Gender is a global group within the Merkle D&I pillars that aims to educate colleagues about gender issues within the workplace, inspire through events & thought leadership, and give back to our local community through partnerships with charities and schools. They want to ensure that no member of Merkle feels disadvantaged because of their gender, and that managers feel empowered to support their diverse & varied teams through any challenges they face such as managing maternity leave, feelings of imposter syndrome, and many more.
The Gender pillar have a packed calendar of events, both local and international. Including International Women’s Day, when they secure well-known female speakers and stream to all of our offices globally, and International Men’s Day to increase engagement from our male colleagues. They’ve held panel discussions, networking breakfasts, screenings of TED talks followed by breakout discussions, and charity events with partners such as Coppafeel, The Red Box Project and Dress for Success.
The Mental Health Pillar is an EMEA wide Merkle programme with the focus on continuing the conversation around Mental Health in the workplace. The pillar divides its attention between educating on mental health issues, sharing experiences and striving for an environment where people feel comfortable raising issues at work and where conversations around mental health become more normal. We have delivered programmes that train managers and mental health first aiders to provide a variety of support as well as ensuring our fundamental support structure is in place for our employees. Aside from that, we raise awareness through charity partnerships such as our current partnership with Mental Health UK.
We’ve supported several key global days that aim to raise awareness of mental health, from stress awareness month to both Mental Health Awareness Week and more recently World Mental Health Day. The pillar team have layered on a variety of outside support to build momentum, with speakers from the London Buddhist Meditation centre and The Breath Guy promoting well-being through breath and mindfulness to talks from Professor Green raising awareness of the impact Mental Health can have on our daily lives.
The religion pillar is focused on spreading awareness on the subject of religion, these include topics on festivals, special occasions & holidays. The aim of the pillar is to foster tolerance and encourage acceptance by organising events and increasing people in knowledge on what others believe and celebrate.
The religion pillar has gotten itself involved in creating and sending infographics on several religious festivals and holidays, these include Easter, Eid, Diwali, Passover, Ramadan and Shavuot. We’ve also organised food based events for London & Edinburgh offices for Eid and Diwali. Another big success would be the initiation of the Ramadan framework to support those celebrating and observing the month of Ramadan during their normal office hours over Agency Services.
The LGBT+ pillar aims to promote greater understanding and acceptance of LGBT+ individuals in the workplace through awareness, support and celebration of LGBT+ experiences. To date, this has included:
- Updates to the company’s parental leave documentation to include adoption leave policies
- Collaboration with other pillars such as the Mental Health pillar on events and awareness activities around LGBT+ depression
- Week-long activities celebrating LGBT+ Pride throughout our UK offices for two consecutive years
- Bake sales, quizzes and talks to raise awareness and funds for LGBT+ charities (e.g. Mermaids and AKT)
- Movie nights, mixers and other social gatherings aimed at providing a welcoming environment for LGBT+ individuals and allies
- Representation at networking events such as those run by InterMediaUK and InterComms.
We aim to increase communication on high profile issues such as Trans Day Of Remembrance and raise the voices of LGBT+ individuals.
The Disability pillar aims to develop a culture of empathy; helping to remove commonly held ableist language and unconscious bias, give people the confidence to implement reasonable adjustments and to promote a safe culture for employees to disclose disabilities or ill mental health. Merkle have been working to achieve the Disability Confident Employer Status. In order to achieve this status Merkle agreed to uphold and carry out several commitments including:
- Actively looking to attract and recruit disabled talent: set out to improve the accessibility of our recruitment process
- Enabling staff to create a safe culture for employees: working with the charities to improve how we provide Disability Confident Management training
- Work to produce a disability workplace adjustment passport: allow individuals to manage and facilitate any additional support they may need
- Reduce workplace Stigma
The pillar launched the ‘Demystifying Disability’ series, a monthly instalment which provides facts & info on every-day disabilities.
The Ethnicity Pillar is all about raising awareness for and celebrating the different cultures and ethnicities that exist within Merkle EMEA and having an impact on creating a diverse and inclusive workforce.
We have 3 key areas of focus, each led by a member of our leadership team:
- External Influence is led by Niyi Duro-Emanuel (Solutions VP) and focuses on investigating which external organisations Merkle can best support in order to be leaders of change within our society
- Internal Education is led by Andrew Abboud (EMEA IT Lead, SVP) with a focus on sharing experiences and resources in order to further the education of our organisation on topics related to ethnicity and race
- Business Commitment is led by Liz Rutgersson (EMEA Media & Operations SVP) and works with HR and Merkle and DAN’s executive teams to influence the ethnicity balance in our organisation and impact the broader diversity agenda
But we can’t achieve it all on our own so we also have a group of individuals from across Merkle that support us in our initiatives; from sharing resources on our internal Yammer channel to keep the important conversations going, helping us organise talks and events, supporting our mentoring initiatives and fundraising for our chosen local charities.
By doing this we hope to help the overcoming of barriers, bring people together, and promote and live race equality.