MIAMI, FL: USAA, the financial services provider focused on members of the military and their families, has successfully encouraged greater diversity in agency staffing through its partnership with Publicis Groupe.

Renetta McCann, Chief Talent Officer at Leo Burnett/US, a Publicis Groupe agency, highlighted this topic during the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference.

And she discussed how the team assembled to service USAA’s business had significantly surpassed the minimum target of 30% of staff coming from diverse communities.

“What we’ve been able to achieve through our first three quarters [of the USAA partnership] is 71% of all new hires have come from those diverse communities,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How USAA mandated multiculturalism from agency partners.)

That performance, she said, refutes “one of the things I've heard for the life of my career in advertising” – namely, the near impossibility of achieving true diversity in the agency business.

“I think that 71% says maybe that’s not true. We do have qualified people from diverse communities who are in our candidate pools.”

Of that 71%, McCann reported that 60% are female. “Of our female hires, about a third of them have been from ethnic minorities; for our male hires, nearly half have been from ethnic minorities,” she added.

“Across the spectrum, 40% have come from ethnic minorities – African-American, Hispanic, Asian [as well as] those people who may be multi-racial, or Pacific Islander, or who classify themselves as others.”

Looking beyond recruitment, USAA also set a retention goal of 70% for its diverse hires. To date, that figure is checking in at 91%, according to McCann.

“USAA was very wise in giving us a target for retention,” McCann said. “If we didn’t keep people, we would have just created a churn system – easy in, easy out.”

The new hires have come from a variety of backgrounds, too, and entered at various levels of the organisational structure. “We just don't want to hire at the entry level,” McCann said.

In the first nine months of the USAA recruitment program, she continued, “We've had 40% junior [hires], 30% mid-level, and 20% senior. So, we are hiring through the pipeline as well.”

Sourced from WARC