Publicis campaigns to erase stigma of cancer at work

There are many stigmas in the workplace. Whether it’s a disability, coping with kids, sexuality, gender, menstruation or menopause, employers are learning that they have to step up to provide a more inclusive environment if they want to retain talent.

At Publicis Groupe, CEO Arthur Sadoun has recently experienced another potential stigma — sickness —  and his open, honest approach to dealing with HPV-related cancer will have been a help to other people with similar challenges. As a result of Sadoun’s experiences, Publicis Foundation has created a new film addressing the fact that 50% of cancer patients are afraid to tell their employer about their diagnosis.

The film illustrates what cancer patients go through when they hide their condition from their colleagues, and kick starts a campaign asking companies to commit to building open, supportive and recovery-forward work cultures for their employees.

Working with Cancer already has the support of big companies including Adobe, AXA, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, BT, Carrefour, Citi, Disney, EE, Google, L’Oréal, Lloyd’s, LVMH, Marriott, McDonald’s, Meta, Mondelez, Microsoft, MSD, Nestlé, Orange, Omnicom, Pepsico, Reckitt, Renault Group, Toyota, Unilever, Verizon, and Walmart.

Publicis’ own pledge includes providing cancer patients with full job security for at least one year, and bringing the necessary career support for them and for their caregivers.

Sadoun said: “It is a tough reality, but whether directly or indirectly, every one of us will have to confront cancer in our lives and in our workplaces. Companies have a key role to play in that. Working with Cancer is an increasingly important initiative, on a front that many businesses are already invested in. By making their existing efforts more accessible and visible, together we can reduce the anxiety and stigma of cancer in the workplace and positively impact our people’s health. Through a truly collaborative approach, a light lift from everyone becomes deep and lasting impact for cancer patients at work.”

For World Cancer Day on 4th February, Working with Cancer will amplify the message with $100 million in media that has been donated by partners around the world.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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