How To Unlock Creative Potential: The Secret to Diversity and Inclusion in Creativity
As part of National Inclusion Week, Creative Equals has launched the new Creative & Media Equality Standard in the UK and Australia. This is a real game-changer for the industry and has so far highlighted why some groups progress, whilst others don't.
Says Ali Hanan (left), CEO and founder of Creative Equals: "By unpacking this, creativity can begin to see who we're inviting to the table - and how diverse talents can achieve their full potential within our businesses."
While the marketing and communications industry have focused on putting standards in place for creative work with the 'Unstereotype Alliance' (launched at Cannes Lions 2017) and with the new Advertising Standards Association on gender, this is the first standard to show just how to 'unstereotype' teams - and the onlystandard that goes beyond gender to include every aspect of diversity.
To gain these insights, the Standard has two views across workplace culture, people and equality. One looks at a company's HR policies, practices and behaviours, whilst the other asks staff for their experiences (across gender, BAME, age, LGBTQ, ability, neurodiversity and wellness diversity) and compares and contrasts the data points.
The Standard deep-dives into everything from how briefs are written, to who gets to work on them - and also looks at the output. By understanding the end-to-end process, the data shows how bias influences systems, and consequently, who may be more likely to succeed within the system.
Says Hanan: "By understanding what goes on for different groups, we can easily identify simple actionable steps to create more equality on the creative shop floor. We hear that most companies understand why they'd like to change, but now how - the standard gives them an understanding of where they're at and the actions they can take"
Here are seven emerging trends so far:
• Fathers in leadership roles are the most likely group to suffer from stress and burn out
• Most companies don't have a system for vetting briefs and work through a 'diversity lens', leaving creative work at the potential risk of 'missing the mark'
• 75% of job ads skew as being 'extremely masculine' as the majority of companies have yet to put a system in place for writing inclusive job ads
• Maternal retention rates after two years run at just a quarter of those going off on maternity leave
• Men and women are put on gender stereotypical brands, with men working across most brands, but women mainly on the beauty, food, retail and travel brands so 'stereotypes' are played out on the creative shop floor (before the work even gets made)
• Most briefs are not looked over to be 'gender neutral', so while the Advertising Standards Associations legislation - coming out later this year - will have an impact on the work, creative companies need to understand how their process can lead to stereotypical briefs
• BAME creatives are the group most likely to strongly disagree their company is committed to diversity or have visible role models within an organisation. While their sample pool is limited, Creative Equals believes only 8% of creatives come from a BAME background.
Says Hanan: "Diversity and inclusion starts with the data. This understanding is gold dust and shows companies immediate quick wins and longer team actions. The fact is that implementing change won't happen overnight - change is incremental: sometimes tiny details can make a huge difference. For example, changing seating plans so feedback and informal mentoring and sponsorship happens on the shop floor is low-cost, but high impact. Ultimately, the Standard provides a company with a detailed set of tangible measures, from the top to the bottom, year-on-year. With this knowledge, we can start to creative diverse and inclusive cultures from the inside out and we can remove blocks for certain groups, foster diverse and inclusive workplaces and truly unlock the potential of creativity."
Says Richard Robinson, managing partner of Oystercatchers: "The Creative and Media Equality Standard is a diversity and inclusion rating, review and road map for companies. 'Finally, there is a credible and hard-working solution for companies to harness the power of diverse talent and their benefits to businesses."
Says Bec Brideson (left), Creative Equals' Australian partner: "Launching the Standard isn't just the right thing to do morally, it's the only smart thing to do when you look at it economically. Getting culture right internally equals creating the right culture that we as creative and media industry leaders influence, externally."