In a new book on marketing from Facebook’s EMEA Client Council, Karina Wilsher CEO of global ad agency Anomaly encourages leaders to take personal responsibility for diversity and inclusion in their organisations. She describes three steps businesses should be taking. To read her chapter in full, plus contributions from 21 other top marketers, download your free copy of Build Brilliant Brands.
1. Commit from the top
Company culture comes from the top, so leaders must make a real commitment to taking action and driving representation and inclusivity at all times. To foster a really strong culture, leaders need to create constant and consistent messaging about the company’s values so that employees can understand and live by them. You can’t see this as just a task for HR. We’re talking about commercial success, creativity, innovation, and recruiting and retaining the very best talent.
At Anomaly, we hold ourselves accountable with specific and measurable commitments to improve diverse representation of all types, at all levels, and track and report our employee diversity data.
Crucially, we partner with external organisations with the expertise and networks to help us recruit, such as ADCOLOR, Creative Equals, MAIP, Creative Access and Women in Innovation (WIN). We’re already seeing progress: around 47% of the people we hired last year in the USA were Black, indigenous, or people of colour (BIPOC).
2. Be aware of bias and find your blind spots
While culture comes from the top, diversity, and more importantly inclusion, is a task for everyone. We all need to do the work to self-educate. Companies also need to provide the right environment for everyone to feel appreciated. Running unconscious bias and sexual harassment training programmes doesn’t equal “job done” – they are hygiene factors. You need to create an open culture where people can feel comfortable enough to be themselves, as well as recognise their own biases and blind spots.
Above all else, you have to recognise that if you do not intentionally include, you will unintentionally exclude.
This is so much bigger than just creating a diverse talent pool—it’s about recognising the power that comes from working without biases. When people come together with different perspectives, magic happens.
3. Create a culture of collaboration and cultivate curiosity
At Anomaly, we have built a highly collaborative culture. It’s not about your sex, race, age, background—it’s about how good you are.
Our internal ways of working—our own “operating system”—is built for collaboration, with no department being the central powerbase and without hierarchy of discipline or skillset. Creating a culture of inclusion will ensure that people feel valued, otherwise they won’t stick around. And in order to unlock high performance and true creativity, it’s essential for people to feel confident that they can be themselves at work.
It’s not about your sex, race, age, background—it’s about how good you are
We do a lot to celebrate the differences among our own employees. We’ve made an internal commitment to ongoing programmes designed to create trust and empathy and drive wider cultural appreciation. We have internal teams dedicated to shifting the narrative and spotlighting societal issues, as well as celebrating different communities.
Whether it’s by hosting musical talent, keynotes panels, Q and A sessions, storytelling slams or art shows, our cultural programmes are designed to educate and inspire everyone at Anomaly, as well as help ensure that under-represented groups reach their full potential.