GroupM Agencies Progress Disability Action Plan Through Partnership With Amaze Autism To Drive Neurodiverse Inclusion

GroupM Agencies Progress Disability Action Plan Through Partnership With Amaze Autism To Drive Neurodiverse Inclusion
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

GroupM agencies EssenceMediacom, Mindshare and Wavemaker have announced a partnership with Amaze, an organisation dedicated to creating an autism-inclusive Australia.

This collaboration marks a significant step in the progress of GroupM’s Disability Action Plan (DAP), launched a year ago as part of the company’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programme, Better For All.

GroupM joined forces with Amaze in 2023 to support the development of the A-Plus Inclusion program and is now one of the first companies in Australia to roll out a pilot. This education programme, designed with Autistic people, provides organisations and teams with practical strategies to create a more inclusive workplace culture and environment.

GroupM hosted an event on its Melbourne campus this week during Neurodiversity Celebration Week to kick off the partnership and the rollout of the A-Plus Inclusion pilot programme.

1 in 6 people in Australia is estimated to have disability, while 48 per cent of working-aged people (15-64) with disability are employed, compared with 80 per cent without a disability. The media industry is under-represented and GroupM’s Disability Action Plan, which launched in 2023, was the first of its kind in the industry and designed to tackle this. It outlined 16 action points aimed at making GroupM more accessible and inclusive for people living with disabilities. Now in Year 2 of its DAP, GroupM has made important strides through building visibility, education and awareness, as well as policy and process changes that support accessibility. From simple things like adding an accessibility question to travel forms to enable reasonable adjustments requests, updates to our Reasonable Adjustment Policy, recruitment and onboarding processes, and building audits for accessibility, Seven of the action points have been completed, 5 more are in progress, with several longer-term actions in motion.

“Our Better For All DEI Strategy is about identifying areas of improvement across all dimensions of diversity and then developing plans and partnerships that solve for these areas and shape policies, programmes, and behaviours that create an equitable workplace that celebrates diversity of all kinds,” said Scott Laird, GroupM chief people officer.

“The partnership with Amaze and the A-Plus Inclusion pilot programme represent significant milestones in our journey towards becoming a neuro-inclusive workplace, and the A-Plus framework can support other organisations across the media communications industry”.

Alexandra Lazarus-Priestley, chief change officer from Amaze was part of the event to discuss the A-Plus pilot and share lived experiences. “We’re thrilled to team up with GroupM on this journey and excited to launch the pilot across the agencies. Over the past year and a half, we’ve been deeply engaged with both the Autistic and business communities to develop a program that empowers managers and People & Culture teams to drive meaningful change for Autistic and neurodivergent individuals at work. What’s even better about this? We know that what supports neurodivergent people at work often benefits everyone. Let’s make work environments better for all,” she said.

Amaze is also working with other organisations to scale the pilot to support more neurodivergent Australians to be able to find and maintain employment in inclusive workplaces across the country.

Amaze and GroupM were introduced through EssenceMediacom Performance Manager Gordon Geraghty who is an Amaze A-Plus advisory board member and member of GroupM’s DAP Committee who is neurodivergent and autistic himself. He’s a passionate advocate for supporting neurodivergent individuals and organisations.

“When I first received my diagnosis, it with negative expectations. But it was also liberating. Being open about my neurodiversity at GroupM has helped me and others feel safe and welcomed. I’ve volunteered with Amaze for many years now, and I’m really proud that together that we have created a pilot programme that will support both neurodivergent individuals and organisations to establish inclusive hiring processes and accessible workplaces where they can succeed,” Geraghty said.

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