Our commitment to diversity
Several weeks ago, our whole team took time away from social media to participate in Blackout Tuesday.
It was a collective decision to help raise awareness about Black Lives Matter, as well as a starting point for us to do more to promote greater diversity in our business, our industry, our country and our world.
It was only a small gesture we know, but each of us is aware we have benefitted from white privilege and we know, we need to do more.
Recently, we took time out to better educate ourselves, to listen and to also reflect on what’s in our power to influence – both as individuals and as a group.
We came together as a team to examine our business and our approach – discussing ways in which we can use our privilege, our position and our individual networks to call attention to the diversity in all its forms, including race.
And we shared ideas about what would become “Our Commitment to Diversity”.
Our Commitment to Diversity
Our Commitment to Diversity is inspired by our ‘WIRED’ core values. The W stands for “We, not I”, and the D stands for “Do the right thing”. They matter to us, because they’re ingrained in all of us.
Our commitment centres around four key pillars, which we’ve developed as a team. They are:
We commit to constantly learn about diversity in all its forms, to challenge each other and to grow our understanding of diversity issues.
So, to achieve this, we’re launching a new Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group (DISG) to lead on our commitment now and in the future.
Open to everyone in our team and led by Anna Williams, our passionate and committed account manager, the DISG will lead and inspire our business and members of the team to do more to challenge systemic issues in our industry and communities.
Through our DISG we’re planning to launch a team Diversity Education Programme, which will help all members of our agency (and we hope, by extension, our families and friends) to widen their reading, listening and watching habits around various elements of diversity in all its forms.
Initially, we’ve created a calendar of awareness days, podcasts, documentaries and books to help further educate us on BAME issues, whilst also encouraging wider discussion within our team.
We’ll also hold diversity-focused sessions and content sharing meetings around BLM and other existing and emerging diversity priorities.
Championing diversity in our communities and our industry
We commit to playing a leading role for SMEs and other agencies like ours in the field of diversity and inclusion, providing a voice to diverse groups that are often not heard.
Moving forward, we intend to work to rally the consciousness of likeminded SMEs and agencies like ours in the North West, including our industry peers and partners. We’ll work towards finding new ways of collaborating to raise awareness, and tackle the challenges faced by diverse groups in the North West.
Our priority is to find a way to improve the ratio of BAME to white people in our industry (currently 8%/92%), as well as ensuring our policies are reviewed annually to guarantee we are at the vanguard of shifting national diversity and inclusivity policy.
We’ll do this by reaching out to diversity groups (locally, regionally and nationally) to better understand the issues, challenges and barriers faced by individuals with aspirations to work in our industry and with us.
As a starting point, we’re intending to offer free advice/webinars and practical support to BAME-led SMEs in the UK, as well as launching a campaign that enables them to use our services and expertise affordably – and seek to roll this out to other diverse groups in time.
We’re still in the process of organising the logistics of this, but will use our social channels to update on this over the coming weeks and months.
We commit to building BAME and diversity into our own business and supporting charities and groups that champion diversity in our communities.
Starting now, we are proactively inviting more BAME businesses into our supply chain and will roll this out to other diversity groups in time. We have already begun our work on this but will build on it as we make further inroads into the relevant groups and communities.
For the remainder of 2020 (and in years to come) we will champion inclusive charities and set aside volunteer hours to help with their causes. We also pledge to raise funds for campaigns that offer opportunities and support to BAME communities and other diverse groups in the UK.
We commit to offer BAME and graduates from under privileged areas the advice and opportunities to break through and thrive in our industry.
As a starting point, we are reaching out to offer our support to national organisation The Taylor Bennett Foundation, which helps more BAME graduates pursue a career in communications.
And on a more local level, we are speaking with schools and colleges who operate in under-privileged or high density BAME areas to inspire and encourage BAME young people into the world of PR and communications.
In time, we hope to create internships that remove the barriers to our industry and our company.
We know this will take time, but there’s a saying that a journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step. This is our first step, but it’s the first step in a journey we’re committed to for the long term.
We’d rather create change that is lasting and meaningful than quick and ineffective.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll implement the foundations for this commitment, whilst looking to build and establish new relationships and partnerships to help with our bigger goals. It might take time, but we’re working towards a better future.
As an agency, we won’t be passive observers. We’ll challenge the status quo and be part of the change.
We will loudly and proudly champion causes that truly matter; causes which we all believe in and want to support through our daily thoughts, words and actions.
And that starts now.