SPAG was built on the premise of “Be Real”. From the very start seven years ago, the firm’s managing director Shivani Gupta has been a vocal advocate of equality, diversity and inclusion at the workplace and her strides to empower woman has earned the agency praise from this year’s judges.
The agency’s push to empower women has also given birth to a parent initiative under SPAG’s thought leadership platform SPAG Dialogue called “A room full of women”. The initiative aims to move beyond mere policies and actually build equal, diverse and inclusive cultures.
Starting from the four walls within, the agency tackled the way employees thought about parenthood. In the agency, maternal leaves must be called parental leaves because the agency believes that the term “maternal leave” says that its only the woman’s job to look after the child. The balance, as such needs to start within minds before it is put on paper, else it is limited to a mere policy. Mindsets need to be re-nurtured.
While the agency believes that empowering women is important, it also knows that it must empower men so they can be allies in its efforts to truly create equal, diverse and inclusive workspaces.
The agency also took a long hard look at the PR industry to understand why while many women are seen in entry level or mid-level roles, the gender ratio suddenly dips as we go higher up in the ranks. It wanted to flip this trend through flexible work mechanisms and a deep level of understanding and communication to ensure that women rise up the ladder based on their talent, just as men do.
SPAG also organises regular sessions on listening and initiates open conversations which has over the years cultivated a culture where people feel comfortable speaking up. This has created an optimistic belief system and promoted equality, diversity and inclusion among employees. The agency also focuses extensively on soft-skill assessments and personality assessments. This allows the agency to bring on board team members who are self-aware, progressive, sensitive and cognitively agile. It is important to point out that SPAG doesn’t believe in tokenism or one-off gestures for posturing when it comes to women empowerment. It prides on inclusivity and talent-based assessments being a core framework of all of its evaluation.
To ensure a inclusive culture, the agency also holds workshops that focus on soft-skills and wellness. The most recent example of this is in June 2021, where the team at SPAG not only celebrated pride month but used the month to start email conversation threads on “how to be an ally”, while providing teams access to resources where they can learn and educate themselves about the LGBTQIA+ community.
InsightsMatter is also a workshop and training held for employees for executive coaching. Supported by agency leaders, after holding several internal discussions a few months into the lockdown, one thing that emerged was that each woman had a different story to tell and through the workshop the agency altered its working dynamics to embrace more flexibility in work which helped many of its female staff manage work and home better.
Taking the initiative a step further, the agency thought, why not put all these varied perspectives out there and stir an internal discussion on ‘WFH & Equality: Gender Roles, Women Solidarity and Mental Health’. Videos featuring women at SPAG spoke about what equality means to them to shed more light pertinent issues to break down gender norms and biases.
The discussion was a huge hit where women in the organization felt heard. They spoke about rights to equal opportunity and cerebral equality personally and professionally. Throughout the discussion women of SPAG shared their personal experiences with various issues like societal conditioning, gender roles and mental health. All in all, this resulted in a cohesive environment for empowered men and women at SPAG.
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