Why there’s so much more to diversity than a rainbow logo

Yes, we’ve updated our logo for Pride Month. This is important to us all here at Formative as a reflection of how highly we value diversity, equity and inclusion. 

But changing a logo is a simple thing to achieve compared to the work required behind-the-scenes to effect the change that’s really needed.

We all have our personal diversities. I’m a working-class gay man, and we have dozens – if not hundreds – of other kinds of diversity on the Formative team. And we celebrate and embrace each and every one. 

Every perspective is important and helps create a stronger, more cohesive and happier team. This is obviously great in itself – but it also makes our business more successful, too, because a stronger team leads to higher performance and creates better work.

Generally, we don’t make a big fuss around this topic – we prefer to put actions ahead of words, and we – like so many businesses – know that our DEI work will never really be finished. But the Formative team has achieved so much over the past year, we decided it’s really worth celebrating as we mark Pride Month.

Here’s a sample of what we’ve been up to:

  • We’ve set up a working group with members from across the business and led by me, with a focus on making consistent progress on all areas of DEI. There are three sub-groups focusing on inclusion, recruitment and nurturing external talent.
  • We’ve carried out a survey of all team members to get an accurate and data-driven baseline view of where things currently stand in relation to DEI, and to help us focus on the priority areas over the next year.
  • We’ve updated our recruitment process to include best-practice wording in job adverts to encourage candidate applications from any and all backgrounds.
  • We’ve removed the requirement for university degrees from all of our roles to ensure we’re not disqualifying entirely suitable candidates because of the career path they’ve experienced.
  • We’re welcoming two brilliant young candidates into our Digital Marketing Apprentice programme in September, to support and encourage different types of career/education paths.
  • We’ve trained a group of Mental Health First Aiders to provide support and guidance for everyone on the Formative team experiencing mental health challenges. This was particularly useful over the past year with the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
  • We’ve created an ongoing initiative to encourage transparency and inclusion within our team, with the aim of providing an environment where everyone can show up as exactly who they are. This includes things like “my whole selfie”, based on a project by MHFA England, where we shared images and descriptions of ourselves with the whole team.
  • We’ve arranged an Insight Day for 40 students from disadvantaged backgrounds in years 12 and 13, to provide training and advice on creating CVs, job applications, interviews, and how to break into the marketing communications industry – all delivered by Google Classroom.

All of this is making a real difference, and I couldn’t be prouder of our DEI team and the whole company for the way they’ve embraced this work. 

We know there’s more to do – and that updating a logo doesn’t change much by itself, but we think it shows that we are, at least, on the right path.

Paul Muggeridge - Managing Director, Formative Content
Author:Paul Muggeridge - Managing Director, Formative Content