Omnicom Media Group (OMG) is the media services division of Omnicom Group Inc., an advertising, marketing, and corporate communications company. In 2016, the company announced a worldwide initiative for diversity and inclusion, and asked ELM to help them create a training solution that matched the organization’s fun and engaging culture. The problem? Most people don’t think of “fun” and “engaging” when they think of diversity training. ELM had to create a solution that was as sensitive and thoughtful as it was engaging and inspiring.
OMG needed to dispatch a message about diversity, stereotypes, and unconscious bias. What better way than to use a group of colorful, all-shapes-and-sizes robots? Beginning with OMG’s Diversity 101 content, ELM built an interactive learning experience that was especially targeted to OMG’s millennial workforce. Why robots? It was a way for ELM to animate and simulate the ways employees might get their “wires crossed” when engaging with coworkers and clients from different backgrounds. This also allowed ELM to demonstrate different cultures, colors, and backgrounds without isolating one real-life culture in the content. And, the robots added a gamification element to the training: robot battery life was reduced if learners demonstrated unconscious bias and stereotypes, or answered questions incorrectly within the module.
While ELM provided the robots and a more lighthearted approach to diversity training, the program buy-in was heavily dependent on OMG leadership. OMG’s CEO kicked off the initiative by communicating its importance to managing directors, who then brought the message to their employees. The company then ensured all employees received the training, which, according to positive employee feedback, sparked water cooler conversations and a change in company culture. In a move that was anything but robotic, ELM helped OMG realize that the very culture exhibited at work every day–leadership, engagement, inclusion–was the key to converting an idea into action.
We must identify and mitigate our biases and triggers in a clear way. We’ve seen our current training program as highly effective in meeting these goals at Omnicom Media Group.