Media company, GroupM, is launching a number of new initiatives, starting from today, in an effort to solidify diversity in the workplace.
GroupM CEO John Steedman outlined the new changes at the company’s ‘Lean In’ event in Sydney this morning. To GroupM, diversity doesn’t just mean gender. It encompasses all aspects of life; race, religion, sexual orientation.
The iniatives were thought up by GroupM’s NCo, a group of staff who find ways to create a better company culture and help increase the retention of young staff.
“It’s essentially a set of topics pertaining to our business that we believe, well they believe, that we could do better in terms of how we handle ourselves,” said Steedman.
“Ensuring diversity within our business is not a feel-good exercise. Diversity is an important ingredient for success in any business, by bringing different perspectives and experiences to the collective effort. As such, we are excited about these initiatives put forward by our NCo star achievers and I truly believe they will have an incredibly positive impact on our business and that of our clients.
“The improvement of our parental leave policy follows an extensive benchmarking exercise, and we can confidently say it represents a best-in-market policy. We are applying a tiered system, with new policies exemplifying a 30% to 130% increase in paid parental leave from what was previously offered. We’re really excited about the opportunity to ensure we are retaining and attracting the best talent in the media industry.”
Drawing on the hot water GroupM found itself in near the end of last year when it was revealed one of the Group’s agencies, Mediacom, had overcharged some clients, Steemand praised the Group for its handling of the situation.
“We’ve had some tough times as an organisation over the last few months,” he said. “I think we’ve taken the right approach as an organisation. We’ve been honest, open and transparent, not only with our clients, but with you guys in terms of reporting what is going on.”
The initiatives launched include:
- Maternity and paternity leave policy: increased to 16 weeks’ paid leave for women (from 12 weeks), and four weeks for men, to improve the transition from parenthood back into the workforce.
- GroupM Path Sponsorship program: a new outcome-driven sponsorship program in which promising young individuals are partnered with a ‘sponsor’ – a senior person within their agency, who will then be held accountable for the sponsee’s training and development.
- The Floor is Closed initiative: to address the misconception that part-time and remote workers don’t produce the same level of output as their full-time colleagues, GroupM will close the floor in a symbolic gesture to demonstrate its commitment to creating flexible workplace conditions, and help all employees realise their potential and ability to work remotely. For one day in April, GroupM employees will not be showing up to their desks and instead will work remotely with the goal of learning that their output doesn’t rely on the hours they sit at their desks.
- Childcare Centre: recognising that it is more expensive to put a child through daycare than it is to put them through university, GroupM is investigating the creation of a GroupM childcare centre to enable its people to easily return to the workforce after they have children.
Lead image: (From Left): Lauren Turner, John Steedman (GroupM CEO), Maile Carnegie (managing director Google Australia), Nicole Sheffield (CEO NewsLifeMedia), Ariel Riskind, Kathryn McIntosh.