Mindshare UK is passionate and determined to make sure we are the most inclusive agency in the UK. Diversity and inclusion drives business value for us and our clients, and we aim to demonstrate that in all that we do.
WPP has been working on a sponsorship programme for under-represented talent which will be launched for Mindshare, focussing on BAME talent. The programme matches senior leaders with a more junior underrepresented sponsee and tasks them with using their influence and network to unlock tangible opportunities around development and promotion within their own organisation.
The purpose of the programme is to address issues around:
Retention of diverse talent
Progression of diverse talent into senior roles
The inequity in historical relationships that can lead to career opportunities
Roots 90-day Plan
Mindshare Roots was founded in 2018 as an Employee Resource Group (ERG) with the aim of achieving greater ethnic and cultural diversity at Mindshare and WPP in particular, and the broader creative industry in general. Year on year, we have worked to make Roots embedded across the agency.
Although Roots typically focuses on BAME employees, under the current state of emergency surrounding black lives in the US and across the globe, a 90-day action plan has been created that will bring about swift, meaningful change that is long lasting, practical to deliver and fully measurable specifically for the black talent at the agency.
It includes rolling out a three-tiered mentorship programme, made up of mentors, coaches and sponsors to support the rapid career development of black professionals in the agency and the introduction of safe space conversations around understanding microaggressions. In addition, we have renewed our unconscious bias training and hosted black history Netflix watch parties, to drive education and discussion around the black experience. The responsibility to develop and deliver the action plan falls on everyone at Mindshare. It requires a concerted effort across the senior leadership team, HR, marketing and comms planning, Roots and every individual in the agency.
To tackle the issues outside the agency, we have rolled out a black community PMP to ensure black audiences are adequately targeted and to support black owned websites and publications. This follows work done out of our US office where we have launched a similar PMP. It addresses the issue of unintentional defunding of black community journalism. This happens as, in an effort to avoid their brand appearing alongside topics or content that could be potentially inflammatory, stories of hard news and underrepresented voices wind up unintentionally flagged and demonetized by exclusion lists, despite consumer interest, with words like "dope" or "bomb" flagged as stories about drugs or violence, even though they're everyday jargon in black culture.
We currently use the Applied platform to help us create a fair and unbiased process for our future talent by stripping back all information about the individual. In addition, we access GroupM training on conscious hiring, aimed at breaking down the biases in our hiring process from a hiring manager perspective. The session explores biases that impact the process and how our unconscious bias influences this, explains equality in hiring and reasonable adjustments and actively helps participants identify techniques to hire consciously. We are constantly looking at different or more advanced ways of accessing a more diverse range of candidates to supplement this.
Global Inclusion Council
Karen Blackett, GroupM UK chief executive, and Demet Ikiler, GroupM EMEA chief executive, have both been selected as members of WPP’s recently announced Global Inclusion Council. This is part of our ongoing commitment to anti-racism, and will help accelerate change throughout GroupM and the WPP network. The purpose of the council is to advise WPP’s executive committee. They will give a voice to underrepresented groups at the highest level of WPP, and recommend programmes, policies and initiatives that will systemically create more inclusive and diverse workplaces. They will provide input on leadership succession, remove barriers to progress and assist in setting aspirational targets for elevating under-represented talent. The members of the council have been chosen to reflect the breadth of WPP globally but also the world we live in.
A new interactive allyship session looks at the importance of allyship and who needs it. It reflects on the wide range of underrepresented groups that we need to support, but it’s currently focused on our black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues. It delves into microaggressions, with practical tips and suggestions on how to avoid being a bystander when they occur and how to respond appropriately. The training also encourages our staff to reflect on their own privilege and how they can use it to become a more proactive ally.
Racial and ethnic diversity training
In specific response to BLM, we are making available racial and ethnic diversity training to all staff. Three specific courses cover: Black Lives Matter – the journey to anti-racism, unconscious bias, and racial and ethnic diversity. More courses will be added in the coming months to ensure there is continuous learning on the topic.
