The inaugural Ad Tech Inclusion Summit arrives at The Telegraph Media Group headquarters on 6th December. A timely addition to our industry calendar, founded to bring together industry professionals to promote and foster greater diversity and inclusion in advertising technology.
2017 has been full of watershed moments in many industries, from the creative professions to politics, and our hyper-connected world is raising awareness about previously silenced issues. But after an imbalance is acknowledged, what steps can be taken to improve the future of a given workplace?
One of the many important topics that will be discussed on 6th December is gender equality – specifically, how can Ad Tech companies today go about closing the gender gap in the C-suite? Of course there is no “silver bullet” method for redressing the composition of senior executives, however there are 5 steps that any organisation can take to foster equality at all levels:
Engage young talent
Raising awareness about career opportunities in Ad Tech that are open to apprentices or graduates is a foundational first step to ensuring that the talent pool is inclusive and diverse. By piquing the interest of people that may not otherwise consider entering the field, organisations attract fresh perspectives and varied skill sets to future-proof and strengthen their business.
Develop active mentoring
Having a dedicated Learning & Development department is a luxury that few companies, unless sizable, have access to. Yet developing a robust internal mentoring and coaching initiative is something that a company of any size can implement. Cross-generational insight is crucial for modern businesses to remain at the forefront of technology trends and encouraging others to pass on the wisdom learned from their early careers is invaluable to any new starter – also improving employee retention rates overall.
Flexible working hours
Trust is a central principle to maintaining happy employees, especially when this is exhibited through flexible working hours. Here the focus is on output and not how the job is done. Clock-watching and a culture of ‘presenteeism’ does not benefit the bottom line and it certainly doesn’t lead to the maintenance of work/life balance. Shared responsibilities across working couples also mean that men and women have personal commitments to make and why shouldn’t they leave early for parent’s evening or to see their child’s nativity play? These are precious moments that work shouldn’t interrupt.
Constantly challenge perceptions
Unconscious bias can work negatively in many ways and it is seen most clearly in the hiring process (if you are keen to learn more about how, make sure you are signed up to the workshop on 6th December). For example, despite laws being in place to protect the rights of mothers and there being much more coverage in business press about the supreme organisation and productivity that working mothers hold, there are still lingering perceptions about “baby brain” to be challenged and reversed.
Represent company culture
Understandably not all companies are able to have an Office Dog – whether a hypoallergenic breed, or not. However the act of having something to collectively nurture, or a shared initiative, helps to increase empathy levels, strengthen relationships across peers and ensure time away from the desk. Introducing a physical representation of the company culture, e.g. in the form of a fortnightly lunchtime art trip or team sports, creates group participation in a non-work related context and this is an equalising activity.
Although these are not 5 surefire ways to instantly change the composition of your C-Suite, they are initiatives – to consider in the context of your company – to move in the right direction of equality and work to change the ratio together.
Anna Leigh Kennedy is a product marketing director at Avocet.