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How to create a supportive and inclusive culture

By Rebecca Hull, Operations director



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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January 27, 2020 | 5 min read

In recent months, Manifesto has proudly become an active member of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme.

Manifesto share their new methods for better embracing diversity in the workplace.

Manifesto share their new methods for better embracing diversity in the workplace.

Manifesto has always been a company of open-minded, open-hearted people, but the team recognised the need to do a better job of promoting Manifesto as a fully inclusive place to work. Manifesto’s team now wholeheartedly and unashamedly wears their value of inclusion, on their sleeves, social media and email signatures - using communication channels to support LGBTQ+ equality.

Manifesto has aligned its practices to Stonewall’s recommendations. This involved a review of internal policies to make sure the value of equality isn’t just an inner value held as a cohort operating in the commercial world, but one that is actively communicated to staff and new starters.

Our policy states:

“We want great people in our team. However you identify and wherever you’re from, you can belong here. What’s most important to us is having a creative, dynamic team who live our values of collaboration and excellence every day. We're 100% committed to fostering an open, supportive and inclusive culture where everyone can focus on just being themselves while reaching their full potential”

This is an ongoing effort. Manifesto's line managers will receive refresher training to ensure equality is always at the forefront of their interaction. We also have an active LGBTQ+ working group that acts as our voice of equality and arranges celebratory and social action within the East London community.

Manifesto’s design team has created a suite of expressive logos to use during key times of the year to celebrate diversity. Apart from providing greater visibility across networks, this has also been an exercise in brand representation and positive evolution.

Manifesto's creative lead, Gem Fountain, says: “As an agency of change, it’s really important for us to visually embed our position on inclusion throughout the Manifesto brand. Our brand depicts a variegation of colour, representing the different service areas we provide. The tones blend together, just as our teams must work together to deliver positive change. Communicating our principles through colour and shape underpins everything we deliver as an agency, and demonstrates how inclusivity is intrinsic to how we work.”

A lot of the Manifesto team already includes the Stonewall Diversity Champion logo in their email signature. In addition, Manifesto now has its very own diversity logo the team can use in email signatures so that clients, partners, and suppliers are equally aware that, at Manifesto, “However you identify, wherever you’re from, you can belong here”.

Manifesto's operations director, Rebecca Hull, says: “We’ve had a really great response to visibly promoting our values throughout the environment at Manifesto. Our aim was to drive an open and inclusive conversation around how we support the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. From posters championing LGBTQ+ people and pioneers, to pride-initiated film clubs and now a fully dedicated inclusivity committee; we’ve created a positive space for clients and staff to understand, discuss and engage with our principles.”

Some other practical steps Manifesto has taken, and that we’d encourage the industry to follow, are:

  • Regular monitoring to baseline and identify needs and awareness of LGBTQ+ staff
  • Setting up an LGBTQ+ working group to offer support, information and advice
  • Educational events that address a variety of topics, including living as non-binary, and how the Pride app was branded to enagage the community
  • Adding preferred pronouns to email signatures to show an awareness of gender identities

Talking about the value of unity is important; as proven by the decades of debate that has led us to a much more liberal society. But there’s still more work to be done to support the hard-won rights of the past 30 years. One only needs to look to recent statements by public figures to see that currently all letters from LGBTQ+ are still not widely accepted; even by even allies.

There’s mounting evidence that being able to be truly ourselves at work leads to improved productivity.

We are dedicated to doing our part by offering equal opportunities to candidates and ensuring everyone feels free to be themselves. Why don't you follow suit?

Rebecca Hull, operations director at Manifesto.


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