Our diversity and inclusion policy includes a number of different areas, we are constantly improving all of our policies and consider them an evolving playbook rather than a dusty booklet never read after day one:
Every General is appraised not just on the quality of their output but also on their commitment to D&I. This includes how they treat others, how they contribute to improving the diversity of the company and how their actions support diversity through network effect. As leaders of the company, we also ask everyone to hold us accountable to our efforts.
Having a voice
We have overhauled our policies to build a justice system which encourages people to speak up through using the language of justice rather than the language of grievance. This includes an anonymous platform for people to raise any microaggressions that they might not otherwise feel comfortable raising.
Seeing the whole picture
Our diversity statistics are measured in real time rather than quarterly dips and they are open source so anyone can view them at any time. We also have a quarterly inclusion survey so that we can see the whole picture as both sides of diversity and inclusion are so intrinsically linked. Both sets of data are shared with the company each quarter and all senior management are held to account on the achievement of these KPIs.
Training and education
We actively encourage the Generals to keep learning. We have a time code dedicated to learning and activism so that if Generals want to read, listen to podcasts, go on marches or write to their MPs they feel encouraged to do so. We have an individual education budget and an internal resource to share our reading and cultural recommendations. We have a cultural calendar and have pledged that 50% of our speakers and cultural events will represent the diversity of the cities that we work in.
We ensure our work is representative of the population and since our launch have looked to tackle subjects such as gender diversity and homophobia in the work we do. We have always measured the diversity of our work (lead characters) but we don’t rely on casting alone. We look to ensure diversity from briefing and insight stage, removing unconscious bias from the system, for example, through choice of storyboard and animatic casting. We check any sensitive work with partner consultants and through specialist research with the audiences involved.
Diversifying our talent
We have worked closely with a small number of recruiters to diversify the talent coming into the industry. We have Lucky Breaks, our intern scheme, which finds young talent and then looks to overcome barriers to entry by providing a flat (The Barracks) for the duration of the internship as well as paying for travel.
We have also paid close attention to induction schemes and entrance interviews to ensure that we support all forms of diversity by understanding how to get the best out of the Generals through reasonable adjustments to their workspace and their preferred working process.
Our supplier lists have been reviewed to ensure diversity and check our supply chain for any links to racism. Our triple bid process always includes a diverse mix and we encourage our clients to make a decision based on the value of the impact rather than the lowest value.
We are looking at how we can effect change through the work we do, understanding that there is an intersection between climate change and racism, with climate change having a disproportionate effect on POC.
The existing D&I initiatives outlined above have been in place to some extent for a number of years and are an important pillar of our company culture. What’s changed is taking collective responsibility and holding everyone to account rather than a small number of people driving all the change. We are also taking steps to ensure we’re as inclusive as possible through the introduction of a justice system, through our inclusivity survey to sit alongside our diversity stats. We have always done D&I training but this now includes personal education which comes with a budget and a timecode to really encourage everyone to get involved. Our work has always pushed diversity and inclusion but we are now encouraging this to move further upstream.
Things have changed and there’s now a collective desire to move forward with urgency and action and a huge amount of momentum behind us. We have added to some of our workstreams and every General is now involved but most of our framework was already in place.
BAME pay gap
This is the first time we have published it and so haven’t seen as many to be able to benchmark within our industry. It’s significantly worse than our gender pay gap, but then we have a significant number of female leaders within the agency which is now a diversity focus for us.