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Workplace Diversity Is Key Business Result: OMD USA’s Chrissie Hanson

Diversity and inclusion efforts show signs of stalling after years of progress, according to a recent survey by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). It also found differences of opinion about inclusion efforts among different levels of management.

“When you see that there are more changes felt and seen by the C-suite and perhaps less overtly at the more junior entry levels…that is in part because if you’re more senior, you’re probably in charge of instituting some of the programs that will seek to make things more inclusive,” Chrissie Hanson, chief executive of Omnicom Group’s OMD USA, said. “If that communication isn’t very clear and isn’t felt at the more entry levels, if you are entering your career, that can feel a little less helpful for you.”

There are steps the advertising and marketing industry can take to makes its diversity and inclusion efforts more effective, she said in this interview with Beet.TV contributor Mike Shields.

“What we do at OMD is ensure that perspective on diversity, equity and inclusion is incorporated into the way of working right,” Hanson said. “What that means is: how do I make sure that if I am leading a project, that we’ve considered the kind of differences of perspective and skill set?”

The uncertain economy and a recent Supreme Court decision against affirmative action programs at colleges and universities cloud the outlook for diversity and inclusion efforts. Hanson said metrics about these programs should be included in business results to ensure they’re not neglected.

“You demonstrate why having greater inclusivity and diversity of perspective actually leads to better outcomes consistently. That means greater creativity, that means greater levels of innovation,” Hanson said, “You show that and you thread that needle so that it’s very apparent to internal stakeholders as much as to clients.”

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