Six years ago, only 3% of agency Creative Directors were women. Fast forward to 2017, and that number has risen to 29%. So, what has contributed to this increase? A surge of awareness created by the 3% Movement—a female driven initiative that’s aimed at furthering the careers of women and minorities in the advertising field. To see how these positive trends can be applied to our own business model, three of Hothouse’s own female influencers flew to New York this November to take part in the annual 3% Conference.

The mantra of 3% is Diversity=Creativity=Profitability. This framework explains why agencies should care about true diversity. Sure, we all want to work in an industry that consists of dynamic and creative minds, but what does diversity and creativity actually do for an agency’s bottom line? Answer: dolla dolla bills. A growing body of research shows that diverse companies generate up to 30% more revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors. Additionally, inclusive teams make more effective business decisions up to 87% of the time. Diverse, inclusive workplaces benefit from every aspect of business, and here’s what we learned about it:

Good ideas don’t care what we look like.
Inclusive environments acknowledge the spectrum of human life—beyond gender and race, true inclusion involves empathy and the acceptance and celebration of everyone’s differences. Good ideas don’t care who came up with them– and incorporating diverse sensibilities with regard to age, military service, ability and socioeconomic status can contribute unique, valuable perspectives.

Family and work can co-exist.
Inclusion also means making accommodations for families. The concept of having to choose between career and family is not a consideration for the current generation of professionals. As parents are getting creative about rejoining the workforce, agencies have an opportunity to discuss flexible plans for new parents that could include different positions or flexible schedules. Retaining talent is always more valuable than replacing it.

Stand out, don’t blend in.
We also learned about the phenomenon of “covering.” This is when a person hides something about themselves, such as sexual orientation, mental illness or background so they can blend in. Instead, agencies should develop a culture of well-being, where employees feel cared for. At the end of the day, if employees are not bringing their whole selves to work, it’s the work that suffers.

Put yourself first.
Self-investment is important across the board. As marketing professionals, it’s our responsibility to make our own growth opportunities by pursuing as many passion projects as we can. We can’t do our best work for our clients unless we continue to develop and enhance our personal strengths.