December 2, 2019

The Pink Squid diversity formula

For a long time, the pursuit for diversity in the workplace has been a game of numbers; ticked-boxes turned into platitudes to fly high on display. But its true benefits have far outgrown this. When we see a piece of tech that doesn’t recognise a woman’s voice; media that serves the priorities of a select few; or a campaign that “missed the mark”, we are seeing the weeds that grow from non-diverse workplaces. Companies need different perspectives to understand the people they serve, and when they fall short, we all lose out.

The benefits of diversity isn’t news, yet it’s still slow in the making for many. The first steps usually taken is in attraction and hire. Pink Squid employ on a talent basis – whoever is right for the role gets the role. Being guided in this way has led to an agency made up of forty individuals from over fifteen different nationalities. A perfect coincidence of meritocracy, or a natural result of who we are?

Pink Squid came from diverse beginnings; founded by a woman, Chinese, and Bangladeshi. Perhaps this was its early genes being born that would shape the family of misfits we are today. I’d like to think the future for diversity doesn’t rest on the race, gender or background of business owners; but when you hear the lengths some recruiters go through of blind hiring – a physical action to stop their bias – one could wonder.

But being here, working amongst the mix of personalities, hearing the different accents and the contrasting opinions they voice; our differences blend together like they don’t exist, just a natural part of the company that couldn’t have been any other way. As a creative agency, collaboration is everything ideas are built on, but what’s collaboration without the friction of different minds challenging and learning from one another?

Pink Squid are diverse by nature – an array of forty different cells bound together to make the Pink Squid DNA. If there was a scientific formula like it, our job would be made easy. The reality is, the same meritocratic process we take when hiring people doesn’t always work for diversity. Particularly when the struggle for diversity starts long before the workplace. The complexities can be stubborn, deep-rooted, and require harder work to undo the inequality that’s entrenched within us. It can start from societal norms, that mould our habits, and builds or suppresses our expectations of ourselves, which then leads people down particular pathways in life, in school, and in our careers – closing other doors on the way. What we get as a result is workplace disparity such as lack of women in STEM, men in social care, or BAME in finance.

Diversity and Inclusion is rightly a goal for many of our clients. And if sometimes it calls for more effort to reach, then more effort it must get. We connect people to careers that ultimately shapes the industries that serve us – all of us. It’s why we don’t just bask in the cultural genes we’ve been blessed with, instead we use our different backgrounds to help more companies achieve the same benefits we enjoy from being a diverse team.