Diversity Case Study Series: OMD

Diversity Case Study Series: OMD
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B&T’s holding an event in 10 days (!) called Changing the Ratio. It’s an event to promote diversity, inclusion and equality in our industry, and we think it’s pretty damn important.

Which is why we’re not just holding a one-day event. We’ve got a Diversity Centre too – in a tab on the Changing the Ratio website right here.

All you have to do it make a log-in and you’ll find yourself drowning in a wealth of super useful, mind-blowing information surrounding inclusion and diversity.

Making a log-in is free, BTW.

One of B&T‘s favourite things about our Diversity Centre is the case studies – which show agencies how they can do better by taking a closer look at companies that are leading the way.

So we’ve decided to create a series! First up on our case study hit list is OMD, which is doing a ton around gender equality and diversity.

Be warned though: we’re only publishing a snippet here. So to read more – go make a damn log-in!

Equality, diversity and inclusion has been a key business focus for OMD since 2013, resulting in many culture awards, including B&T’s 2017 Women in Media’s Agency of the Year award.

Gender equality and flexibility

Martin Cowie, people and development director at media agency OMD, said there has been a concerted effort to focus on gender equality initially because they operate in a young, predominantly female industry, which is predominantly male at the top.

“We were losing 75 per cent of our mothers when they went on maternity leave because they needed a work/life balance that they didn’t think they could get at OMD – or even in the wider industry. We needed to make it a career for life,” he said.

Aimee Buchanan, now OMD’s CEO, was one of the company’s four managing directors when she went on maternity leave in late 2015. When navigating the paperwork around maternity leave and government payments, as well as all that comes with being a new mother, she realised that the transition to maternity leave and back to work needed to be made much easier.

“I knew that if I was having problems with it, so must many other new mums,” she said.

So OMD created and distributed its (very excellent) booklet, What to expect when you’re expecting, for all staff, providing information and tips about where to go, who to talk to and what paperwork was required. They also doubled OMD’s paid maternity leave from two to four months and launched a flexible work program for all staff, not just for those with family commitments.

The company now has 62 per cent female staff and 64 per cent of its executive team are women. Buchanan said it has always been about talent first, and they are conscious about getting diversity right. To that end, the whole executive team attended unconscious bias training.

Other diversity and inclusion initiatives

Cowie said that OMD has rolled out a few other initiatives that support diversity and inclusion. These include:

  • Sponsoring Me.Mo, the media industry’s LGBTI society
  • Ran a Facebook campaign to attract indigenous staff
  • Created a reconciliation action plan and joined the industry organisation Media Ring to achieve a goal of employing more indigenous staff
  • Have had 20-30 inspirational women in leadership roles come and talk to staff about their journeys
  • Used a specialist agency, Job Support, to find and hire a young woman with a mild intellectual disability

Introduced ‘Kidsmas’ which is a Christmas party for children of employees (amongst other family-friendly events), thereby acknowledging the importance of families to its employees.

Read the full case study here – but make a log-in first!

Changing the Ratio will be held on May 28 at Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre in Surry Hills. Grab tickets here, and for all other information, head to the website.

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