Our industry leaders know that this issue is important – we’ve got the data to prove it. Working with Daniel Marks’ Panel, a survey of 120 senior industry people has thrown up fascinating insights.
In the UK, increasing BAME representation is a priority for 82% of leaders, three-quarters see mental health as a key area to support and nearly 70% of those surveyed want to put their money where their mouth is and invest in an inclusive culture.
Sean Betts, managing director of Annalect, part of Omnicom Group, says: "Mental health is a top priority for us across OMG UK and forms a core part of our D&I strategy of Reflecting Real Britain. [We are trying to change] the narrative to focus on ‘mental fitness’ as it’s something that all our people should be mindful of and actively managing."
But there is a way to go: campaigning body Creative Equals say that "BAME employees make up 5.5% of senior leadership in the creative sector" – this doesn’t reflect a society with 13% BAME representation (2011 census).
And inclusivity underpins all efforts geared towards attracting, hiring and retaining diverse talent. Data from the mental health foundation suggests that supporting mental health and wellbeing at work could increase productivity by as much as 12%.
George Bryant, chief creative officer of The Brooklyn Brothers and co-founder of Night School says: "We have an industry to change. It’s great to see the level of desire there is, but actions must follow. True creative leaders must recognise the urgent need to let the most powerful voices in our culture, shine through our industry. Now is their time, not ours."
So, what can the industry do right now to drive diversity and inclusivity? Gaby Dutton-Williams, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Daniel Marks, took 9 key pieces of advice from The Panel…
1. Make all levels across your organisation commit to inclusion, incorporate D&I into your business and people strategy, and make sure all levels across your organisation are committed to inclusion. Hanisha Kotecha, managing director and D&I advocate, who we met as part of the Panel initiative says: "Invest in D&I education so that D&I is underpinned in business and people strategy rather than an add on." Creative Equals have several highly rated workshops focused on inclusion, from the what’s and how’s to strategy, inclusion councils as well as how leaders can drive inclusion.
2. Communicate clearly why inclusion is important to your team so they can help you become an inclusive employer. As part of Daniel Marks’ journey to becoming an inclusive employer and partner to our clients and candidates we have revisited our mission and values to be more inclusive.
3. Communicate your intent as an inclusive employer internally and externally. People are more likely to want to work for your organisation if it’s inclusive and supportive of difference.
4. Extend your network to attract and hire talent outside of your typical talent pool; broaden your reach when developing your talent acquisition strategy. Advertise, network, headhunt or attend events outside your usual patch. Some great examples include: Black Young Professionals Network; Proud Employers; Business Disability Forum.
5. Make your recruitment process as inclusive as possible and remove bias. In December Daniel Marks invested in an all-team workshop hosted by Ali Hanan from Creative Equals, focused on Inclusive Recruitment and understanding bias through the recruitment process.
6. Be inclusive when you onboard people. "I found that so many agencies have been founded on passionate ideals and powerful principles that rarely get communicated to new-joiners. This is increasingly important as we recruit people from more diverse backgrounds. I encouraged our founders to spend one-to-one time with as many new starters as close to their start date as possible to help them fully appreciate (and can communicate) the foundations of why the agency exists and feel real pride in the organisation they have joined. If you stop bothering to communicate your purpose, don't be surprised if your purpose only lives in a well-regurgitated, wallpaper pitch slide." Hanisha Kotecha
7. Be open to share your experience of what works well and what does not. Listen to feedback from your colleagues, peers and teams and see inclusivity as a collaboration which will ultimately benefit everybody.
To tackle this and share experience, at Daniel Marks we have partnered with All Of Us. This is the first dedicated D&I social media and engagement platform to allow businesses to unite all their staff to deliver D&I solutions, great for both employees and for business.
We are soft launching the platform with a number of thought leaders before a wider launch to Panel members representing all areas of the marketing services industry.
Andrew Phillips Founder, All Of Us, says: "At All Of Us we are delighted to be able to help Daniel Marks work with agencies across the marketing services sector to collaborate, share experiences and best practices, and work towards developing concrete plans, actions and data to improve diversity and inclusion, one of the biggest business challenges of our generation."
8. Consider intersectionality when approaching your D&I strategy. Hanisha Kotecha says: "Intersectionality, for me is hugely important because while companies like to put people in boxes, we rarely see ourselves as boxes – mostly because so many of us fit in more than just one. I'm a British Asian Female and I found there were lots of initiatives for women and then lots of initiatives for people of colour but nothing really out there that educates society on the nuances of both. Similarly, I have black friends who are gay and feel hugely neglected by many diversity schemes – and don't get me started on disabilities. People are still most willing to look at the obvious, visible 'differences' rather than the more challenging and important concept that lots of people have lots of differences. It's a hard one to push forward, especially when hiring people from ethnic minority backgrounds has become a shortcut to 'diversity’…"
9. Be brave, speak out and be a changemaker. There’s still a long way to go on the journey for equality and inclusion in the marketing services industry, but there is an appetite for change and a willingness to make a material difference.
At Daniel Marks we’re committed to inclusion and diversity and will continue to share plans on how we can make an impact on the specific areas identified in our conversations with industry leaders. Expect to see a deeper discussion with more practical tips from us and industry leaders participating in The Panel over the coming months on All Of Us and across our social media channels.
We will be running our industry leading initiatives, The Planning Academy and The Big Bang in 2020 as we aim to attract a wider breadth of talent into the industry. To learn more about our upcoming initiatives, to become a judge or to get involved with The Panel on All Of Us, contact our Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Gaby Dutton-Williams.
Thanks to The Panel: Ed Bernardino, Talent Acquisition & D&I Partner at Grey, Jemima Garthwaite, CEO at This Here, George Ryan, SVP, Global Brand Projects at Copa90, Melanie Norris MD & Head of Planning at BBDOKNOWS, George Bryant, Chief Creative Officer at The Brooklyn Brothers, Tarek Sioufi, Chief Strategy Officer at The Brooklyn Brothers, Dan Saxby, Founder at The Elephant Room, Shanice Mears Co-Founder & Talent at The Elephant Room, Jamie Williams, Managing Partner at isobel, Chris Ward, Co-Founder & CEO at Klive, Ronnie Smith Head of Talent Acquisition at Unlimited Group, Ivana Veselinovic-Jethwa, Group Head of Talent at eight&four, Inkling, Cubo & Feed, Hannah Wells, HR Director at Spark 44, Ursula Marchese, Group Head of Talent at RAPP Code UK, Jo Tauscher, Managing Partner at Leo Burnett / Fallon, Frazer Gibney, CEO at FCB Inferno, Fern Nott, Head of Talent at The&Partnerhsip, Katie Lee, CEO at Lucky Generals, Matthew Waksman, CSO at Love or Fear and Andy West, Media Consultant.