On June 16, 2021, Amazon Studios released its first-ever “Inclusion Playbook” to support its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This got me thinking…will more companies create an inclusion playbook to support diversity in hiring? Time will tell!

In the meantime, here are 4 highlights from the Amazon Studios inclusion playbook I found useful, plus some tips to help you with your diversity hiring efforts.

1. Outline diversity goals

The first thing I noticed in the inclusion playbook was the “Hiring Behind the Camera” section. There I found specific diversity goals for hiring from underrepresented groups (for various types of roles), along with guidance on how to meet them. Here’s a summary of their targets:

Diversity goals for “Above-the-Line” Hiring:

– For film: 30% women/non-binary people and 30% people from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups across directors, writers, and producers.

– For episodic series: 30% women/non-binary people and 30% people from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups to be credited across directors, writers, producers, and creators for a season of content. These goals apply to the writers’ room and non-writing producing staff.

– Each film or series with a creative team of 3 or more people in above-the-line roles (Directors, Writers, Producers) should ideally include a minimum 30% women and 30% members of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group. These aspirational goals will increase to 50% by 2024. On creative teams with fewer than 3 people, we prefer that at least 1 Writer, Director, or Producer be a woman and/or a member of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group.

Diversity goals for “Below-the-Line” Hiring:

“For open positions, we aim to staff department heads and seconds in the following areas to meet overall DEI aspirational goals of (30/30/20/20) (white men, white women/non-binary, underrepresented men, underrepresented women/non-binary): Production, Accounting, Assistant Directors, Art, Camera, Casting, Construction, Costumes, Craft Service, Grip, Lighting, Locations, Makeup, Hair, Medic, Post, Property, Script, Sound, and Transportation.”

Tip: If your company sets diversity goals, an inclusion playbook would be a great place to “save” these for your employees to reference during the hiring process.

2. Resources for diversity plans

Setting goals for hiring from underrepresented groups is great, but putting plans in place to reach those goals is even better. Amazon Studios’ inclusion playbook also highlights “diversity plans” for casting and auditions. Creative teams at Amazon Studios are required to:

“submit detailed plans for auditioning and casting to ensure that candidates from underrepresented communities are considered and hired. The plans must also outline strategies for how the production will cultivate an inclusive environment.”

The inclusion playbook supports creating these plans with detailed information about external partners, links to resources, and templates for reporting data.

Tip: Even if you don’t create an official “inclusion playbook” for your biz, gathering resources like these for your employees helps bolster your diversity efforts. For example, if you want to hire more people of color, Latinx, or LGBTQ candidates, creating a list of job boards you might use is a huge help for hiring managers. Check out 30 Top Diversity Job Boards for Employers [hiring POC, LGBTQ, Latinx & more] for examples.

3. Language suggestions for job postings

The inclusion playbook mentions a historical divide In Hollywood based on race, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. So asking for a director with “X years of experience” or with “X qualifications” might automatically exclude candidates from those underrepresented groups.

Here’s what the playbook says about using this type of language in JDs:

“Historical inequities in education and access limit the ability of some individuals to meet the standard you’ve set. Design qualifications with this in mind (e.g., do not ask for more than is needed to establish that an individual is qualified).

When creating your criteria, be cautious that being overly specific can lend itself to tailoring criteria to one specific person. Instead, use language that allows for you to capture skills and experience but allows for multiple qualified individuals to compete for the job.”

The inclusion playbook also cautions against using words like “risky” or “inexperienced” to describe directors:

“These are all phrases that research has shown can marginalize and exclude directors who identify as women/non-binary, underrepresented racially/ethnically, LGBTQ+, and/or with a disability.”

Tip: You can apply the ideas above to any industry, really. For some tips on using (or not using) years of experience, requirements, and other types of biased language in your job postings, check out this blog from our CEO, Rob Kelly, 7 Things that Will Go Extinct in Job Descriptions.

4. Diversity tool ideas

There’s also mention of using tools to reach diverse candidates. The tools listed in Amazon Studios’ inclusion playbook are industry-specific but still useful to note (e.g., ARRAY Crew database identifies people from underrepresented groups, or IMDbPro identifies people who have worked on productions that might be relevant to a film or series).

Tip: Diversity tools could be inclusive hiring blogs, recruiting websites, blind resume tools, or job description writing software like Ongig’s Text Analyzer (that scans JDs for bias). You can find more examples of useful tools for diversity recruiting (that are less industry-specific) in our blog 5 Great Diversity Recruiting Websites.


Diversity recruiting is a key part of our mission: to eliminate boring and biased job ads. Check out Ongig’s Text Analyzer if you’d like a cloud-based software tool to write more inclusive job content to help attract more diverse candidates.

by in Diversity and Inclusion