock, Building Strategy

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How well-poised is the cable industry to compete in the fastest-growing segment of the marketplace? People of color are early and heavy media consumers and early adopters of new media. They’re also among the best and the brightest professionals in the industry.

How is our industry performing with respect to multiethnic employment? How does your company rank within the industry? And how are the results of questions like these affecting your market share among people of color in the consumer and professional markets?

As competition stiffens — and as telcos and satellite companies are tapping an already-tight market for professionals of color — it’s a crucial time to assess the industry-wide state of workforce diversity. This week, the human resources and diversity-department heads of MSOs, programmers and vendors will be asked to complete a survey intended to do just that.

An e-mail from DiversityInc will provide the link to the fourth wave of National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications’s employment survey, A Look Toward Advancement: Multi-Ethnic Employment in Communications.

Assessments such as the survey can reap bottom-line benefits for cable operators. For instance, executives at Cox Communications Inc. feel that their success depends upon knowing their market segments like the back of their hand. The operator focused on increasing its Hispanic market-penetration rates by introducing a product tier targeted to that segment. Cox attributes the success of this launch to the fact that they have a multicultural marketing team with a sensibility as to what makes these consumers tick.

Launched in 1999, the NAMIC employment survey has provided a baseline of statistics for benchmarking our industry’s progress in multiethnic employment. One key result: the successful launch, in 2001, of the NAMIC Executive Leadership Development Program, in partnership with UCLA’s Anderson School of Management; and the 2005 launch of a two-day Leadership Seminar for managers and supervisors.

NAMIC is again partnering with DiversityInc magazine to confidentially assess and track inclusion in the cable industry, and to provide the most current and salient data available to support efforts to advance multiethnic employment. A separate survey will be sent to NAMIC members to assess their attitudes and perceptions about diversity and career advancement.

In a climate where our industry is facing key changes in the way it does business, one of the drivers of the conversation is access for all. Cable has always held a leadership position in making its products and services available to all consumers.

It has also made progress in the recruitment, hiring and retention of people of color — data supported by our past surveys. Further documenting that information by participating in the NAMIC survey will allow the industry to further assert its leadership in this area.

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