In a world where workplace dynamics are evolving faster than ever, remaining static is no longer an option for marketing and advertising agencies aiming to attract top-tier talent. This was the key focus of shEqual’s panel discussion held last week in Melbourne called "Culture to Content: Igniting Change in the Workplace."
The session, organised by Women’s Health Australia’s brand, shEqual, shed light on transformative insights that have the potential to reshape the way the advertising industry approaches policies that support gender equality from the inside out.
Below are the key takeaways:
Don't Be Afraid to Push Boundaries
Agencies need to push boundaries in response to the evolving demands of the workforce. Gone are the days when offering remote work options or free coffee could set a company apart. These have become baseline expectations. To truly stand out and draw in the finest talent, agencies must embrace a spirit of audacity and originality. By championing diversity and inclusivity, integrating wellness programs, and nurturing an environment that fuels creativity, companies can distinguish themselves in a fiercely competitive market.
Involve Your Team
Advertising agencies seeking to implement employee well-being policies need to hear from their employees! It is all too common to see agencies advising their clients on the importance of internal communication strategies yet failing to implement these recommendations themselves.
The traditional top-down decision-making process often overlooks the unique challenges and needs of the workforce. Active participation of employees in shaping policies that have a direct impact on their lives is paramount. This approach not only nurtures a sense of ownership but also ensures that initiatives resonate with everyone in the company.
Gender equality should be at the centre of workplace culture
Employees - regardless of their gender - need to feel supported and encouraged to balance their professional and personal responsibilities. That can only be achieved when an agency puts gender equality at the centre of its culture.
For example, parents, both mothers and fathers, should be encouraged to leave loudly when they need to pick up their kids - they don't need to hide these commitments! By doing so, we normalise the equal importance of caregiving for all genders.
Additionally, implementing family-friendly policies, like generous maternity and paternity leaves, can be a game-changer, offering crucial support to women who aspire to have children while maintaining their careers. These policies not only empower women but also aid in retaining valuable talent, ensuring a more inclusive and equitable workplace for everyone.
Finally, agencies should provide men in their workplace with the opportunity to be active allies in the pursuit of gender equality, emphasising that feminism transcends gender boundaries.
Be the Change You Want to See
Success stories and case studies highlighting the positive outcomes of employee-centric policies hold the power to create genuine transformation. When agencies genuinely prioritise their employees' well-being and actively showcase the resulting benefits, it inspires a domino effect of positive change. It’s also why events like "Culture to Content: Igniting Change in the Workplace" are important. They serve as platforms for various players within the industry to get together, exchange insights, and ultimately kickstart a new workplace movement.
In summary, the evolution of the workplace has come a long way thanks to a kick-start from Covid around remote working. But across the advertising industry, a recent report in partnership with shEqual and RMIT shows the industry is still a work in progress. We are in a time of exciting change, and the industry needs to lead by example.