Quebec ad agency boosts DEI efforts

'Managing talent cannot be a siloed effort, but instead has to account for the needs of employees in their roles and in their homes'

Quebec ad agency boosts DEI efforts

Publicis Groupe Canada has launched a series of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives for 2022 founded on four key pillars: education, outreach, talent management and giving back.

"As we reflected on the state of our industry, and so many others, it became clear that more needed to be done internally, but also that our actions could serve as a catalyst for the wider advertising industry," says Stephanie McRae, head of diversity and inclusion at Publicis Groupe Canada. "Since the preliminary launch of the mandate, our efforts have already proven successful, with exciting new long-term partnerships in development and positive feedback related to swift policy changes and updates that speak to the needs of our people today when they need it."

The mandate sets a new standard for human resources and professional development, according to the company, and builds on the employer’s efforts last year.

In 2021, the company instituted an employee volunteer day policy. The agency will also launch an innovative skills development program for young Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) creatives interested in the advertising industry in collaboration with the key training partners.

Last year, Publicis Groupe increased employees’ access to mental health benefits to $5,000 annually across the board. It also added more targeted supports, including up to $50,000 per lifetime in support of gender affirmation care for transgender employees and increased fertility treatment supports.

In September 2021, a law firm in Ontario started offering its workers gender affirmation coverage, providing $10,000 per year for the program, available to both firm members and their family, up to a maximum of $50,000 per person.

Publicis Groupe also audited its health benefits policies to include a 100-per-cent salary top-up for the first six weeks of parental leave, and instituted flexible meeting policies that factor in the varying responsibilities of employees' home lives.

"Support for employees through boosted mental health policies was a no-brainer," says McRae. "Managing talent cannot be a siloed effort, but instead has to account for the needs of employees in their roles and in their homes – especially today."

The company also launched “This Is The Job,” an outreach initiative for Black, Indigenous and racialized teens and young adults to educate, inspire and encourage them to consider a career in advertising. The program aims to address the lack of diversity within the industry, marked by an absence of diverse decision-makers, and the knowledge gap among leadership and among underrepresented racialized groups.

Officially launched in December 2021, the program highlights 25 possible job types within the industry, and matches students to the optimal opportunity for them based on a questionnaire.

Previously, Google Canada announced a $600,000 commitment to provide free digital skills training to Indigenous job seekers across Canada.

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