The results from the World Economic Forum on the Gender Equality Gap 2020 remind us there’s still a long way to go to true gender parity.
99.5 years they estimate.
Luckily companies like CPM have been championing equality and diversity for decades.
Owned by the Omnicom group, they’ve been a global force in the outsourced field sales and marketing landscape for the last 85 years, now operating within 35 countries across the globe.
Creating an inclusive culture is nothing new to the CPM Teams, it’s in their DNA, reflected in the fact that 50% of the group’s senior leadership is female.
Step inside this progressive organisation and see how they’re actioning the change we need to see.
CPM has supported #IWD since 1997.
Mike Hughes, CPM’s CEO says: “CPM has always been a gender-diverse business but like many things, there is more we can and will do.
Supporting IWD allows us to celebrate the achievements of the thousands of women who work for CPM throughout the world and I would like to thank all of you for what you do for CPM, for each other, for our clients and for our and your communities.
Through our owners Omnicom, we are fortunate and happy to be able to actively participate in global initiatives such as OPEN and Omniwomen; this makes our company a more diverse, equal and inclusive environment which in turn allows us to do the best job for our clients by reflecting the societies in which we live and work.
I really like this year’s IWD theme ‘Choose To Challenge’. A challenged world is an alert world and I would like to think all our colleagues feel able to call out gender bias and inequality and to be treated seriously and with respect when you do, but if you don’t, this is the year for that to change and I would encourage you all to exercise your ability to choose to challenge”.
Michelle Tugwell, CPM’s new Chief People Officer says over the coming years they’ll harness a global strategy. Currently, a lot is done at local level albeit with joined-up initiatives through OPEN & Omniwomen and its annual summit.
Michelle’s passionate about creating a truly diverse and inclusive culture whilst challenging traditional stereotypes in the workplace.
She states how important it is that people feel they can be themselves and benefit from an inclusive, supportive team around them.
Having never been overtly ‘ambitious’ and being open about sometimes lacking in confidence herself, she learnt she was capable of doing increasingly more senior jobs from the confidence others (both female and male bosses) had in her.
“As a company, we’re big on mentorship. I’ve seen from personal experience when others have confidence in you, you believe you’re capable too”.
Mentoring and leading by example comes naturally to CPM.
Karen says it was CPM’s investment in sponsorship and mentoring that made a big difference to her self-belief.
“I was very lucky to have 2 great female sponsors at CPM. They encouraged me, championed me, and gave me the confidence to believe I could take on more senior leadership roles”.
Luci Beaufort -Dysart – Director of Hyphen is joining Karen on the Omniwomen committee this year and is excited to help shape the events and 2021 year-long programme. For Luci, investing in a company’s culture is only ever a good thing.
“I had a couple of female bosses in my former career who really championed me and taught me how important it is to: treat everyone with respect, not to dwell on the inevitable things that go wrong and to build relationships with people at every level”.
She believes getting along with your colleagues is key to getting the most out of your work.
“I’m one of the senior leads on our internal sports and social committee. Driving this forward is something I feel passionately about”.
Kirstin Knight –General Manager of Cosine, joined CPM’s subsidiary company just 18 months ago. Whilst she’s keen to point out she’s enjoyed working with inspiring male and female colleagues since joining the CPM family, she says it’s refreshing to be part of a company with so many women in senior roles.
“One of the most challenging things for me to overcome as a female leader has been balancing my career with raising my kids; especially as one of my children has special needs. In my former career, I had to tell a few white lies to attend medical appointments (there were so many!), which I’m ashamed to admit.
Because of my experiences, I want to commit to being as supportive and flexible as I can be so no other parent – male or female feels they can’t cope anymore”.
How brilliant is it to hear this sort of honest dialogue?
“CPM has been a part of my life for 18 years and as CEO of the French Group the last 13 years, there have been challenges.
CPM has become my second family, my second pillar. I’m able to do this role by putting in a lot of work, being tenacious and with thanks to tremendous relationships (both male and female), which enable me to achieve a good balance between personal and professional life, because the time devoted to my two daughters is the most precious to me”.
On the issue of achieving that elusive balance (family + career), it’s worth talking about flexibility in the workplace.
CPM is a People business, offering a wide variety of career opportunities in an array of disciplines, some of which are part-time or tactical/project-based. So, there’s always been a degree of flexibility ingrained within their culture.
