How the CBC Remains Relevant with Diverse New Perspectives
Industry Insight Canadian media company CBC is encouraging innovation, diversity, and women empowerment in their workplace to increase creativity and perspective.
When Canadians talk about diversity in tech, the first thing to come to mind probably isn’t the CBC. But, Soo Kim, Executive Director of Media Operations at Canada’s public broadcaster considers that an outdated way of looking at things. “We’ve had to expand our thinking about the business we’re in,” says Kim. “Nowadays, what sector doesn’t leverage sophisticated technology? From a talent perspective, we all have to be tech-focused now.”
Kim oversees multi-platform production at the CBC, ranging from digital products to more linear services like radio and television. How to hire for a diverse and inclusive workplace, especially on the technical side, is very much on her mind these days. “We need more women and more diversity in general, in tech,” Kim says. “It makes us better and it makes our products better. As a public broadcaster, we need to be relevant and useful to all Canadians, evolving as Canada evolves.”
New technology, new voices
Transitioning Canada’s national public broadcaster into the digital era has required a lot of innovation as well as a willingness to embrace unconventional ideas. Machine learning, big data, and personalization algorithms are the sorts of terms you hear in the halls of the CBC today and Kim is focused on hiring the right people to make good on the innovative broadcasting future these words promise. She strongly believes that a diverse workforce must be an integral part of that because with diversity comes new perspectives.
“It really comes down to creativity,” Kim says. “If you increase diversity, then you really have an opportunity to crowdsource new ideas and new approaches to doing things. But it’s not enough to hire a diverse workforce, you also need to foster a culture of inclusion to ensure their voices are heard.”
This is an important and too often overlooked aspect of workplace diversity. Hiring a diverse workforce is only the beginning. Empowerment is critical, as is ensuring that organization-wide diversity isn’t hiding a series of monocultures in certain divisions or at the higher levels of the organizational chart. “In recent years, we’ve gotten really serious about making inclusion and diversity a strategic goal of the organization and, broadly, the numbers say we’re doing okay,” says Kim. “We know though, that we still have work to do. It’s about challenging ourselves to look at the evidence differently and not be satisfied with just top line numbers. For instance, we over-index with women leaders in our workplace, but when you look at the technical functions, not so much. I’d like to see more women in technical functions and I’d like to see more diverse faces in the leadership ranks at CBC.”
An inclusive conversation
In a way, the CBC is exactly the place we should be looking for leadership in diversity. The CBC is home to Canada’s conversations’ so it’s vital for that dialogue to include all of the many diverse voices that make Canada, Canada. “The CBC, as the public broadcaster, has a unique opportunity to make empathy and understanding a key dimension of our programming,” says Kim. “We can use our privileged place in Canadian society to facilitate local and national conversations, especially the uncomfortable and necessary ones. That’s the sort of thing I am really excited about.”
The CBC offers careers in a variety of fields — employing thousands of Canadians and creating inspiring content on a daily basis. The CBC’s digital teams build the sites and apps that Canadians use to connect with and experience digital content, devise the analytics tools and intelligent systems that allow the CBC to better understand audiences, and develop and support content management systems that thousands of content producers use to make and distribute content.