IPG Offering ‘Day of Healing’ to Employees Tomorrow

By Erik Oster 

IPG is extending a “Day of Healing” to employees tomorrow, who are being encouraged to take the day off.

The offer is being extended to around 1,000 employees that comprise IPG’s corporate team, according to a spokesperson. IPG also invited each of its agencies to participate and extend the offer to their employees. Agencies including IPG Mediabrands and McCann have done so. Other agencies, including Huge, are planning upcoming events for Juneteenth on June 19.

In an internal note announcing the “Day of Healing,” IPG explained it was “closing” its corporate offices to “stand in solidarity with those fighting injustice here in the U.S. and around the world.”

“For some of us, this will be a day of reflection to consider how we can be better allies, and for others, especially our Black and Brown employees, you may be exhausted and simply need time to take a break,” the message continued.

IPG reminded employees of available mental health and wellness resources while acknowledging that’s only part of the solution of mitigating stress during this difficult time and expressed the desire for the “Day of Healing” to relieve work pressures so employees can have “time to process, to give your attention to the issues of racial justice and equity and what they mean for you.”

“For some, it’s not just the last few weeks, but a lifetime,” IPG acknowledged, while expressing the hope that employees use the day to “spend time learning, volunteering, or having conversations with friends and family about our roles in improving racial justice and diversity.”

IPG’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group will stay online tomorrow to offer support to employees who need it. Employees who can’t take the day off are encouraged to speak to their managers about finding another day to take instead, which will not be used against their paid time off.

McCann’s Message on Its ‘Day of Healing’

In McCann’s extension of the day to employees, McCann CEO Harris Diamond issued an internal memo to staffers.

“Black Americans have endured racism and intolerance for too long,” Diamond said in the memo. “To stand in solidarity and to give each of us some time if even briefly to seriously separate from work and focus on the major societal issues involved, we will be closing our offices this Friday, June 5.”

Diamond stressed that McCann employees were, of course, “part of a larger community” beyond work which includes “broader responsibilities,” adding that it is “critically important that we continually recognize, refresh and dedicate ourselves to the core obligations and values that come with our human roles in the societies in which we live.”

“The impact of recent events has of course weighed most heavily on people of color, who have had to live their entire lives under the shadow of this discrimination. But all of us, myself included, need to reflect on the significance of these injustices and how we might become better allies. I also recognize that as a company there is more that we must do internally and we will,” he said, without providing any further details on any plans for such actions.

“As a Day of Healing, this Friday is meant to be more than the proverbial moment of silence,” he stressed. “Without the pressures of work, the entire management and leadership team hope that it can provide you with some opportunity to grieve and focus.”

He explained IPG was also extending the day to its corporate employees, with IPG’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group remaining online to offer support, and asked that employees who couldn’t take the day off speak with managers about taking a different day, in line with IPG’s communications.

“On behalf of the entire management and leadership team, I hope that the Day of Healing will be a valuable and meaningful one for you,” he concluded.

IPG Mediabrands and Kinesso’s ‘Day of Solidarity’

In their own internal announcement, IPG Mediabrands CEO Daryl Lee as well as IPG chief data and marketing technology officer and Kinesso CEO Arun Kumar announced a “Day of Solidarity” for employees on June 5 “to stand with everyone who is working toward a society where there is justice and equality for all.”

“This is in response to the brutal acts of violence we have seen in recent months, and again in recent days, against Black/African-American people and communities,” they explained in the memo. “On top of the effects of Covid-19 disproportionately affecting communities of color in the US, these acts of violence have highlighted the enduring problem of inequality and systemic racism in the U.S.”

They added that many around the world at IPG Mediabrands and Kinesso have also expressed horror at these recent acts of violence and asked how they can express solidarity. As a result, they announced that they are also encouraging global employees to take the day off as a “Day of Solidarity,” asking that they inform their managers ahead of time and that managers proactively communicate that such requests will be accommodated.

“Of course, we will make sure that we continue to take care of our clients during this time, as we do with other national and international days of community involvement and social action,” Kumar and Lee explained.

“As well as taking action in our own way to work toward a more equal and just society, we will rededicate ourselves within Mediabrands and Kinesso to making our culture of care even stronger: more diverse and more united,” they added, concluding, “Let’s take care of ourselves and each other during this time.”

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