We still have work to do: progress on our DE&I commitments

We still have work to do: progress on our DE&I commitments

We believe that one of our key differentiators is not what we do, but how we do it. We aim to inform the right business strategies with intelligence built on true, unfiltered, human perception across the globe.

This June, we reach a critical milestone for our agency, and we are living and working in a time where the mandate is clear—the world of business must adapt or get left behind. The past year changed what performativity versus real inclusion look like, and expectations of brands, from both consumers and employees, have been forever changed—for the better.

With the world beginning to redefine our ‘new normal’ we thought it was imperative that we take a look at how we, and the world have risen to the challenge.

Hate crimes against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have risen at an alarming rate. We stand against racism, hate and violence. We recently joined the pledge to “Stop Asian Hate” with the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing and are actively engaging with our team in education, resource sharing and key actions we can take to ensure a safe environment for our colleagues.

As we mark a year since the murder of George Floyd, we continue our agency’s journey to widen and deepen our focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. We acknowledge our role, as a business, as individuals, and as marketers, to create equity and inclusion for the AAPI community, Black and Brown people, and all people of color.

Just under a year ago, we set out an ambitious agenda to pursue becoming a best-in-class inclusive agency with a pioneering DE&I practice. Today, we are taking stock of those commitments, not to take a victory lap, but to hold ourselves accountable to our own ideals.

We’ve made a lot of positive progress across our careers, work and culture.

Our Careers: Building a more diverse, more equitable agency

  • Our inaugural class just completed the Diversity Fellowship program, and our newest class is onboarding now. Each Diversity Fellow is paired with a seasoned supervisor and a mentor with tenure in the agency. Diversity Fellows’ day-to-day work includes a mix of direct client and internal-focused work that allows their passion for DE&I to be at the center of their experience.
  • Recruited and hired more people with diverse backgrounds. 67% of hires across the last year increased the racial diversity of our team, bringing with them new experience, skills, and perspectives.
  • Appointed a formal Diversity Champion in a position of Leadership with dedicated time committed to mentor, guide, and advocate across the team.
  • As part of our annual compensation process, we reviewed and analyzed internal and external benchmarking data to ensure equity and fairness across our compensation and promotion process.
  • Created a steady drumbeat of formal and informal professional development and training opportunities for our staff across all facets of inclusive marketing best practices, increasing resiliency, understanding bias, and creating inclusive work environments.

Our Work: Doing our part to avoid symbolic annihilation and stereotypes in media

  • Invested in training that increased our team’s ability to deliver work for our clients with diversity and inclusion at the forefront, rather than an afterthought.
  • Provided clients with timely, relevant intelligence and perspectives to guide their own decisions with DE&I top of mind.
  • Built accessibility best practices into our playbooks and standards for content creation and distribution.
  • Updated our language guides to remove hurtful or legacy language that could be harmful to traditionally marginalized communities.
  • Received Gold Distinction in the Diversity & Inclusion category of the 2020 Shorty Social Good Awards for our work with Google for Startups to amplify the voices of underrepresented founders.

Our Culture: Striving to be a network of true allies, not of performative allyship

  • Centered our culture on inclusion. Our Perspectives Leadership team (comprised of 26% of the agency across all levels) guided regular and ongoing programming, including honest, sometimes difficult conversations. Our monthly “book reports” series and Perspectives discussions provided opportunities to share our learnings and examine white privilege, race, sexual orientation, cultural differences, human rights, gender equality, and mental health.
  • In our annual employee engagement survey, our team provided radically candid feedback and we were pleased to find that the majority of our team felt we were delivering on our promise on two key metrics, “Leaders at M+M value different perspectives” (88%), and “My office values diverse perspectives” (87%).
  • We fostered new network connections, including connecting M+M staff with employee resource groups across the larger FleishmanHillard and Omnicom networks (Black@FH, OPEN Pride, FH Mosaic and similar)
  • We strived to give our employees space to process, to grieve, to mourn, to discuss, to take a breath when the world feels like it’s upside down and work is the last thing they should care about.
  • We developed a mental health “Mind Guide” and an ongoing drumbeat of mental health resources and flexibility for employees to take the time when they need it, no questions asked. Our four Mental Health First Aiders, who are trained to support employees in crisis, continue to work 1:1 across the team.

These milestones have been highlights of the year for us that we are grateful for. But we’re behind on achieving our ambition on:

  • Auditing our work processes, the “how we work”, for gaps and blind spots, and filling those with external partnerships and experts when necessary. We made some progress in pockets, but not nearly where we’d hope to be.
  • Building partnerships with external non-profits and participating in pro bono work. We are behind in identifying and activating these partnerships in 2021.
  • Putting our DE&I Council in place. We’ve identified the key players, built the charter, and have the framework ready to go. Now we need to make it happen as this is an important step in putting checks and balances in place across the agency.

We recommitted to our plan for the year ahead, and are continuing to do the work:

  • Continue to expand our vision of inclusion – Including perspectives from the areas of neurodiversity, people with disabilities, gender and gender expression, family status, educational background, and more.
  • Scale the talent pipeline – Ensuring we do our due diligence to identify and bring in even more candidates with diverse backgrounds and experience into our recruiting and hiring practices.
  • Measure our efforts – Codifying our goals and key success metrics enables us to assess our progress to become an innovator within the space, and to hold us accountable.
  • Create a DE&I network – Building relationships with internal and external partners to bring our DE&I commitment to life and enrich our efforts across all areas of careers, the work, and our culture.

We’re especially grateful to and for our Black, Brown, Hispanic, Latinx, and AAPI colleagues’ willingness to share their own lived experiences to increase understanding and widen our individual and collective perspectives as an agency.

We’d like to thank our team for their continued commitment to openness, honesty, and holding us accountable. And for their patience as we work through this journey together.

Managing Directors of Methods+Mastery,

Brandy Fleming
Gwen Foutz
Marc Matthews