BLM response: MullenLowe Group UK Posted on

Originally published in Campaign Live on 15th September 2020 here.

Our response to Campaign’s ‘BLM Response’.

New initiatives

In the immediate aftermath of the events, we focused on supporting our employees of colour, through safe space groups run by IPG and reinforcing our commitment to create an anti-racist culture.

We have had an active diversity and inclusion council for some time, but the events in May inspired them to come up with a fresh approach to creating change across our agency, focused on three main areas: our people, our work and our clients.

This led to the creation of a Diversity & Inclusion Charter, which we are launching across the agency next week and to our clients over the following month. The purpose of the charter is to lay out a series of aims, strategies and commitments that we, our clients and our suppliers will sign up to, so that all of us become accountable in our determination to make meaningful change.

What have we put in place within the agency?

a) Training
We have committed to educating our people to recognise their own unconscious biases and to actively challenge discrimination. We now run bimonthly all-agency “lunch & learn” sessions focused on diversity and inclusion education, including training sessions on active allyship with Hustle Crew and inclusive and diverse casting with The Eye Casting Agency.

We have developed and delivered an “Be Inclusive” module for our in-house management training programme and our D&I council is in the process of developing a microaggressions training module with the aim of building a more inclusive environment for our BAME talent.

b) Hiring
We have set both all-agency and business unit targets for increasing the proportion of BAME employees within our agency.

To help us reach these targets, we have developed inclusive hiring training with mandatory participation for all hiring managers. The training takes hiring managers through adjustments in how we find and engage new talent, helps them recognise their unconscious biases and teaches them how to adjust their interview style to remove affinity bias.

We are the first creative agency to be working with Movement to Work, offering 12 young people from across the country (who are currently not in education, employment or training) a week’s virtual work experience this month.

We are about to launch Suckers: our creative internship programme aimed at young people who would normally find it difficult to break into the creative industries.

c) Monitoring progress
We recently launched a biannual “Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging” agency-wide survey to understand in much greater detail the people who make up our agency and to get feedback on how they feel in terms of inclusion and belonging. The results have highlighted areas of strength and weakness, and we’re now working with the groups amongst whom we’d like to perform better to develop targeted inclusion strategies.

What are we doing to ensure our creative output is diverse and progressive?

We have kicked off a process audit to ensure that diversity and inclusion are prioritised at key stages of strategic and creative development. Where there are challenges that may prevent us from achieving our goals, we are creating a system to identify, review and escalate the issue.

We are also launching a review of our PSLs [preferred suppliers list] to ensure we are working with a variety of diverse suppliers; this includes actively building our network of directors and crew to ensure we are adequately representing women and people of colour both in front of and behind the camera.

How are we involving our clients in this?

We will offer all our clients bi-annual reviews of creative output on their brands to evaluate the ways in which it represents people. We will jointly agree areas of improvement, set goals, and work together to achieve them.

Existing initiatives

  • At the beginning of this year, we began a partnership with Creative Mentor Network, mentoring and working with young people from lower social economic backgrounds.
  • For the last 18 months, all entry-level hiring has been done without the use of CVs to help us ensure the process is as fair and unbiased as possible.
  • We are proud to have had a founding role in the Unsterotype Alliance initiative and we will continue to champion the learnings with our teams.
  • Over the last two years, most of our entry-level recruitment has been focused on bringing apprentices into our agency.  We were part of the IPA working party that developed the new junior creative standard. We will continue our commitment to bringing in new diverse talent by bringing in six new apprentices at the end of this year.

BAME pay gap

We are committed to ensuring we report on our BAME pay gap within the next 12 months.