Ten tips for how to encourage diversity in your business

Diversity is an urgent ideal for many creative companies. But how can it be achieved? Here, as part of our New Year New You series of articles with advice on how to kickstart your work life and creativity in 2018, Diana Tickell, CEO of the advertising and media industry body NABS, offers ten tips for creating a truly diverse workforce.

Diversity and inclusion seem to have been largely accepted by our industry as a positive aspiration, as they should be. It is so important for us to reflect our society within the content we produce. But how can we ensure we have a similarly diverse workforce providing us with insights to do this?

NABS recently held a panel discussion that looked to answer that exact question. Diversity is one of our core values and we wanted to bring together progressive leaders to discuss diversity within our industry, share their experience and insight and champion what has worked for them, so it can be embraced across adland and further.

Included on the panel were Karen Blackett OBE, Chairwoman, MediaCom UK; Melanie Eusebe, Executive Producer of WoW at the Southbank Centre, and Chair of the Black British Business Awards; Mark Creighton, CCO UK & Ireland, Dentsu Aegis Network; and Suki Sandhu, Founder and CEO of Audeliss, OUTstanding and Empower. From their insights and the discussion we have pulled together a list of ten steps that both businesses and individuals can do to take action to improve diversity and inclusion.

1. Borrow credibility

Work with organisations that can help you bring in diverse talent, like Audeliss, Go Think Big and Rare Recruitment who have a commitment to connecting exceptional people from diverse backgrounds with the right positions.

2. Make sure you have a balance of candidates

Think of every new role within your organisation as a new opportunity which could change the dynamic of your team, and when shortlisting candidates try and make sure you have a fair balance of varied candidates.

3. Learn from others

Our industry has ‘The Diversity Taskforce’ which focuses on providing better opportunities and helping to improve behaviour around diversity and inclusion. The taskforce allows members to share, learn and build on their diversity initiatives whilst working with other organisations on the same journey.

4. Set targets

If you want to be an advocate of diversity and inclusion you should set out targets within your business to ensure you are stretching yourself and measuring your success. Make sure you are holding regular meetings to discuss the progress you are making and address any issues you may have encountered.

5. Appoint somebody

Diversity and inclusion may be seen as the responsibility of all senior management within your organisation, but it helps to appoint somebody in your company that can work alongside all leaders and take action to ensure targets are reached.

6. Share & listen

Everyone has unique perspectives and experiences. Sharing stories and listening to others can help individuals come together, support one another and empower each other to put diversity into action. As an organisation you can also learn a great deal about your own culture and the barriers you may have inadvertently created in achieving diversity.

7. Look internally

Sometimes our culture can be one dimensional. We need to start actively thinking about our current culture and assess the people we have in our organisation. Think about the events we host and whether they appeal to all of your workforce and, if not, think about adding variations to ensure inclusion, e.g. host family events.

8. Believe in group power

We are much stronger in groups and can make an enormous difference if we all collectively do something to create a more diverse culture in our organisations. Whether that is through a programme, launching a network or hosting an event.

9. Do what works for you

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to diversity and inclusion. But what is important is that you just do something, no matter how big or small, to create a workplace and an industry culture that celebrates uniqueness and difference.

10. Carry on the conversation

And finally, carry on the conversation so it is always on the agenda and you are always thinking of ways to improve your diversity and inclusion initiatives.; Top image: iStock Photo/istrejman