Building A Diverse And Inclusive Agency Environment
Diversity and Inclusion – two words that we probably hear on a daily basis, and high-priority themes that are often emphasized in many companies.
Whilst the two words are used interchangeably, they don’t actually mean the same thing. Having a diverse workforce means that companies are made of employees from a variety of cultures, religions, sexualities, genders, ages and ableness. An important distinction to note is that a diverse employee environment does not automatically correlate with inclusiveness. So, what are we doing across various offices at ForwardPMX to ensure we are working towards greater diversity and inclusion? Read on and you’ll see!
Back in 2018, a DIEO (Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunities) committee was set up in to facilitate ideas and initiatives that build on our culture and continue to develop a level playing field of opportunity for all. We are made up of volunteers from our UK office, who are passionate about building an inclusive working environment, creating opportunities and reducing barriers.
Whilst diversity is only part of the end goal, it creates necessary pathways for us to have a more inclusive workplace, and therefore, have a positive impact on the business overall. There are studies to show that gender diversity is correlated with both profitability and value creation, (McKinsey 2017) as well as research to show that ethnic and cultural diversity is correlated with profitability (McKinsey 2017). Working in this direction can only lead organizations of all types to a positive outcome.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
This month we ran Google’s #Iamremarkeable training event in our London office, and we will also be rolling out the program to North America – it’s an initiative that focuses on empowering women and underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond. The initiative motivates participants to promote themselves in front of peers and management, thereby breaking gender-related modesty norms and glass ceilings.
Recruiting Diverse Talent
We’ve also made strides as a business to recruit talent from a diverse talent pool, our latest efforts being the launch of our Apprentice Scheme in our London HQ in January 2020. The scheme offers 18-year olds plus the chance to gain work experience and build core skills within our global business, as well as be supported to achieve professional qualifications and accreditations. We now have four apprentices working with us in different departments across the business for 15 months. As well as working, the apprentices are studying for an NVQ in Digital Marketing.
At our EMEA summit last year, two of our TogetherFP committee members, Sonalie Ohrie and Sophia Parsons, ran a breakout session on unconscious bias. The session was meant to raise awareness of our own biases, understand how they influence our decisions and to question whether we make the best choices when it comes to ‘people decisions’. This is something we will be re-running this year to revisit the discussion in our EMEA offices.
After a successful two rounds of our mentoring program in the UK, we have just announced the third round due to launch later this year. The scheme is designed to support the professional development of our employees, as well as assisting with our diversity and inclusion programs to ensure equal opportunities as well as new opportunities for everyone.
These are just a few of the small steps we are taking at a regional level, with an eye towards the future for creating more initiatives across the global organization.
Even companies that are rated best for their diversity and inclusion practices can likely agree that there is always more to be done. There are many small acts that we can all undertake every day to get us one step closer to a more inclusive culture. It starts at the bottom – be aware of our biases, and work together to make sure we are treating our colleagues and teams fairly regardless of their backgrounds. If we start with this and build out from here, we can be on the path to improving our employees’ experiences.
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