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Lee Coles Shares 12 Ways to Bring Diversity into Your Creative Agency

Diverse agency
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Diversity is a hugely important topic in today’s business world. Companies large and small are beginning to recognise the ways in which they need to expand their company’s care for different races, ages, genders, and ethnic groups.

Creative agencies are only one example of businesses that need to diversify. Many businesses do not know how to make their companies more diverse. Lee Coles shares 12 ways to bring diversity to your creative agency, explaining how diversity can make your company stronger.

1. Open Up Hiring Procedures

Hiring is probably the most important aspect of diversity. Ideally, companies will hire a wide variety of races and ethnic groups. Unfortunately, many companies are still considered part of the “old boys’ clubs,” where middle-aged white men are the dominant force.

Transparency in the hiring process is also an important step to take. When everyone knows exactly what skills are needed to do the job, they will have greater faith in the fairness of the hiring process.

This is also true when working with freelancers. In creative media, there is a slew of greatly talented freelancers. Opening up criteria can help the process of working with new talent much easier.

2. Give Creative Control

When you are deciding who should be project leaders, give creative control to your diverse team whenever possible. This will enable them to find their voice and to bring their different lived experiences to the table. Giving creative control will give your company more credibility among different parts of the community. It will also let your team know that you value everyone’s contributions.

3. Build an Inclusive Culture

Some of the methods that will help you build an inclusive culture include setting up a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination. Your creative agency should also consider making accommodations for people with physical impairments. People’s religious needs should also be taken into consideration, with equitably paid holidays for different religions.

4. Look Past Education Requirements

One of the methods that can help companies become more diverse is by requiring fewer strict requirements for education levels. Posting a job that requires a master’s degree, for example, can shut out people with the experience needed to do the job well. It is not necessary to close off jobs based solely on the university they went to. Nowadays, it is a lot easier to build up your own online personal brand and showcase your work and portfolio.

5. Avoid Gendered Language

Many businesses are male-centric in their hiring language. Make sure that your hiring materials are as gender-neutral as possible. This will help to encourage women and LGBT individuals to apply for jobs at your creative agency.

6. Look at Applications Without Personally Identifiable Information

When screening applications, it is a good idea to have some redact the name and address. This will help you look past the person’s gender and ethnicity and consider applications purely on their merits. When this process is equitable, you will be able to find talent in unexpected places.

7. Rethink Composition of the Workplace

Creative agencies already offer a diverse atmosphere. Each area whether it be big or small, has people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences. This should allow your business to further grow and diversify. Understanding what each person in a team brings, can help you rethink workplace regulations and composition.

8. Eliminate the Gender Pay Gap

Fair compensation is the first step toward empowering women and minorities. Helping to reduce the gender and ethnic pay gap will go a long way toward keeping your employees happy. Creative agencies that are truly dedicated to inclusion need to fight against discrimination by making sure that equal pay is given for equal work.

You’re probably thinking, “but my company isn’t a corporation!” or “We hire mostly freelancers.” This is a great opportunity to fully value what each person working with your company is bringing to the table. Eliminating the gender pay gap would greatly benefit freelancers as well.

9. Value Different Contributions

Letting everyone have a place at the table is crucial. Everyone on your staff needs to know that their opinions count. Allow your colleagues to give their true thoughts about what is going on within your company. If the team has valid concerns or complaints, you need to follow up and investigate. You will also need to take the appropriate actions to ensure that the problem is solved for the future and does not have a chance to repeat itself.

10. Eliminate Stereotypes

Stereotypes are an insidious way for discrimination to seep into the workplace. When directors have stereotypes in mind, they may not choose certain staff members to work on their projects. For example, female employees may be stereotyped by believing that they can’t concentrate at work because they are worried about their children. This may keep directors from giving women important assignments.

11. Allow for Employee Growth

Offer your employees opportunities to grow in the workplace. Give your employees the space they need to develop new skills. Be sure to hire from within when filling new positions. Allow vertical movement, letting people work their way up to positions of more responsibility. This can enhance the work environment within your agency.

When working with freelancers, this can become tricky. However, you can have them lead more projects, or even offer them an in-house position should one become available.

12. Treat Employees as Individuals

Many creative agencies continue to segment their workplace by demographics. Instead of classifying employees by gender, age, and ethnicity, begin to look at your staff based on their own merits. Be open and honest, and respect everyone.

Diversity is a Process

Diversity does not happen overnight. It takes a true paradigm shift within a company to make diversity a priority. When following these 12 tips, creative agencies will have better success in making their workplaces a safe space for diverse members of the community. Lee Coles understands that diversity can be challenging to put in place but encourages all companies to do so.

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