How to Locate and Retain Diverse Talent in Advertising

Our Adweek Advisory Board members weigh in with their thoughts

Work needs to be put in from start to finish, from interviewing candidates to solidifying a cohesive workplace culture. iStock
Headshot of Nicole Ortiz

In the past year, advertising (along with many other industries) has gone through its own #MeToo or #TimesUp movement to some extent. And with that comes more recognition of the need to hire diversely—across age, gender and race—and retaining those hires. In addition to hiring a diverse array of talent, it’s also important to find ways to relate to recent hires, particularly newly graduated workers who might not know how to get into the workforce or know what exactly they’re looking for.

We asked our Adweek Advisory Board—comprised of 24 leaders across marketing, media and technology—to weigh in with their thoughts about instilling positive hiring practices, how #MeToo has affected their efforts and what can be done to retain new hires.

From #MeToo to present day

The #MeToo movement started a much-needed conversation around hiring diversely and led to more workplace resources for women, people of color, LGBT employees and other marginalized groups.

Colin Kinsella, CEO North America at Havas Media Group, said his agency is creating Femmes Forward, a “women leadership accelerator program that prepares potential female leaders growing into the director level ranks at Havas” and “a global diversity and inclusion initiative called ALL IN(CLUSIVE)” as well as a “global harassment training program to educate all employees on this important topic.”

The movement has solidified the importance of building these approaches to hiring into the workplace culture. Terrance Williams, CMO and president of emerging businesses at Nationwide, spoke to his organization’s efforts in creating an “inclusive workplace culture built on mutual respect.” He said, “With our emphasis on our core values of value people, trust and respect, honesty and integrity, we have not seen a direct impact as a result of the #MeToo movement. … We are very clear that we expect and enforce an inclusive and harassment-free workplace.”

In addition to making this approach a part of workplace culture, Michelle Lee, editor-in-chief at Allure, noted that it must start when you’re interviewing. “Hire more people of color into positions of authority,” she said. “And expand your company’s network. Insist on seeing a diverse pool of candidates for every open role. It’s tempting to want to fill open roles quickly, but commit to keeping the interview process going until you’ve seen a diverse group.”

Retaining talent from the next generation

It’s important to catch the attention of a younger employee early on, whether it’s through an attractive internship or by fostering a culture that speaks to their values. “The tide has shifted to prioritizing doing valuable work to improve people’s lives now, both inside and outside of work, not in retirement,” Baiju Shah, chief strategy officer at Accenture Interactive, said. “Younger hires want the opportunity to do good and make a difference and want to be part of a culture that shares those values. They want to work for an organization that gives back and that empowers them to do so.”

Kinsella discussed Havas’ unique internship programs that offer an opportunity to those interested in entering the industry who may not know where to start. “Our focus is on building strong internship programs, partnering with industry programs like 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP), identifying diverse grads who don’t necessarily come from advertising schools, incorporating pioneering ideas like Black at Work, Scream for Pride and others,” he said.

Finding the right approach

LinkedIn and other job boards are a great place to start when hiring talent. However, Williams said, there’s another way that has proven successful for Nationwide as well: “One of the best ways we find talent continues to be tapping into the referrals from current associates. Who better to help find a great cultural fit than someone who lives and breathes Nationwide’s unique culture every day?”

To connect with potential employees, Kinsella said, they “also attend conferences, recruitment events and leverage our strong internal network of current talent to find great talent.” He continued, “On the nontraditional front, our offices host community and cultural events that draw people with similar interests from a variety of industries.”

@neco_ornot Nicole Ortiz is a senior editor at Adweek, overseeing magazine departments such as Trending, Talent Pool, Data Points, Voice and Perspective.
Publish date: September 11, 2018 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT