Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at FleishmanHillard UK
FleishmanHillard believes all companies benefit from a diverse workforce.
For our business specifically, bringing together a team from diverse backgrounds with divergent perspectives is critical for our ability to understand and reach our clients’ rich, diverse, global audiences.
Diversity helps us better understand the world around us and enriches our thinking with a multitude of lived experiences. This helps us to tackle client challenges in unique ways.
At FleishmanHillard UK, we are striving to achieve our vision of being “the most diverse and inclusive agency in the UK”. This means we’re fervently committed to ensuring our work and the workforce that delivers it represents and reflects the society in which we live and delivering equality for all.
We are the only PR and creative agency in the UK to have achieved accreditation by the National Equality Standard, the Government-backed benchmark for best practice and we have a significant programme, moving at speed, focusing on making our business as welcoming and actively supportive as possible to people from all communities. It’s a fundamental part of our business strategy.
Below, we have summarised some of our actions to date, all of which is driven by an internal team, dedicated to each intersecting agenda:
For the ethnic minority community
We were the first communications agency to partner with RARE Recruitment who specialise in attracting ethnically diverse candidates. We have overhauled our graduate recruitment scheme to widen our reach and appeal to Black and Brown candidates and we are committed to increasing representation at all levels of the business. We have also partnered with the Taylor Bennett Foundation to that end.
We are a proud supporter of the PRCA Race and Ethnicity Equity Board (REEB).
REEB exists to create both immediate and long-term proportional racial equity in public relations and communications. Its mission is to create long-term cultural change that enables Black and ethnically diverse professionals to thrive. For more information and to read about REEB’s goals, visit the PRCA website.
We are members of the Black Comms Network. The mission of the group is to increase the seniority of Black PR and communications professionals of African or Caribbean heritage in the UK and to champion change in our industry.
They provide learning and resources, inspiration, and peer-to-peer networking to empower their members to claim their space. We are proud to sponsor one of their November ‘Content, Community and Comms’ events, the ‘Black Men in PR Panel’.
We have ongoing education programmes for staff to raise awareness of other people’s lived experiences. These include Lunch & Learns, an Ethnic Minorities Network, and the FH blog series. We also have an African Caribbean Network (ACN) employee resource group and a mentorship programme.
For gender equality
To support women and their journey into leadership positions, we have been a long-standing member of Omniwomen. This is a multi-agency initiative focussed on training, development, networking, sponsorship and inspiration for women on their progression into leadership.
Our Deputy CEO was the 2019 Co-Chair of Omniwomen UK and hosted a leadership Summit on International Women’s Day for 450 senior females and our MD of Brand Marketing has developed training and events this year for women at all stages of their career.
We voluntarily calculate and communicate our gender pay gap data each year and have gender-neutral policies with flexi-time and remote working for all.
For the LGBTQ+ community
One of our Diversity Champions is the Co-Chair of Open Pride, a multi-agency employee resource group focussed on championing and supporting this community. Additionally, we carry out pro-bono work for Openly, the LGBTQ+ news agency that provides “impartial LGBTQ+ news for a world that isn’t.”
We also partner with MyGwork to attract LGBTQ+ candidates.
For people with Disabilities and Hidden Disabilities
We have formed a partnership with Zebedee, a specialist agency that supplies diverse models, to work together on brand campaigns. The agency represents more than five hundred models, including people with disabilities, alternative appearances and trans/non-binary people.
We are conscious that a significant number of our staff have hidden disabilities, so we go to great lengths to make reasonable adjustments as best we can. We encourage our staff to share their challenges with us, free of fear, so we can support them.
We are accredited Disability Confident Committed (level 1) from the government’s Disability Confident scheme. The Disability Confident scheme provides employers with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace.
One of our team is also a Committee Member of Open DisAbility, a multi-agency employee resource group to help people who have disabilities thrive within the firm. Via Open DisAbility, our team are able to join training sessions on accessibility via their partnership with Readability.
For those from diverse socio-economic groups
We’re conscious that our industry is dominated by people who are privileged in many ways, and often very overtly through their education.
We are committed to attracting candidates from a broader socio-economic group which is why we are the most active agency in the Public Relations Consultancy Association’s Schools Outreach Programme.
