Rich Waterworth, General Manager, UK & Europe - TikTok
A little under a year ago, we set out some of the commitments we were making to our Black creators, community and colleagues in the UK. These commitments reflected our recognition that achieving meaningful representation and equity requires constant, year-round effort.
I wanted to provide an update on some of the initiatives we've launched to improve representation, participation and belonging at TikTok more broadly, as well as talk about how we're developing our work around diversity and inclusion at an organisational level.
A commitment to diversity and inclusion is embedded in everything we do at TikTok, and that starts with our dedicated D&I team.
Led by Priscilla Baffour (Head of Diversity & Inclusion for TikTok EMEA), the D&I team sponsors a number of initiatives across the business - from recruitment and entry-level support to training for our senior leadership team. Our vision for the business is to create a truly equitable and inclusive culture where our people, creators and partners are empowered to share diverse ideas and views; and feel a strong sense of belonging.
Senior Accountability and Employee Representation
Ensuring equity throughout a business needs senior sponsorship, and buy-in at all levels.
We offer Inclusive Leadership Development for our team leads, as well as ongoing training through partners such as the 'Fearless Futures' programme.
Our D&I Council, made up of senior colleagues who represent the diversity of our team, meets monthly and collaborates closely with leadership to drive accountability and provide support and governance for our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
These ERGs serve as a direct conduit between our colleagues and senior management. Any employee can get involved in these conversations, with current ERGs across the European region including BLXCK, BytePride and Women @ TikTok. Our ERGs are key to understanding the issues which are affecting our colleagues, and provide a platform to raise any initiatives or concerns directly with our senior leadership team.
These conversations are all about fostering close collaboration, spurring conversations and action around organisational equity, and laying the groundwork for our wider D&I strategy.
Building a more diverse work environment can only happen if we're attracting, progressing and retaining a broader base of talent from under-represented groups - especially at a senior level.
Our partnership with Color in Tech saw students who attended Black Tech Fest have the opportunity to be fast tracked through the initial application stages of TikTok's 2021 European campus graduate and internship roles, whilst our work with the Black Young Professionals network has seen TikTok employees speaking at BYP events, providing insight and advice based on their personal experiences.
We're more committed than ever to continuing our work on further increasing the pipeline of diverse talent we're seeing at entry level roles, as well as attracting and retaining diverse talent at a more senior level. Under this commitment, we have rolled out a number of initiatives including adopting the diverse slate approach as well as arranging periodic workshops and training to continue sharing best practices and managing unconscious bias.
Diverse Marketing :
Representation matters, particularly in our own marketing efforts.
As part of our commitment to improving diversity and representation within our marketing materials, we have introduced new agency assessment criteria when working with external partners, as well as launching a number of initiatives across Europe.
These include our #ThisIsBlack campaign in the UK for Black History Month, celebrating Black creators and strengthening our commitment to celebrate diversity on the platform. One of our major events during the month was a #ThisIsBlack creator evening, where TikTok employees hosted Black creators, artists and public figures as panelists, promoted Black owned businesses on the platform by doing a livestream in the event space and spotlighted Black artists and DJs on the platform. In addition, we also hosted a number of events for our employees to further raise awareness and to allyship, including a live 'in conversation with David Harewood with Actor David Harewood.
For International Women's Day, we took a stand behind women in the music industry and partnered with shesaid.so, a global independent community of women and gender minorities in music, to inspire, educate and empower emerging woman-identifying talent. As part of that partnership, we provided a series of mentoring and educational panel events.
Representation in Content Policy :
Listening to diverse voices (both from within and without the business) helps us make more informed decisions when it comes to content policy.
We successfully launched our European Product Policy D&I Forum, which brings together employees from a range of functions across the business including Trust & Safety, legal, ad policy, and LIVE programming. This forum ensures TikTok’s policies and products are representative of, and sensitive to, diverse communities on the app.
Our UK Creator Council, launched in March, ensures that we have direct feedback from our community on the issues they care about most. The rotating selection of 10 creators reflect the diversity of our community, covering everything from education and sport to comedy and cooking, and this direct dialogue ensures direct representation and honest conversation.
We work with partners like Stonewall on creating a more inclusive business for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as through an on-platform partnership; Glitch in championing digital citizenship, with a particular focus on women and marginalised groups online and TellMama who we've worked together with to ensure we're taking action on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate on the platform.
TikTok is a place where people come to spark joy and creativity but we're also a home for our community and colleagues to have open and honest conversations about their lived experiences, and to campaign about the issues that matter to them. That's why we've run events linked to specific occasions, such as a LIVE memorial concert to mark Stephen Lawrence Day in association with the Stephen Lawrence Foundation and a special playlist, conceived and curated by members of the British Caribbean community here at TikTok, to commemorate Windrush day.
I'm incredibly proud of the actions we've already taken, but recognise that there's always more to do. We're working hard every day to be as accountable to our own colleagues as we are to the community we serve, and we'll continue to share updates on our progress.