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14 Jul 2023
by Ian Grimshaw

Ian Grimshaw of Dentsu on the balance between globalisation and decentralisation

Global benefits director, Ian Grimshaw, on why company-wide consistency in employee wellbeing is vital.

Ian Grimshaw of Dentsu on the balance between globalisation and decentralisation.jpg


Dentsu is a global advertising, public relations and creative agency and we have grown quickly through the acquisition of smaller companies

Our employees are mostly young and creative Millennials or Gen Z, but we also have an ageing workforce in some parts of the organisation at a senior level.

Wellbeing is part of our employee experience at global level, so we look at these two elements together in developing our strategy and creating a consistent EVP.

Our multiple acquisitions mean we have a decentralised model, which can lead to differences of experience within the Dentsu group. One of our key goals for wellbeing and employee experience is to bring our range of different brands together as a consistent company and offering across multiple regions, and help everyone to identify as being part of Dentsu.

At present, in some regions and teams, there is a strong focus on wellbeing, but much less support in others. In time, employees will inevitably become aware of those differences. We aim to complement state systems in the different regions where we operate in terms of wellbeing design. 

Some parts of the group are also more engaged with employee experience and wellbeing than others, so we sometimes see inconsistencies even within the same country. The challenge is in finding the right balance of globalisation and decentralisation – we want to encourage ideas that work locally, but we also want to ensure a consistent employee experience.

Inclusive healthcare

Creating inclusive healthcare DEI is also an important part of our employee experience plans and one of the factors we use for considering new benefits. That sometimes means taking difficult decisions about what actions will have the most impact and be cost-effective for the business. We have to weigh up offering a benefit for a small group of employees, versus what we can provide for as many people as possible globally. ‘Work anywhere’ can’t work without an egalitarian approach, so harmonising benefits is important and supports mobility.

Offering time off is one way that we can give support everywhere. For example, we have company-wide global mental health days each year, where everyone can take time away from work to focus on their own wellbeing. During that time, we saw around a 60% fall in email traffic, so employees were also less worried about inbox overload when they returned to work.

Employees also have additional wellbeing days that they can use for any reason – such as menopause issues, mental health or simply not feeling like work. These days off are valuable, but not everyone is aware of them, so we want to make sure that our communications are also working effectively.

Overall, we want to create a culture where people can thrive, and where we support employees when they are having a difficult time. That can mean empowering line managers and driving mindset changes across the whole organisation or in particular teams.