McCann Worldgroup: A Strategic Business Imperative in the Face of Our New Normal

by Savoy Staff

By Singleton Beato, Global EVP, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, McCann Worldgroup

The unprecedented sociocultural, economic, and health crises in 2020 have impacted our families, our communities and the entire business landscape. The outcome of the catastrophic events 
has revealed a critical bellwether for companies: decisions made by talent and consumers will continue to be influenced by their perception of a Company’s authentic commitment to DEI – not just in terms of hiring and retaining talent, but as a strategic capability across the entire business.  Future-focused leaders now understand that DEI must be truly integrated into both internal and go-to 
market business strategies and practices in order to succeed.

McCann Worldgroup is a global agency network that influences and shapes culture with a mission to help brands earn a meaningful role in people’s lives. In partnership with our clients, we have always taken seriously the power that great creativity has on society. In order to continue to fuel the best creative work and innovative solutions for brands, we set a goal to create the conditions that ensure our people, from different social, cultural, and cognitive backgrounds, feel empowered to boldly share the unique perspectives that come from their lived experiences.

We designed and launched our global DEI strategy three years ago, first by clearly defining Diversity and Inclusion across the network to establish common language, supported with data to provide a deeper understanding of DEI as a global priority. Our vision to become a globally integrated community where Conscious Inclusion unleashes the creative power of our talent and our work is centered around our definition of Conscious Inclusion – intentional decisions to disrupt systemic and workplace barriers to inclusion – which serves as our unifying clarion for employees at all levels.

Our strategy was reinforced by the clear correlation we saw between the data from internal employee surveys and with global insights from the diverse communities we strive to connect with. And for the past 2 years, our incredible McCann Worldgroup Truth Central brand intelligence unit has continued to delve deeply into the nuances of diversity across the globe. Two powerful Truth studies so far have revealed the very real role that DEI will increasing play in the highly competitive landscape ahead.

Our guiding principle of Conscious Inclusion helped us disrupt traditional diversity models that make inclusive behaviors a daily workplace reality.  In addition to curating and executing 100+ programs and events across our network last year, we instituted formalized benchmarks, measurement tools and interventions to increase leadership accountability. We also generated a dramatic increase in membership of our Global Diversity Coalition – now comprised of 180+ Diversity Champions, from 40, across 5 of our global regions. This cross-functional, cross-discipline community drives network-wide initiatives that affirm culture & inclusion as key drivers of creativity.

In 2019 we launched Day for Meaning, a first-of-its-kind, bespoke, global change management initiative. We leveraged our proprietary operating system – typically used for our clients – to design a DEI activation model to fuel innovation and embed inclusive behavior across our network. This has become an annual activation, and in the last 2 iterations, over 200 senior leaders actively engaged in the planning and execution of the initiative, which convened 12,000+ employees to discover what diversity means in their local markets and create actionable plans with KPIs to drive Conscious Inclusion forward in each agency.

Our steadfast approach to driving measurable results helped us exceed Industry & US Workforce benchmarks in the following areas: executive level women, executive level people of color, and total population of women. We are just shy of industry & workforce benchmarks for our overall population of people of color, but are confident that our strategic approach and consistent efforts will continue to bridge this gap.

Anyone driving DEI understands that achieving success is a journey, a game of inches. And while we’d love a turn-key solution, the truth is we’ve inherited the world as it is today and have a critical responsibility to enact change, with DEI being the catalyst to do so. The question is, in this New Normal, what will we do within our individual spheres of influence to make the places and spaces we occupy as inclusive and equitable as possible?



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