New IPA President Josh Krichefski launches ‘People First’ agenda

New IPA President Josh Krichefski has announced his three-prong, ‘People First’ agenda to open people’s eyes to the ad industry and to open the hearts and minds of those working within agencies, in order to boost the overall health and wealth of the agency business.

Within his speech, Krichefski set out the three key tenets of his agenda:

  1. Opening eyes: Re-frame 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.

Says Krichefski: “We don’t have factories, trucks, manufactured goods. Our people are everything. 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.

IPA President Josh Krichefski

Krichefski’s ‘People First’ action points:

Opening eyes

To re-frame advertising’s cultural and societal relevance in modern Britain to attract the best talent, Krichefski will set out the following five actions:

  • Tasking our industry’s talent, in collaboration with the AA, with a programme to promote today’s industry:
    • By shining a light on the breadth and range of specialisms and demonstrating how advertising has evolved.
    • And by bringing to life the important role advertising will have in Britain’s economic renewal.
  • Partnering 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. Work is already underway thanks to former IPA President Julian Douglas.
  • Amplifying the more purposeful aspects of agency work through Advertising Unlocked and its agency-representative IPA Talent Taskforce.
  • Rewarding examples of effective advertising that come from the less well-trodden, emerging areas of media, via Krichefski’s choice of IPA Effectiveness Awards’ President Prize.
  • Working closely with IPA City Heads on how agencies can further bring to life the opportunities for potential talent in the regions to get into the industry.

Opening hearts

To help retain and nurture advertising talent, Krichefski is a passionate believer that “everyone within the ad agency business must feel that they belong, that they’re seen, and they’re safe”, The IPA will help to achieve this by:

  • Building on the IPA’s Talent & Diversity Hub, the IPA will create an Inclusivity Resource Hub that provides and updates the very best training courses and practices to create inclusive working cultures.
  • Aiming for all IPA member agencies to have committed a minimum of 15% of their staff complete the IPA Diversity & Inclusion Essentials Certificate.
  • Asking that all IPA member agencies encourage all their people to enter the cross-industry All In survey.
  • Creating a programme inviting the IPA iList role models to be public industry ambassadors for change.

Opening minds

As a long-standing and instrumental mental health ambassador, the third core tenet of Krichefski’s agenda will see him 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. Krichefski’s will deploy the advertising industry as trailblazers in this area for which he is seeking a commitment from all IPA member agencies to sign up.

The framework is informed by recent research from Deloitte which has 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 (2022). Concurrently, 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 three-point mental health framework can be broken down as: 1. Empower, 2. Support and 3. Prevent:

Empower our people and build mental health awareness:

  • 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:

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

Prevent future problems:

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

Says Krichefski: “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. 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.

IPA President Josh Krichefski

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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