Mindshare has committed to 10 pledges outlined in an open letter coordinated by Creative Equals.
Mindshare prides itself on putting our people first and have worked hard to develop a culture which is consciously inclusive of all. This starts with our recruitment – and in particular our entry-level talent schemes – but continues throughout the agency. We continually check in with our staff through belonging surveys and ongoing mandatory training to ensure that we are a business which serves to serve everyone.
Equal opportunities policy
Mindshare is committed to providing equal opportunities in employment. This means that all job applicants, employees, suppliers and customers of the company will receive equal treatment regardless of race, colour, ethnic or national origins, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, disability or any other grounds of unlawful discrimination. All existing and new positions and promotions within the company are open to anyone, the sole criteria being the individual’s ability to perform the job in question.
Mindshare is based in the heart of London within a diverse and multicultural community. We constantly strive to value everyone, employees, clients and suppliers as individuals and respect the richness that diversity brings to the organisation and our business. We aim to treat every individual with dignity and respect and hope our approach helps to promote social inclusion by drawing on the unique talents, skills, knowledge and experience of our people. In conjunction with our equal opportunities policy we aim to combat discrimination and also strive to ensure equality of opportunity in all aspects of the working environment.
We offer training, guidance and advice on how to encourage diversity through the implementation of company policies and by promoting a positive working environment.
Acts of discrimination and harassment on grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origins, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age, disability or any other ground of unlawful discrimination by employees will result in disciplinary action.
We have long since scrutinised our recruitment processes to ensure that they are inclusive. Which is why we have trialled and used the platform Applied to help us create a fair and unbiased process for our future talent by stripping back all information about the individual and so removing bias from the application process. We also ensure that we have a diverse panel of assessors during assessment days. Re-designing the system has already delivered clear results.
Future talent programme – Mindshare Evolve
Our apprentices form a core part of our entry level recruitment and we have unearthed some of our best, most exciting talent through scheme.
Mindshare Evolve is a future talent programme in which we mentor A-level students and offer them work experience where they are fully emerged into the Mindshare family. At the end of the programme the students can apply for an Apprenticeship at Mindshare.
We are very proud that our programme attracts a diverse range of talent to our industry, and over the past three years 54% of students have come from a BAME background vs an industry average of 16.9% (IPA agency census 2018). Mindshare Evolve has also achieved a diversity in gender as over the last three years 59% of students were female and 41% male.
We continue to ensure Mindshare is accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds and pride ourselves on making Mindshare Evolve industry leading.
Unconscious bias training
We have unconscious bias training for all staff
To ensure that Mindshare is a place that works for everyone, we ran an agency-wide Belonging survey at the start of the year that has influenced our approach to diversity and inclusion at every level. This month [August 2020] we will discuss the results and outcomes with the agency. We hope that this will give us insight on exactly what we need to tackle to ensure our initiatives are directly addressing areas of need. The survey is totally anonymous, and the information is used only for the purpose of providing needed meaningful insight to enable Mindshare to work for everybody.
At the start of the year, MindShare Roots defined a new approach to driving meaningful diversity through the agency. Based on three key pillars of attract, retain and measure, our aim has been to widen the recruitment pool to attract graduates from different ethnic backgrounds and educational disciplines – through the above programmes. Once onboard we aim to support them through the meaningful mentorship program, to increase retention. We know retention is multifaceted and will require sensitivity training for senior leaders and line managers. We will also aim to empower everyone to speak up and speak out if they or a colleague are being treated unfairly through a series of “Courageous Conversation” sessions, and a confidential feedback loop. To remain accountable, the final pillar measures our success at attracting and retaining talent from a BAME background and will be linked to the pay gap analysis project.
BAME pay gap
Our holding company WPP, in partnership with GroupM, are currently looking at the ethnicity pay gap data. This is a huge project requiring new systems and validation of data. Any data that is shared will be done at a group level by WPP.