Top 5 Diversity investment tips for Creative Leaders post Brexit

As budgets tighten in Adland thanks to continued economic uncertainty, it should not mean that agencies stop investing in diversity. Here are five things that leaders can still do tomorrow without putting significant cost on the bottom line:

  • Start somewhere — get everyone in the management team to do the unconscious bias training and get them to commit to doing one thing in the next 6 months to change diversity
  • Challenge your recruitment agencies — recruitment consultants are going to be quiet this summer. As might your Talent Directors. Now would be a good time to review your PSL and put diversity at the forefront
  • Train your staff to be hackers — if everyone can make a small difference, it is likely to make a big difference to your business
  • Hire an apprentice tomorrow. Livity’s Digify and Source’s Digital Future’s programme would be good places to start.
  • Send your CDs to CS Mumbai in November

This list was originally produced in response to a feature that The Drum were doing on creative messiness that can be found here. Here are my full answers to those questions:

What would you say to agencies and agency directors who may be wary of ditching the status quo and adopting a “messier” process to client briefs?

Most agencies will be telling their clients everyday the need to innovate and to experiment. Yet most creative departments in London very much reflect those that existing in the likes of DDB back in the 1960s. It’s time for creative departments to start recognising that it is time for change and the only way to do this is experiment. Rather than change everything overnight, take some of your briefs and try a different way of approaching them. Pull in new people. Change the process. At the moment most agencies have a one process fits all and I just don’t think this is the future. Irrespective let’s start as an industry practicing what we preach

How can the ‘leadership issue’ be addressed by agencies so they can benefit from diversity?

Almost 48 per cent of participants agreed that increased diversity was likely to create more arguments, how can encouraging debate like this be harnessed by agencies to create better work for clients?

The client-agency dynamic has been evolving for some time now, how would you like to see things change long-term?

Far more collaboration with clients. We need to recognise that the client not only knows their business better than agencies but most of the time will be more connected to its customers. Which means that we need to find ways to share ideas earlier in the process. Having the ECD as the gatekeeper for ideas is increasingly becoming out-dated.

Do you think the Brexit vote will have an impact on diversity if agencies have to rethink recruitment plans?

Even before Brexit, I think the number of agencies paying more than just lip service to diversity were few and far between. There is a real risk that for even those that had committed to invest stop doing so, especially those in networks where short term profitability targets make it hard to make medium or long term investment. However I truly believe that those that do invest will be the ones that come out of the mess of Brexit far stronger.