Interpublic’s Business Resource Groups
As a global holding company of advertising, PR and marketing services agencies, ranging from small shops to networks of thousands of employees, IPG’s offices are widely dispersed geographically and sometimes culturally. When we launched our D&I focus in 2005, diverse employees were often isolated and lacking role models, supportive peers, mentoring and environments that were sensitive to world views associated with various dimensions of diversity.
In 2006, IPG established inter-agency employee resource groups (ERGs). Almost from the beginning, these groups worked collaboratively under an umbrella known as MERGE (Multi-cultural Employee Resource Groups for Excellence), providing mutual support and serving as allies for one other. In some regions, the offices were so small that they established a single MERGE-branded BRG to engage everyone. As the groups matured, IPG rebranded them as Business Resource Groups (BRGs) to make clear they were not social networks but designed to have meaningful business impact.
Our BRGs offer career insights, cultural explorations and workplace inclusiveness tips, business case studies and research focusing on diverse consumers. IPG, client and agency executives are featured in regular MERGE Talks, giving employees direct access to them. Webinars overcome geographic dispersion and a website allows employees to complete profiles and connect on the basis of expertise, location, organization and dimensions of diversity. Through the website employees are also able to find mentors.
In 2016, over 8,000 employees registered for over 35 MERGE BRG programs. On average, 92% of participants reported that these groups are a benefit of working for an IPG agency and a reason to stay at the company.
We are proud to be a part of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™. The sheer power of so many influential business leaders coming together to reaffirm and step up their commitments to inclusion at this pivotal time is monumental. The potential for progress as we move forward in unity is compelling and can lead to transformational change.