The #MeToo movement has led to high-profile departures across the business world and a re-examination of workplace processes. In the ad industry, which has seen big-name exits such as Gustavo Martinez at JWT, Joe Alexander at The Martin Agency and, just this week, Mike Germano at Vice Media’s Carrot Creative and Ted Royer at Droga5, policies on interoffice dating are getting a new look.
Digiday spoke with a combination of 23 agencies, human resources consultancies and marketers, several of whom asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the subject, about their existing or nonexistent dating policies. Across the 11 ad agencies Digiday spoke to, views vary on whether they should enforce a dating policy or if one would have any effect on sexual harassment. Out of the 11 ad agencies, five agencies have dating policies and are revisiting them. Six agencies say they’ve have never had such a policy, and they question their effectiveness.
“Dating polices are not a new phenomenon, but with the renewed conversation around harassment in the workplace, we are seeing ad agencies take a moment to consider whether they need one or how they might update one,” said Annick Miller, director of HR consulting at Namely, an HR software platform that also consults on companies’ HR strategies.
“We’ve been thinking about adding a dating policy,” said one HR director at an independent ad agency, who requested anonymity. “Not that we have a large issue with dating, but we want to do everything we can to make sure we are protecting ourselves when it comes to situations that could open ourselves up to sexual harassment issues.”