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An update on HBG’s diversity and inclusion efforts (May 2021)

Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch and VP Diversity & Inclusion Carrie Bloxson recently presented to employees HBG’s 2020 Annual Diversity Update, which illustrates the company’s progress toward building a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.

“We made progress in 2020 in all of the D&I initiatives we put in place — initiatives that our employees’ feedback and insights helped us shape,” said Michael Pietsch. “It has been very encouraging to see the level of engagement, urgency, and collaboration throughout HBG, and the improvement we have seen in the past year. At the same time, we recognize that there is still a huge amount of work ahead. We are committed to making meaningful progress toward our goals and working together to create a workplace and publishing programs that reflect the diversity of the nation of readers we want to publish for. The energy and the focus to achieve those goals is in place, thanks to the deep commitment of our employees and our senior management.”

We have established a set of metrics to measure annual progress and improvement at HBG. The main data points are included here:

 

 

See below for examples of progress achieved at HBG in 2020:

 

Leadership

We increased hiring and promotions of BIPOC employees at senior levels.

Increasing our hiring and promotions of people of color is crucially important at all levels, and most urgently needed in leadership positions. In 2020 we added BIPOC colleagues to the Executive Management Board (EMB), which is made up of our most senior department and division heads, and to the Senior Management Group (SMG), which is made up of HBG employees at VP level and above.  We increased staff diversity at every level, with the largest gain in the Senior Managers category (Director & above), which rose 31%.

We recruited and hired HBG’s VP Diversity and Inclusion.

Carrie Bloxson was hired in December 2020 and joined HBG on February 1, 2021 as VP Diversity and Inclusion to lead our efforts, and is a member of the Executive Management Board.

Recruitment and Hiring

We increased the number of BIPOC employees overall by 7%.
In 2020, we saw a 7% increase in the number of BIPOC-identifying employees, with increased representation of Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American, and employees who identify as “two or more races.”

We expanded outreach to more sources for candidates of color.
Our HR team held 45 virtual recruiting events in 2020. Over 1,000 candidates attended, and 150 HBG employees participated.

We raised starting salaries to $45k in the most expensive cost-of-living areas.
This increase to HBG’s starting salaries was an important step in making our hiring practices more inclusive. The new salaries went into effect in February 2021.

Culture and Retention

We created seven Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to allow employees to share experiences and make recommendations for improvements.
HBG’s employees have formed ERGs for Employees of Color; Black; Latinx; Women in Publishing; Asian/Pacific American; LGBTQIA+ & Trans & Gender Non-Conforming; and Non-Majority Religions.

We provided Diversity & Inclusion Training to all office employees.
We are continuing training this year with additional programs including microaggression and unconscious bias training for our entire staff.

Publishing

We increased acquisitions of books written and illustrated by people of color.
Acquisitions of titles by authors and illustrators of color increased significantly over 2019, particularly from authors and illustrators new to HBG: 29% of contracts with new contributors were with authors and illustrators of color, compared to 22% in 2019.

We audited the diversity of our publishing programs.
The audit included title acquisition metrics for each publishing division and will be expanded for future years. We have surveyed HBG’s authors to invite voluntary self-identification in order to improve the accuracy of our data, and added voluntary self-identification questions to our Author and Illustrator Questionnaires for new authors.

We launched a new imprint committed to amplifying underserved and overlooked voices.
Legacy Lit, a new imprint led by VP Publisher Krishan Trotman, was announced on October 29, 2020.

We established principles, guidelines, and resources to ensure that our marketing efforts represent the diversity of our authors and reach all readers.
Focus areas for marketing include:

  • expanding marketing support to increase representation of BIPOC-identifying and other traditionally underrepresented authors across title promotions, website content, newsletters, and on our social channels.
  • diversifying our network of influencers and contributors, from Bookstagrammers and  reading groups to audio book narrators and other freelancers
  • creating new content verticals and promotions that allow us to showcase diverse authors and content more often.

Additional highlights:

We launched The Current in Q2 2020, a video and podcast interview series with HBG authors focusing on the most pressing issues of our time. Around 40% of the authors featured on the program are people of color. As of April 2021, our videos have been viewed over 1.3 million times.

We launched Open Book Hub on hachettebookgroup.com to amplify BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other traditionally underrepresented voices in the publishing world. In Get to Know interviews we ask writers to be open books about their lives, work, process, inspiration, and interests to help readers explore new voices with a broad range of backgrounds, experiences, and ideas that shape our society.

Community

We donated to school libraries a collection of 200,000 print, ebooks and audiobooks.
The donated titles were by writers of color on the subjects of antiracism, empathy, and social justice.

We increased our donations to organizations supporting equality and social justice.
We made financial contributions to several national organizations focused on equality and social justice. This year we will augment our charitable giving program with increased support for diversity focused organizations, particularly those that are book related.