From inclusion to belonging: a review of the year in recognition

From inclusion to belonging: a review of the year in recognition

Published on December 19, 2018

At Beyond, we’ve made some progress we are proud of. We’ve been on a journey in the past few years — especially when it comes to diversity, and more recently inclusion — and we’ve been sharing our most recent steps through our blog. As the year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the last 12 months, celebrate the successes and look to the future, where our ultimate goal now sits, to create an environment that facilitates belonging.

What we can say

We’ve made lasting, measurable strides forward, and won multiple awards. Our excitement does not come from the accolades, but because our progress marks real change and helps others find their way. We are leading the way for agencies on our approach to agile working, support for working parents, mental health awareness and many more. We’ve challenged our status quo, and encouraged others to do so. We’re very proud of this, and over the past few months our overarching aim for D&I has slowly come in to focus.

Our aim is to remove exclusivity and barriers, and encourage new thinking and perceptions. It is not about race, gender, or age — it is about people.And without our people being their most creative and innovative selves, we are nothing.

How we do this

We democratise D&I across our organisation, to avoid bias from any level — including those at the top. The systematic identification and removal of barriers throughout our organisation is high on our agenda, and no one barrier receives higher priority. A D&I council ensures inclusion and consideration is given outside of business needs.

We have also seen a phenomenal increase in female representation on our senior leadership teams across our organisation. We accomplished this through a mix of organisational design revision, promotion from within, and attraction of talent. At the very top, we have as part of our group C-suite; Jenai Marinkovic CTO, Francesca Kimbell CMO, Karyn Pascoe CCO, and Chairperson Judy Gibbons. In our efforts to encourage a more inclusive approach, Fran fulfils her role in a part time capacity, allowing flexibility as a working parent with young children.

Additionally, we have a number of initiatives aimed at elevating minority groups internally, as well as giving them clear routes to entry. Building upon our foundational implicit bias training, these include, but are not exclusive to:

Women in tech — Beyond supports both junior and women in tech. We have seen a 13% increase in female engineers at Beyond through our efforts around women in tech.

#iamremarkable — An empowerment initiative originally for minorities, but now for all voices in Beyond, which our community supports in partnership with Google.

Leaving Loudly — We believe in a voice for parents in the agency world, and Beyond has seen a 26% increase in working parents. Need to go to a school play or the doctors? We want you to be there too.

Agile working practices — Flexible working is not just for working parents. We are progressively becoming more flexible with location and hours to accommodate our diverse workforce.

Squiggly career paths — We encourage employees who are interested in reskilling and exploring new career paths, and help them find their way,

Flipside — Beyond has partnered with 5 other international agencies to deliver a programme to elevate those from lower socio-economic backgrounds within creative agencies. Watch our video.

A Better tomorrow. Mental health is something that affects all of us, with one in three people suffering from mental health issues. Using a product created by one of our own product strategists, we are helping to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and encouraging awareness throughout our organisation. Here is a short video for an initiative that extended across both sides of the pond to encourage people to both empathise and feel empowered to say “i’m not ok”

Antibias — As an output of one of our unconscious bias trainings, a small team came together to build a new recruitment tool, Antibias. The chrome extension anonymizes LinkedIn profiles, in order to reduce unconscious bias when screening job applicants, by hiding things like photo or name. The tool is currently in testing and will be launched to the public in the new year.

External Recognition

We’ve been shortlisted for Best D&I Strategy by the EE awardsD&AD Impact for our flipside programme, we were finalists in the categories of ‘Best Onboarding Process’ and ‘Best Employee Appreciation Initiative at the Digiday Worklife Awards, we’ve received the accreditation of “Best Companies to work for” with a 3 star “extraordinary” rating , won the Variety Catherine awards for female empowerment to name a few from this year alone. For this reason we believe we’re heading in the right direction. We’ve also received industry praise for our agile working practices and support for working parents in a sector that has previously stated much in words but done little in practice.

What’s next: a focus on belonging

In our next phase, we are looking to create a sense of belonging for our teams. We recognise that no two people are the same, and that treating everybody the same will only result in fairness — it will not help those around us play to their strengths, or create a welcoming, supportive environment for all.

Belonging sums up the feeling we want our team members to have. We want them to feel supported to do their best work. We want all to trust that our frameworks and structure are designed to elevate all of our people, and to create safe spaces for challenge and disruption without detriment to others. We want our processes to remove bias, and to give bespoke support to those who need it, when they need it. We understand this is a lofty goal, and it may time to accomplish. But we are determined and will keep all posted on our progress along the way.