IPA president Krichefski launches ‘People First’ agenda

IPA president Krichefski launches ‘People First’ agenda
Krichefski: 'Our people are everything'

New IPA president Josh Krichefski has announced a ‘People First’ agenda that aims to “open people’s eyes to the ad industry and to open the hearts and minds of those working within agencies”, with the goal of boosting the overall health and wealth of the agency business.

The announcement comes in advance of Krichefski’s inaugural speech, which will occur at 3pm today followed by a live Q&A session.

Krichefski was nominated IPA president-elect in December last year, and officially succeeded former IPA president and VCCP vice chairman Julian Douglas last Thursday. He was also appointed to a new role as GroupM CEO for EMEA and the UK in January.

Krichefski is expected to lay out an agenda for the IPA that consists of three key tenets:

1. Opening eyes: Reframe advertising’s cultural and societal relevance in modern Britain to attract the best talent.

2. Opening hearts: Help retain and nurture advertising talent by being more inclusive than ever.

3. Opening minds: Look after the wellbeing of everyone working in the ad agency business by focusing on and supporting initiatives that promote positive mental health.

“We don’t have factories, trucks, manufactured goods. Our people are everything,” Krichefski said in a statement. “It’s their brilliance and imagination which is what makes us who and what we are. And that’s why we have to look after them. Let’s take the steps needed to create the most inclusive workplaces imaginable. And let’s support a resilient, thriving and mentally healthy workforce and empower them to write the future of advertising.”

‘Opening eyes’

Krichefski intends to set out five actions to promote today’s industry, and looks to collaborate with the Advertising Association (AA) and industry talent to do so. He wants to “shine a light on the breadth and range” of specialisms within the industry and to “bring to life the important role advertising will have in Britain’s economic renewal.”

One way Krichefski seeks to reach potential new talent is to partner with TikTok to match specific TikTok content creators with five select agencies to demonstrate the variety of roles in the industry and promote the nationwide agency open-day for schools, Advertising Unlocked. Former IPA president Douglas had previously begun work on this initiative.

Though TikTok is hugely popular with young users, the company has come under increasing scrutiny by Western governments in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the UK Government moved to ban the platform from Government devices, and the Biden administration has sought to force a sale or else ban the app entirely from the country, citing national security concerns. Thus far, advertisers have not been reportedly spooked by such moves, however.

Krichefski will also look to amplify the “more purposeful aspects of agency work” through Advertising Unlocked and its agency-representative IPA Talent Taskforce, reward examples of effective advertisings via his choice of IPA Effectiveness Awards’ President Prize, and work closely with IPA city heads on how agencies can further bring to life the opportunities for potential talent in different regions of the UK to get into the industry.

‘Opening hearts’

The IPA looks to help to create a more inclusive workplace environment to retain and nurture its existing talent through continuing to build on its Talent & Diversity Hub.

The IPA will create an Inclusivity Resource Hub to provide training courses and practices to help create more inclusive working cultures.

The body will aim for all its members to have committed a minimum of 15% of their staff to complete the IPA Diversity & Inclusion Certificate. It is also encouraging IPA members agencies to have their staff enter the cross-industry All In survey, and is creating a programme inviting IPA iList role models to be public industry ambassadors for change.

‘Opening minds’

The third core tenet of Krichefski’s agenda will see him attempt to “usher in a new era of mental health” by rolling out a three-point framework to the advertising agency business to “help restore the shine of its people”.

The framework is informed by research from Deloitte, published in March 2022, which found that the estimated total annual cost of poor mental health to employers has increased by 25 percent since 2019, reaching close to £56 billion in 2021.

In media and advertising, mental health calls to advertising and media charity NABS rose year-on-year by 31%; compared to pre-pandemic figures this is a 74% increase.

The IPA’s new three-point mental health framework can be broken down into three segments:

Empower our people and build mental health awareness:

Achieved by supplying relevant training, encouraging openness and dialogue around the topic, and listening to our people to identify workplace stressors.

Support our people by creating the right working conditions to promote mental wellbeing:

Achieved through implementing proven evidenced-based interventions, making appropriate accommodations for those who are struggling, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptation.

Prevent future problems:

Achieved through creating inclusive workplace cultures and not toxic ones, monitoring workplace mental health and evaluating interventions, and by being transparent with employees through sharing the results.

“Prioritising mental health in the workplace not only benefits workers, but employers through increased productivity, retention, and innovation, and society as a whole through improved family and community wellbeing, social cohesion, and economic performance,” said Krichefski. “Yet mental health is widely misunderstood and under-resourced by employers. Even those that want to support mental health can lack knowledge of best practices or resources to implement them, while others lack confidence in the utility of workplace interventions to produce positive returns.

“By providing employers with an effective, feasible, and flexible framework to implement within their organisations that supports worker mental health and in turn, fosters a healthy and productive workforce, I believe we will all win.”

The framework will be developed over the coming months and housed, and supported by, a New IPA Era on Mental Health Resource Hub.

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