People & CultureWe are building an organisation that is profoundly human…. A healthy working environment, where everyone belongs.
Our global talents are our most precious resource. Operating in a human-centric business, we have long prioritised the wellbeing of our employees, supporting them in their career journey and ensuring a diverse and inclusive workplace. In doing so, we are building an organisation that is profoundly human, with a focus on care and responsibility.
Thriving through diversity, making space for breakthrough moments, living by growth and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship are the core values we stand by and will continue to build upon within the mci group.
“The pandemic has forced us to give up many things we took for granted, but it has also taught us to think and work differently and be even more creative.
I am so proud to see how resilient our teams have been, how they learned to transform themselves for the better and how together we pulled through. I want to thank all our talents for believing in mci group and helping us build an incredible company to work for.”
Group Vice-President People & Culture
A responsible employer
At mci group, we want to create long-term relationships with our talents that build personal success and fulfilment.
In 2020, 88% of our workforce had a permanent employment contract, 4% had fixed-term contracts, 6% were freelancers, and 2% were interns/apprentices.
Our permanent employee turnover in 2020 was 26.9%, due to our group reorganisation strategy and workforce adjustments caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent decline in activity. However, our employee retention rate (taking into account only resignations among our permanent employees) shows a positive trend with 92.8% in 2020, compared to 83.7% in 2019.
To limit furlough and preserve knowledge and operational strength, we used employment subsidies and paused recruitment wherever possible. Our leadership team also accepted a salary cut.
Our group sustainability team works with group human resources (HR) and agency HR to regularly review and align our operations with best practices in human rights and labour rights impacts and compliance with laws (ie, International Labour Organisation).
We carefully monitor wage equality in the workplace at a country level, ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations.
Remuneration is aligned with local industry standards. Not all our agencies offer identical benefits but typically they include health and wellness programmes, health and/or accident insurance and/or retirement savings plans. Some talents are on a performance-based incentive plan and our senior leaders may participate in a share-based incentive plan.
We support the rights of our people to join trade unions and to bargain collectively, although trade union membership is not particularly widespread in our industry and in some of the regions in which we operate.
We will continue to improve, where needed, our impact on our own operations and business relationships, notably in terms of human rights, equity and decent work.
Note: all figures mentioned in the following sections exclude our affiliates and ventures.
Working from home
The safety and wellbeing of our people has always been our top priority, more so since the onset of the pandemic. Working from home as much as possible was recommended throughout this time and flexible working arrangements and hours were supported.
Thanks to our existing technology and collaborative tools, we could ensure that our teams stayed connected and could keep on working productively.
As per our internal talent engagement survey (see more below), only 9% of our workforce felt they were less productive working from home. 43% said they were more productive and 37% that their productivity was not affected.
A task force, consisting of our group HR team and some of our agency HR, created work-from-home guidelines, with a set of recommendations and practices that could be implemented by our agencies or adapted to local situations.
In the future, we foresee increased flexibility and a mix of office presence and remote work (hybrid work) which we’re eager to support. Our group HR team is continually developing our work of the future strategy.
Thriving through diversity
“Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B) is a topic that is dear to my heart. At mci group, diversity has been one of our core values from the beginning and one we sincerely believe in. It’s not about numbers or quotas but about creating a culture in which all individuals feel safe, respected and accepted for who they are.”
Group Vice-President People & Culture
Our team originates from more than 60 countries and speaks at least 60 languages. This diversity fosters an international mindset and understanding of society that enhances creativity and our ability to work cross-culturally as we accompany our clients into new markets.
“Believing in people and thriving in diversity” is one of our core values. We want to build an organisation that actively promotes diversity and inclusion in all its forms, including culture, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation and physical ability.
Following the racial attacks and widespread protests we all witnessed last year, a few of our talents reached out to our CEO and the group sustainability team as they proactively wanted to be involved in diversity and inclusion issues.
As a result, we formed our diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B) task force. The team was tasked to map what was working within the mci group and where we need to improve.
Ultimately we want to build an organisation where we all feel safe and accepted, and where we can all thrive and feel we belong.
Creating a learning culture; boosting performance
“Instilling a curiosity and growth mindset to push the boundaries of current knowledge and skills is at the heart of building a high-performance culture. We are equipping our talents to pursue a path of continuous growth to work effectively and succeed in a transformed world of work and business.”
Group Learning and Development Director
Talent development is powered by the group institute, our global learning centre of excellence. We strive to provide an environment which fosters our talents’ capabilities and performance in order to best serve our clients and drive tangible business results.
Our learning and development philosophy is built around the well-researched “70-20-10” learning model. Leveraged by learning departments in the world’s leading organisations, besides formal learning initiatives such as in-person workshops and live webinars we facilitate and encourage learning through human-centred exchange, networks, feedback, practice and on-the-job experience.