We run a programme called Residency which we launched with the support of Youth Marketing Agency Livity.
Residency gives people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to spend time getting the feel of what we do via paid work experience to supplement our commitment to Apprenticeships.
Additionally, we provide Speakers for Schools. To ensure against bias, we do not ask for CVs as part of our application process for our graduate scheme. The selection for an interview is based entirely on the merit of the applicant’s submission.
FleishmanHillard UK is a founding sponsor of Socially Mobile, a Community Interest Company (CIC) that delivers free training courses to PR practitioners from lower socio-economic backgrounds, as well as under-represented and under-served groups including Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority practitioners, women returners and those with disabilities.
Its syllabus, comprised of courses taught by top PR practitioners, is designed to develop the career prospects of its students and to create a pipeline of talent to make the public relations industry more representative and diverse.
For parents and those with caring responsibilities
We have Family Matters, a series of support and commitments to make the balance between work and home life easier. There’s free emergency childcare for those who need it, flexible working hours (for all), the freedom to work remotely and for people who return to work after maternity or paternity leave or long-term ill health, career coaching to help them adapt.
For those with mental health challenges
We recognise that our mental health can be impacted by our personal lives as well as the fast-paced nature of our industry. We all have mental health and FleishmanHillard has made a huge commitment to supporting everyone within our walls.
The FleishmanHillard UK Mind Guide contains step by step advice on what to do if someone’s not feeling OK or sees someone else not coping. This is supplemented by support from our trained Mental Health First Aiders. We acknowledge that mental health can be affected by work so Line Managers play an important role in supporting people in their day to day working life to get the work-life balance they need.
We also have a Podcast ‘CultureCast’ which enables individuals to connect across the agency about their mental health and the little things they use to find positivity in their lives.
There’s access for all to talking therapy services including psychotherapy via our private healthcare scheme and Employee Assistance programme as well as a year-round wellness initiative called Culture Club Calm to help manage everyday stress, sleep and nutrition.
One of our team is a member of the cross-industry group of PR leaders forming the PR Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter Committee.
For older workers
PR is often thought to be a young person’s profession. At FleishmanHillard, we actively encourage older people to apply for roles. We’re delighted to have a number of valued team members who are 50+.
We actively encourage people who have been out of the workforce for some time to return and offer coaching and support when needed. Our Family Matters commitments mean if our staff have caring responsibilities beyond parenting, they are free to flex work and caring for their needs.
Our recruitment policies
All of our recruitment and hiring policies have been audited by EY as part of the National Equality Standard Accreditation to ensure they represent best practice and reduce bias from beginning to end of the journey.
Supporting career development
Our commitment to equality means that we strive to always be fair and unbiased when it comes to talent management, performance evaluation, pay, recognition and progression. Our annual FleishmanHillard Census shows us where we are under-represented.
We have a Career Guardian Scheme which is designed to address that. Those who have protected characteristics and are also part of an underrepresented group will be eligible to request a ‘Career Guardian’ of their choice from the senior leadership team.
The role of a Career Guardian is to have another layer of impartial oversight of career progression, on top of the already extensive, multi-dimensional approach already in place, putting in further checks to ensure that any decisions made relating to pay, progression, performance and selection for development opportunities are made fairly, without prejudice or bias.
For our clients
We believe the strongest and most enduring relationships are built on mutual trust, honesty and respect. We have created a Client Charter, a joint commitment to Diversity & Inclusion between our clients and us. With all our new clients we invest in our relationship with them, take the time to understand their needs, partner to deliver real value, and support them with the finest expertise from across our global network.
An inclusive culture
Diversity cannot be achieved without an inclusive culture. People need to want to work for us, they need to feel that they will be accepted for who they are and feel safe. This means the way we behave towards each other must be warm, embracing, informed and respectful.
At FleishmanHillard, Leaders’ objectives are pegged to our DE&I performance and their own behaviours so they lead by example. We make unconscious bias training a requirement for all and our Shadow Board has helped to craft our ‘Regs’ – the ‘regulations’ for behaviour at FleishmanHillard UK that underpin our culture.