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'Saatchi Family' Programme Aims to Create a Positive Shift in Culture for Working Parents in the Industry

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Part of the initiative includes investing £350k as part of a childcare fund, and a training programme to upskill line managers and encourage open and regular dialogue

'Saatchi Family' Programme Aims to Create a Positive Shift in Culture for Working Parents in the Industry

Saatchi & Saatchi is launching Saatchi Family as part of its manifesto to open up the advertising industry and keep it open. The new programme aims to support parents at every stage of their career in order to affect a positive shift in culture for working parents within the industry.

A recent study from the Office of National Statistics found that the responsibility of childcare and home-schooling during lockdown had predominantly fallen on women during lockdown. Built and driven by insight and data, in the initial phase, Saatchi Family will focus on working parents and working mums in particular, by expanding the agency’s existing policies to cover the entire parenthood journey. In the next phase, the programme will evolve to provide support and resources for all caregivers.

As part of the Saatchi Family initiative, the agency will be investing £350k as part of a childcare fund dedicated to helping relieve childcare pressures. Saatchi & Saatchi will also be running a training programme to embed the programme, upskill line managers and encourage regular and honest dialogue around what’s working and what isn’t.

Sam Hawkey, CEO at Saatchi & Saatchi said: “Saatchi & Saatchi is an agency built on the belief that ‘nothing is impossible’ but for a lot of parents navigating the challenges of the past year has been borderline impossible. The first thing we needed to do was listen to our people. Then we looked at what we should be doing immediately, what proper systemic impact we could deliver with the right time and money, and then we looked at delivering the impossible.

“We believe the Saatchi brand matters, and that we have a responsibility to do the right things. We are doing that with Saatchi Ignite, Open and Home, and we are now doing the same with Saatchi Family. We want to build a company that people feel proud to work for, and work with.”

Saatchi Family will include:

- Miscarriage leave: Fully paid leave for any parents experiencing miscarriage (at any stage during pregnancy). Saatchi & Saatchi will also provide access to support for partners and close family members.

- Childcare fund for working parents, with £350k investment dedicated to helping relieve childcare pressures particularly during school holidays and to bridge the gap when employees’ childcare arrangements are changing.

- Buddy system: a support system led by employees who are comfortable discussing their experiences of IVF, adoption, surrogacy, miscarriage, single parenthood and other areas so the agency can connect individuals with the most helpful and relevant support.

- Optional phased return for working parents, including a soft and structured approach to improve the returner experience

- One week’s fully paid emergency leave to cover emergency scenarios, particularly for single parents and carers.

- 12 months career coaching / mentoring through access to Saatchi heads of department or senior leadership, and Publicis Groupe UK leadership.

- A commitment to monitoring the data that matters including an annual survey, to monitor progress and track potential issues / areas for improvement.

- Engineering continued flexibility for school drop off and pick up times which will be avoided during ‘Heads Together’ mode of work, in addition to a Saatchi Time Out policy ensuring no meetings happen between 12.30 - 2pm, and parenting moments, like bath time, are protected.

Saatchi & Saatchi plotted and mapped the entire journey for parents to identify where the gaps and biggest challenges were – looking at emotional, physical, mental and financial barriers to progression. Part of this was through an internal survey, which found a discrepancy between how men and women feel when it comes to talking about family plans with their managers. Only 48% of women felt comfortable talking about future family plans and career options, compared to 80% of men.  

Gemma Phillips, Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi added: “We talk a lot about ‘agency built’ at Saatchi & Saatchi, insight and ideas born from the community who experience the challenges, and this is exactly how Saatchi Family has been built. We wanted to build something that reflects the entire parenthood journey, from the struggles of trying to conceive to making work, work with kids of all ages.

“The great thing about advertising is that we don’t have a problem attracting women – more women than men join the industry in entry level positions. Then agencies often see a drop off later on. We need a shift in thinking and in the culture of our industry, so that parents, and specifically working mothers, are seen as the huge assets they are.”

In 2020, as part of the agency’s ongoing initiative to open up the advertising industry, Saatchi & Saatchi launched Saatchi Ignite, Open and Home, focusing on creative education in schools, entry level talent and affordable housing.

Magnus Djaba, CEO of the creative practice at Publicis Groupe UK said: "I'm really proud of the initiatives and impact we are creating and will continue to create through initiatives like the OA, Saatchi Home and now through Saatchi Family. Diversifying our workforce is a moral and business imperative and we owe it to our agencies, our industry and our clients to do more. If we get this right, it will benefit Saatchi as an agency, and the Publicis Groupe collectively as well as us as an industry, not just from a cultural perspective, but from a commercial, emotional, and creative one too."

Saatchi Family will be incubated within Saatchi & Saatchi and the agency will be sharing learnings across all Publicis Groupe UK agencies with the option for other agencies to use the blueprint as part of their own approach.

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Saatchi & Saatchi London, Mon, 26 Apr 2021 17:01:14 GMT