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DBA Members’ Forum | November summary

In the latest DBA Members’ Forum, we heard first-hand how the changes we’ve experienced over the last couple of years have left our businesses better places to be and work, even if it has felt as though some of it was forced on us. Here’s a summary of the conversation we had.

  • One member shared their journey as the Head of People for a business of 15 people that’s grown to 27 this year, a task that the business leaders couldn’t have achieved themselves. Only 3% of DBA member businesses of this size have a Head of People. The question this raises is do you need to rethink the roles now needed in consultancies of less than 20 people? In the past a Head of People was the privilege of those with over 30 staff.
  • Recruitment is a challenge for many of us the moment. For this member, having a dedicated person across all the responsibilities that come with people has enabled them to realise their growth plans. That portfolio of work has probably doubled in size as a result of the last two years – is it time to rethink how you handle this workload? And do you have some latent talent in your business that could step into this role? This Head of People was a Studio Manager who coached kids’ football at the weekends – what skills do your team have that are only displayed out of work? Get to know them.
  • This business also had 90% of the workforce in on a rainy Monday in November. How? They have a deep level of trust in their employees. There are no expectation to come into the office from the most senior to the most junior – they’ve simply found they do their best work together, and the team want to work like that.
  • Another DBA corporate member shared the story of their journey to diversify from board level down. Those policies are now impacting the agencies they work with as they need to meet policy goals for diversity in their supplier relationships – something that may be a pre-requisite of working with major brands in the near future, if it’s not already a conversation you are having with them.
  • For the business, these ambitions have impacted parental leave (same benefit now offered to anyone becoming a parent, not just mothers), to meeting strict targets around graduate recruitment. Members shared a number of initiatives that could inspire change and you can find them below.

Useful advice and resources that were shared:

  • Valuable advice for those members at the beginning of their DE&I journey; build diversity in to your freelance roster, remove subconscious bias when you’re recruiting, take advice on how to build an inclusive culture – or your newly diverse team won’t stay, and get started now – it takes time to create and embed an inclusive culture. 
  • One member has planned their own initiative going into schools in Tower Hamlets in London to help children see what a career in the creative industries is like – if you’re near Tower Hamlets and interested in joining this, let me know and I can put you in touch. 
  • Babbasa is an initiative in Bristol to create a work placement scheme which is designed to attract people from under-represented groups. I can put you in touch with members involved in this.
  • For those with a US office, Where are the Black Designers is a great resource – could it help inspire what you do here in the UK?
  • Blueprint 1000 is focused on secondary schools and inspiring young people to embark on design careers through D&T courses – and it does this by giving their teachers placements in industry. DBA Members have been involved in this for years now – can you make space for a teacher placement?
  • A member who was struggling to find diverse talent shared 10,000 Black Designers.
  • If you have an FT subscription, there was an interesting piece Retirees heading back to work. Diversity comes in the shape of age too – can you think about your roles differently and carve them up in a way that opens you up to the millions of people looking for part-time work, particularly among the over 50’s? This demographic can be incredibly productive if given the opportunity and the flexibility.

Our Members’ Forum takes place on the first Monday of each month, at 4 – 5pm. If you would like to attend, get in touch here

Our next members forum will be taking place on Monday 5 December.


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