Welcome from Mike Coates, President & CEO Americas Region
Hill+Knowlton Strategies has reached a milestone in the release of its first sustainability report. While our teams have consulted, advised and been in the weeds of reports for many clients, this is our inaugural effort of turning our years of sustainability experience on ourselves.
Even though I have been a part of this team for just a few months, I know this report reflects the best examples of our firm and areas of growth. These are the very things that have made me excited to come to work every day in my new role. This report covers the U.S. operations for H+K Strategies and represents input from many of our employees, clients and partner organizations.
We see sustainability as an integration of economic, environmental and social considerations as well as corporate values. We incorporate these values into our business strategy while keeping our focus on growing our business and building our brand.
Without a doubt, our most valuable resource — and the primary reason clients hire us — is our talent. I am proud that in 2013, our U.S. employees spent nearly 4,000 hours in informal and formal training. Each training course was designed not only to help our team better serve our clients, but also to provide valuable skills employees can use to grow their careers.
We also created mentoring programs and internal communications platforms, such as H+K Exchange, to allow ideas and best practices to be shared across the network. These new programs and platforms provide new opportunities to learn more about our colleagues in fun and interesting ways.
This report reinforces that H+K Strategies is a great place to start a career. A favorite statistic of mine is that over 80 employees started in the firm’s fellow program. As one of the firm’s top performers who started as a fellow over a decade ago said: “I found people who have challenged me, who wanted to see me succeed and who've cheered on that success. That combination I found has offered me the chance not just to excel at a job, but to build a real career.”
Another foundational principle of H+K Strategies is our unwavering commitment to ethical behavior. We follow the Code of Conduct of WPP, our parent company, and all H+K employees are required to undergo regular training programs and educational seminars that are either sponsored by H+K Strategies or WPP. Of note, WPP has a number of Web-based training modules covering bribery and corruption and ethics that are mandatory for all employees.
Our report development highlighted other areas that are very important to H+K Strategies’ success. We learned our employees, clients and business partners value our community involvement. They appreciate our pro-bono work that creates meaningful impact for countless people in the U.S. and abroad.
We also learned our clients want us to be good stewards of their sensitive information. To meet their expectations, we built a commitment to safeguard our information technology systems from unauthorized intrusions.
Although we have many successes and achievements to be proud of, we also have plenty of room to improve. We need a more diverse workforce and we must redouble our efforts to make H+K Strategies a firm of choice for talented people of every age and background – and that includes retaining our best people. We also need to do a better job measuring and monitoring our environmental impact, as we know that is very important to employees and clients alike. To that end, I am excited to announce that in the summer of 2015, H+K Strategies will have a Climate Corps fellow from Environmental Defense Fund to help us improve our performance in this area.
This report represents a first – albeit significant – step in our journey to becoming an even more sustainable company. You will hear and see a lot more from us in the coming years and months as our efforts will continue. We will be expanding the report to include more information on our U.S. operations. We also will provide regular updates on our performance as this report will be dynamic in nature and will continue to improve.
We welcome feedback — from clients, employees and other stakeholders. Thank you for taking a look at our Sustainability Report and using this opportunity to learn more about Hill+Knowlton Strategies.
President & CEO,