IMA-HOME &Me 2023 round up
Join us as we reflect on the work our internal ED&I group, IMA-HOME &Me, has done in 2023.
At the start of the year, we launched IMA-HOME &Me. The agency’s first team dedicated to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
The team is made up of ambassadors across six core workstreams who check in monthly to assure ED&I considerations, efforts and actions are front of mind, not just on key calendar dates, but every day. We checked in with them all to reflect on the year gone by...
Race & ethnicity
Addressing topics of race & ethnicity within agency life is a big task, and we know there’s a long way to go. This year, we started to work towards being a more inclusive and diverse workplace in this area, which began with sharing research on recruitment, benchmarking and reporting on current agency demographics. We also shared a questionnaire internally, focussing on understanding the appetite to learn and areas of future knowledge-sharing that we could focus on.
In October, we prioritised education to mark Black History Month. We covered the topic of allyship agency wide, curated a directory of Black History Month events taking place around our offices and honoured this year’s theme of ‘Saluting our Sisters’ by sharing the contributions, achievements and lives of black women via resources, links, books and more.
We also had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Nigerian-born Labour Councillor, Abigail Marshall Katung, to understand what Black History Month means to her, sharing her successes and her advice on the intranet with colleagues.
54% of the people who make up IMA-HOME are women, so this year we’ve placed a focus on them, looking at the ways in which we can support women in the workplace and beyond.
We recently announced that we are one of the first companies to be involved with Careers After Babies, an organisation that was set up to create a world-class cohort of employers who are committed to supporting working parents through their transformative accreditation. An accreditation we’re proud to be on our way to acquiring. Supporting this journey that we’re on, we also developed our own Maternity Playbook, taking inspiration from the wonderful organisation, Bloom North. Our Maternity Playbook maps out exactly what the expectant mothers can expect to happen pre, during and post mat leave, so there’s one less thing to worry about.
We have also committed a lot of time this year to educating ourselves on the Menopause, and what this means for women in the workplace. To mark Menopause Awareness Month in October, we hosted a menopause talk with an external expert, all centred around creating positive conversations around menopause. With the team’s learnings, we then developed our Menopause Playbook, outlining the ways in which we can support people during this time. Menopause is not just a women’s issue, so we also hosted our first Menopause Café, welcoming anyone and everyone to join, share stories, ask questions and learn in a safe and supportive environment.
Earlier in the year, we also had the pleasure of welcoming The Boobettes, who are part of CoppaFeel, to talk all things boob health. Made up of a group of volunteers, they use their own personal experiences to inspire others to think differently about their lives and bodies, educating people about the importance of getting to know your normal now, and making it a lifelong habit.
There’s often a misconception that the creative industries are elitest, a misconception we want to disprove and change. We’ve made a real effort this year to reach people who may not ordinarily find us, starting with removing ‘having a degree’ as a requirement from all job specifications. We don’t believe this should be a barrier, and have proof that a lack of degree doesn’t stunt growth or success. We have an ongoing blog series called INdustry, where we share stories of all the unconventional ways people from around the business made it into the industry.
We have also spent much of this year connecting with students through various initiatives, to make the next generation of marketeers know about all of the options available to them. We became one of the first partners of the Upriser programme in 2023. Started by Saatchi & Saatchi UK, Upriser is a partnership between creative businesses and local schools, that is designed to inspire and engage students. We also opened our doors to local students in Leeds and London as part of the IPA careers programme, Advertising Unlocked, where we gave the students a brief to get stuck into. Their creativity was next level! Finally, in November we attended the Leeds Creative Skills Fair for the second year, getting the opportunity to chat directly with future talent about all of the roles and avenues into the industry.
Another huge milestone for us in 2023 was launching our apprenticeship programme, ensuring that we not only celebrate alternative ways into the industry, but actively foster them.
This year, we wanted to make sure we were encouraging a welcoming and inclusive culture, starting with our offices. We implemented and signposted gender-neutral toilets in our work spaces, a small gesture that could have a big impact on how accepted or comfortable someone feels when at work.
We also shared guidance on how everyone can opt to include their pronouns on their email signatures. Not only does this display externally that we are inclusive of everyone and acknowledge gender identity, but it also helps in letting the person receiving the email know how to address the sender.
For pride month, we again used this as an opportunity to inform and educate. Across the month, we curated posts of helpful resources, safe spaces, charities to support and learning & development opportunities. We also hosted agency wide sessions, delving into the history and importance of pride, rainbow capitalism and how we can help our clients get involved for real, in non-superficial ways.
Back in June, we achieved accreditation as a Disability Confident Employer, a significant milestone in our journey towards being more inclusive and accessible to everyone, including current and future employees. Becoming a Disability Confident Employer signifies that we are dedicated to providing a supportive and inclusive workplace for disabled people. We are committed to:
- Championing Equality: Actively promoting diversity and equality, ensuring that every member of our team is treated with respect and fairness.
- Removing Barriers: Identifying and removing any barriers that may prevent disabled employees from reaching their full potential within our agency.
- Supporting Our Employees: Offering tailored support to disabled employees to ensure they can thrive in their roles.
- Promoting Inclusivity: Actively challenge negative attitudes and misconceptions about disability in the workplace and beyond.
Over the last few months, we have been on a journey of education and discovery. Accessibility and Disability Confidence is often steeped in misconceptions and taboos, so we’re equipping ourselves with accurate and useful insights that we can further put into action.
Parents and Carers
We pride ourselves on being people and family first, so have undergone reviews of all our policies this year, to make sure we have the measures in place to support.
Our policies are shared openly to provide transparency and comfort to anyone who needs them. Following our policy review, we have updated existing ones in place to make them stronger, and identified gaps that allowed us to develop and launch new ones. We recognise that everyone’s journey is different when it comes to starting a family, so we wanted to have the policies in place to acknowledge this. These new policies cover IVF, pregnancy loss and neonatal.
Being a parent doesn’t stop once the maternity and paternity leave is over, which is why we’ve launched our Parent Carer Community - a support network for those with the responsibility of being a parent or carer. As a group we host coffee mornings and swap shops, small moments carved out in the working day to provide feedback, help each other out or simply vent to someone who gets it.
This group was also the driving force behind out new ‘Life Moments’ initiative - created to acknowledge that some milestones, personal or family related, are just too important to miss. Perhaps it’s your child's first day at school, they have a nativity or it’s the big sports day – if you need to flex your working hours to accommodate, we’re fully supportive.
2023 has been a great year of progress for us, made possible by all of the people at IMA-HOME who are passionate and committed to making positive change. We can’t wait to build on these foundations further in 2024.