The announcement that the “straight, white, middle-aged men” who claim that they were forced out of the JWT will proceed to the Employment Tribunal, is a timely reminder that changing a business culture is a challenging exercise which needs to be considered carefully.
There is now significant evidence that a more diverse workforce not only leads to a happier culture but it also improves business performance. There is also no doubt that achieving greater diversity is a significant challenge which the sector as a whole needs to address.
However, a diversity and inclusion programme will only succeed if it sets out a shared goal which everyone is committed to and accountable for. There are no quick wins. Creating the right environment for change requires you to start by accepting and recognising where you are, whilst critically assessing how you have got there and what you can change in the future.
Any intervention needs to be well communicated, remembering that the purpose is to level the playing field. It's important to help the majority understand that (however it feels) they are not being disadvantaged. Fairness, equity and inclusion does not always mean that everyone should be treated the same. To those in the minority, the changes mean there is encouragement; better understanding of the opportunities; and a commitment to developing the necessary skills and confidence to be considered for the next promotion.
We will be discussing this in more detail at our breakfast seminar on 28 February 2019 on Advertising & Marketing - Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Has it done any good? And will ethnicity pay reporting follow? To join us get in touch with our events team.
For more information about our experience on changing business culture and diversity and inclusion see a-lasting-change
The straight, white, middle-aged men who claimed they were forced out of J Walter Thompson as part of a diversity drive are taking the agency to an employment tribunal.