BLM response: Havas UK
17% of permanent staff are BAME
Following the initial Black Lives Matter protests in May, we shut the (virtual) office and asked all our people to take a day of reflection and solidarity. The purpose of this day was for all of us to contemplate our roles in improving racial justice and diversity in and outside of our business, to take personal action or to do whatever we felt best served us as individuals, our personal journey, our loved ones and our communities.
Off the back of this, we asked our people what they wanted to see happen and what they needed. Two early outcomes of this have been a history series prepared with expert partners to help educate our people about the history of race relations in the UK and black history in particular, and the formation of an executive sponsorship team comprised of BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of colour) and female leaders within the business to drive forward our commitment to evolve our D&I charter, now in its fourth year.
These actions are the latest steps in a long-term commitment to diversity and inclusion. We established a group-wide D&I charter in 2017, and employed a dedicated D&I manager, Bukola Garry, a year later. Driven by Garry, we have devised and implemented All In – an ongoing programme of training, education and tangible actions and policies. We’re currently working with anti-racism experts to develop this programme further as we move forward. One initiative currently in development is to establish recruitment partnerships to explicitly target black talent at all levels – not just entry level. There is much more in the pipeline – this is a long-term, ongoing commitment, and it’s never going to be a case of "job done".
Our All In programme comprises numerous initiatives aimed at furthering diversity and inclusion in all its guises. These include:
- All In ambassadors – a collective of people, including leadership, within the Havas network – that provide "on the ground" D&I knowledge and focus on curating our events and initiatives to best support underrepresented groups.
- All In Workshop – exploring the topics of bias, privilege, identity and language and an All In book – a reference point post-workshop.
- "Understanding D&I" – a client-facing workshop.
- All In Podcast – comms platform demonstrating courageous conversation about D&I topics linked to nine protected characteristics.
- All In Alphabet – video series exploring core D&I themes and ideas.
- Moving forward, leadership will have specific D&I related KPIs.
- We actively target black suppliers as part of the creative process (i.e Looks Like Me)
- We support black businesses via our "Fishtank" incubator programme. We host 10 black start-ups in our office and provide a 12-month personal and professional development programme, which includes helping them to prepare for pitches to receive investment. One such business to come out of this programme is socially-powered video platform Dose of Society.
- A partnership with Blanguage (also hosted in our building), whose expertise and experience lies in curating authentic experiences that are rooted in black culture and celebrated within diverse audience groups, always ensuring an inclusive outlook. They provide a creative council on internal and external briefs and RFIs.
- Partnerships with our local authorities (Camden and Islington) as part of their STEAM programming, aimed at raising awareness to BIPOC talent entering the industry.
- A 12-month professional mentoring programme targeting black, Asian and people of colour from the local area at the point of transition, in partnership with Copenhagen Youth Project.
- A partnership with the Creative Mentor Network, who additionally are now based in our office.
- HKX Platform – our entry-level, three-month placement scheme specifically targeting underrepresented talent, including the BIPOC community, to gain access, experience and a network within the communications industry.
- Havas Doorway – a series of one-day events targeting underrepresented communities in schools, college and community groups to raise awareness of the industry and the opportunities it presents.
- Press Pause – an anti-discrimination initiative that provides a robust, formal framework through which employees can challenge problematic views and behaviours. This includes internal exchanges as well as those with clients and suppliers.
- We amplify BIPOC voices through our Havas Stories exhibition and panel series. These points of stimulus provide readers and listeners with a lens of what BIPOC people experience in the workplace. It is also a platform of visibility for our BIPOC talent.