While many commentators have spoken about their hope that the post-pandemic world will begin to reset many of the imbalances in society, CPM are in a brilliant position to catapult off the back of the great work they’ve already done.
Michelle says that everyone has adapted so well to working from home, they’re reviewing their working practices to see how elements of this can remain in the future.
Diversity & Flexibility
Within a world of increasing diversity, accelerated by globalisation and the ability to remote work (thanks COVID), we expect work expectations to change, from both employees and employers alike.
CPM are committed to embracing diversity and flexibility.
Lorraine Butler – MD of CPM Ireland says she wants CPM to challenge themselves to consider the diversity of how family units are created and aligning support for employees around this, as a means to helping create concentrated change.
“At CPM Ireland, we’re currently looking into how we can implement incremental support(s) for families going through fertility treatment, ensuring people have the bandwidth and freedom to go through this challenging experience without the additional challenges of worrying about keeping this hidden from work”.
Lorraine also points out another issue of huge importance here:
“Given people are our greatest asset, we need to be mindful of ageism”.
As far as both diversity and inclusivity go, this couldn’t be more poignant today.
The female workforce aged 50-64 has grown 50% in the last 10 years.
The outdated view that women of a certain age just want to wander off into a menopausal fog or coast their way into retirement, is completely off the mark.
CPM value equality and diversity and develop staff throughout their careers.
CPM works hard to understand the challenges that women face in their careers, not just around family but as the gender more likely to suffer from imposter syndrome (or admit to it anyway), and be judged by their age and the conditions that can accompany these life stages.
Veronique says gender equality is part of CPM’s DNA.
“Every year we ensure we make changes and one example is with our gender equality index. Last year we increased our score by 9 points (97/100). The fact our Executive committee is 50% female spreads inclusivity into the whole company. This year I’m committing to even more involvement, Co-Chairing Omniwomen France.”
Recruitment and attraction
With an understanding of the importance of finding new talent, from more diverse backgrounds and via more diverse sources, CPM has established a new recruitment strategy in the UK and are looking at replicating this across the group.
They work hard to ensure their advertising and selection process is free from gender bias. By decoding ad copy to eliminate words with unconscious bias and using creative containing more balanced representation from all walks of life. Plus, they’re placing increased emphasis on ‘will versus skill’. Focusing more on behaviours and attitude versus direct experience, they’ve seen an increase in the diversity of applications.
And finally, CPM is choosing to challenge old-fashioned stereotypes common in the workplace.
Michelle is a huge advocate of being open, honest and genuine.
CPM has been focused on supporting employee’s mental wellbeing, making a variety of tools and resources available, and have recently trained a team of Mental Health First Aiders.
They also operate a menopause policy, looking to protect their employees’ wellbeing in whatever way they can.
By speaking out and encouraging honesty, CPM hope the future of work will alter unconscious behaviours and attitudes for the better.
And as Lorraine Butler reminds us, Anita Roddick had some excellent advice:
“If you think you are too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito”!
With CPM #ChooseToChallenge and taking action week in week out, it might be less than 99.5 years until gender parity is in touching distance.
Watch this CPM space
Follow us on social to see the changes we action this year and all that happens at Omniwomen2021
1. Benefit from elite sales talent
Your company needs star performers and the best place to find them is at a sales specialist. An outsourced sales provider is a community of experts in their field of sales. Their knowledge will be honed through years of working with dedicated colleagues across a variety of companies, brands and sectors. To identify the very best in the industry look for a partner with a strong philosophy of training and benchmarking. For example, sales outsourcer CPM runs a Sales Academy to educate its in-house sales teams. It also offers this service to clients. CPM then benchmarks performance to track “star” performers, “winners”, “puzzles” and (hopefully few) “passengers”. The company has been an Investor in People for 15 years, holding silver status. A partner can be beneficial for the in-house talent pipeline too. Best practice will be shared, training offered and candidates from the outsourcer may move in-house. Each year CPM provides a sales talent pipeline for blue-chip organisations that this year alone has recruited more than 50 salespeople from CPM into their wider organisations.