Learning programmes are built on strong internal expertise and external partnerships with key industry associations and academic institutions, developed to meet the needs of the business as well as the individual.
In recent years, learning and development at mci group has gone through a profound transformation. From providing educational programmes in multiple business, functional and leadership areas to establishing a comprehensive digital learning ecosystem that includes our pioneering AI-powered learning recommendation platform, ‘RoSe,’ we have accelerated learning and development’s strategy to be “future-fit” in the era of the fourth industrial revolution.
More than 5,000 knowledge and educational resources are available on demand across our comprehensive digital learning platforms and are open to all talents at all levels of the organisation.
The Global Academy is the annual focal point of the learning and development calendar. In September 2020, under the theme “#MakeTomorrowPossible”, we organised our first virtual version of the academy, available to all talents – combined with many localised learning weeks offered in several agencies. Some 887 talents participated in this first company-wide learning event, hearing from 95 expert speakers, exchanging ideas, sharing experiences and networking with their peers.
The “learning week” at mci group is about generating and sustaining enthusiasm for learning and development all year round. Designed and driven by each agency, the learning week provides an opportunity to motivate talents with contextualised learning content and resources to support their growth and complement learning opportunities accessible throughout the year. Learning weeks empower offices to shape their programmes according to local needs, ensuring maximum relevance, talent participation and engagement.
Updating and modernising our onboarding process has been on our to-do list for some time. The pandemic, and the fact that most of our offices were closed for long periods, pushed this process to the top of our priority list.
Our objectives were to have a solution that ensures consistency in the messaging, is adapted to remote working, and which provides the possibility of monitoring completion.
Launched in early 2021, our Onboarding 2.0 programme consists of a series of online training courses followed by a short self-assessment. Each new hire has to complete the programme within the first two months. These “learning essentials” cover brand guidelines, IT, data protection and information security management, safety and security, sustainability, procurement, ethics and soon to come DEI&B.
Health and wellbeing: nurturing our talents
The health and wellbeing of our employees is an important and serious matter. In 2020, our talents were facing unprecedented challenges as they adapted to a “new normal”, with the majority dealing with working from home for the first time. With increased stress an emerging health and safety hazard, in 2020 we intensified initiatives to help our talents take care of their mental and physical wellbeing.
As part of these initiatives, we created our wellbeing and mental health task force and produced or highlighted educational wellbeing resources and advice on how to take care of mental and emotional health.
Throughout the year, we offered our talents a series of 45-minute online yoga and meditation sessions called “Permission to be human” which aimed to help everyone cope with their anxieties and fears.
We also conducted eight webinars in which we shared tips on healthy living, balanced lifestyles, staying active and coping with stress.
Listening to our talents and communication
In an effort to more deeply connect with the needs of our people, we took the time to engage with and listen to our talents regularly through various initiatives. This allowed us to better understand their views on work at mci group and ensured they felt heard.
In 2020, we adapted our annual talent engagement survey to the particular situation, ensuring our talents continued to feel acknowledged, supported and safe.
A total of 844 talents completed the survey between September and October 2020. Here are some of the highlights:
Talents’ average satisfaction score is
8.17/10 – Significantly improved vs last year (7.53/10) and exceeding our objective of 4/5 satisfaction score.
Talents’ average response to being asked if they trust their direct manager is
8.62/10 (+6% compared to 2019).
Talents' average response to being asked if they are proud to work at mci group is
8.55/10 (+10% compared to 2019).
Talents’ average response to being asked if they appreciate our CEO's transparent communication during the regular town hall meetings is
As part of our materiality assessment, we carried out a specific internal survey to receive feedback on our sustainability programme, and had 338 respondents. Here are some highlights:
Talents rated the importance of sustainable business practice at mci group a 4.19/5 with the top three reasons being:
because it inspires and enables them to live a more sustainable and healthy life at work
because it’s strategic (added value)
because it encourages innovation
CEO town halls (#togetherisbetter)
In 2020, we launched our global CEO town hall meetings. Held four times throughout the year, these meetings allowed two-way communication between leadership and all talents, using polls and live Q&As.
This format has been extended in 2021 with “Town hall on the road”, a series of 16 local meetings in which our CEO virtually visits different agencies.
Our performance in 2020
- Accelerating our DEI&B initiatives, which will focus on continuing to raise awareness, provide additional training, align our recruitment and more importantly find solutions together.
- Further developing our “work in the future” strategy – improving a hybrid home/office work system.
- Improving our recruitment and retention strategy: Exploring how to attract the best talents and how to retain talents in a market where competition is fierce.
- Continuing our wellbeing and mental health programmes.
- Continuing to provide shared breakthrough experiences for our talents to connect and feel inspired (global academy, appreciation moment, CEO town halls, etc).