2. Glean insights from other industries
A classic business strategy is to observe behaviours in other sectors and then incorporate them into your own. By using an outsourced sales partner you gain instant access to a galaxy of information. A sales outsourcer will work across a whole range of companies and channels, including retail, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), utilities, automotive, technology, financial services and business to business. The outsourcer collects data from every transaction which, when anonymised, can be used to improve the performance of other clients. Karen Jackson, managing director of CPM, says: “We process 75 million pieces of sales data each week. This data is hugely important as it provides empirical evidence to support decision-making.” Evidence that it works? “Our average return-on-investment measure shows we have grown our clients’ sales by 24 per cent year on year,” she says.
3. Conquer omnichannel
The Holy Grail of sales. In order to be omnichannel, an organisation must be able to track a consumer across mobile, online, e-mail, social media, in person at the store and over the phone. Consumers also expect a seamless sales experience regardless of the channels they use. Weaving these channels together into a single picture of each consumer can be a nightmare. Most companies don’t even try. The obvious solution is to go to a sales specialist with the technology to implement an omnichannel experience. This may involve uniting existing technologies or it may mean introducing new systems. The key is to find an outsourcer that knows how to capitalise on the data collected. This opens up data-led sales campaigns in which messages are tailored to each and every customer. Ask your potential sales partner for examples of how they’ve implemented and then maximised omnichannel for a client.
4. Access specialist sales technology
It’s not just omnichannel where the latest technology comes in handy. Your company needs the best solutions for all sales-related matters. And here’s where a sales partner can make a real impact. A premium-level sales outsourcer will provide access to the most productive sales technology. For example, CPM is an accredited partner of Salesforce.com, so it can use the best cloud-based sales technology. Salesforce is also easy to integrate with existing systems, ensuring a high degree of compatibility between a client’s current systems. CPM also boasts a deep knowledge of the Salesforce AppExchange, which adds functionality to the core product. In addition, CPM is familiar with the latest tech in the fields it works in, including contact centres, field sales, digital analytics, experiential shopping and training. This expertise can be introduced into your organisation.
At Christmas there’s a sales rush. Some companies hire for the season, then downsize in early-January. Many get it wrong, leading to bottlenecks in the pipeline and unhappy customers. An outsourced sales partner can help ramp up sales capacity smoothly. At a stroke you can access greater headcount around the clock. Product recalls are another key time. Ms Jackson explains: “We have supported our clients in providing additional face-to-face resource within 24 hours to support retailers in removing product from shelves and siting information notices, protecting trading relationships. Customer service teams are upscaled to handle the increase in consumer queries. At CPM we have supported two of our FMCG clients in this way in the last two months alone, increasing resource the same day.” Outsourcing is also a great way to grow a channel, territory or segment without being constrained by internal headcount restrictions, formalised pay-banding structures or pension arrangements. Throughout the year, CPM books more than 650 sales campaigns for a variety of clients. These run from 25 health and beauty specialists to over 700 active selling colleagues, at timescales as short as four weeks’ notice. Relationships range from a month to numerous 25-year-plus strategic relationships. It handles unusual requests, such as finding 30 Chinese speakers within four weeks to take a household sauce from 20 to 70 per cent penetration across four UK major cities. Clients think of it like a tap they can turn on and off when they need, without any of the ongoing costs.
6. Get strategic advice
A sales outsourcer will bring genuine expertise to the relationship. It can help you construct a long-term strategy, and advise on granular issues, such as how to split budget between marketing channels and which consumer segments to prioritise. CPM has more than 80 years’ experience selling products across many sectors, channels, segments, through face to face, over the telephone and digitally. Ms Jackson says: “Sales is our business. We have specialists that cover talent management, data and analytics, and operations to deliver an unbeatable combination. We can help clients develop a sales strategy, acting as consultants, to ensure they have the optimum approach in everything they do.”
7. Lower risk
Around 70 per cent of companies enter outsourcing arrangements to make cost-savings. This is valid, but underestimates the other benefits. By using an outsourcer all peripheral costs are eliminated. The overheads of hiring and developing talent are gone. The mindspace absorbed by running a team is freed up for more important tasks. And risk is reduced. There’s no longer a danger of buying the wrong sales software or struggling to use data in the right way. A sales partner will ensure you are working near maximum potential from the start of your campaign to the end. Furthermore, the “risk and reward” remuneration models used in outsourcing ensure there is skin in the game for everyone. Agencies are accountable for the return they deliver and therefore driven to focus on the agreed strategy. It’s why the world’s fastest-growing organisations use sales partners.
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