In our diversity, equity and inclusion work with our clients, one of the first, biggest and most common questions that comes up is… what first? “We can see the need for fixing,” organizations tell us, “but what should we do and where do we start??” Obviously, we’ve been here to help guide organizations forward and a major initiative from the World Federation of Advertisers is a new and big step. In 2021, they surveyed 160 organizations across 27 different countries, representing more than 10,000 people, for the global marketing industry’s largest DEI collaboration yet. The results further reinforce our work and offer a targeted list of goals. With the most reported forms of discrimination (in no particular order) being age, family status, gender, race and disability, an alarming one-in-seven respondents said they would consider leaving the marketing industry due to a lack of diversity, equity and inclusion. And that’s in a field that scored higher on inclusion (at 64%) than ten other industries (the tech sector and telecommunications scored only 34%). Overall, a mere 35% of global respondents said their company provides equal pay for equal work. That needs to change.
In September 2021, I offered a series of change management lessons for leaders and now the WFA has proposed four changes at the leadership level that, for any organization, should be implemented immediately: Create a diverse leadership team Leadership must reflect the diversity of its employees and customer base, while also providing role models and mentorships for fair career paths. Collect DEI data and make it accessible to everyone “Measure what you treasure,” they say and that goes for employee beliefs and biases and blocks to success. Feedback loops are essential and should be internally available. Build strong and transparent anti-discrimination policies Fair and firm, anti-discrimination policies must be clear and available and understanding of intersectionality and nuance. Create safe spaces for employees to speak up about DEI People leave when they don’t feel heard so allow room for candid conversation with clear rules of engagement. As always, Breakfast Culture can support your team in this.
While these four actions are offered as minimum requirements for all organizations, the 2021 Global DEI Census found six main areas of discrimination and bias and recommends the following actions to start reducing them:
More than a quarter of respondents — young and old alike — agreed that people are not treated equally in terms of age. Continued coaching and mentorships for employees of any age is vital for any organization wanting to retain top talent.
40% of women and 25% of men agreed that companies are not always supportive of family caregiving responsibilities, whether that be for employees on parental leave or for employees needing to be caregivers for elderly parents. More flexible policies and supports are needed.
A third of women feel undervalued at work, with less than half believing that management does not discriminate in hiring or career advancement. Better supports for women (especially those caregiving) are needed, also tailored for women from different cultures and experiences.
Race and ethnicity
Six of the countries surveyed forbid questions on race so in the 21 in which this was measured, 15 included minority employees feeling as though companies were not supporting them. Policies that will directly and explicitly help and empower ethnic minority members will have a great impact on them, the workplace and society at large.
Disability and neurodivergence
Across the board, people with disabilities are underrepresented in the workplace and tend to feel a lower sense of belonging. Accessibility needs must be explored in the employee onboarding process and these needs should be prioritized and normalized.
Sexual orientation and gender identity
35% of LGBTQ+ respondents are feeling constantly anxious in their workplaces. Many companies will show rainbow support but not back that up with pay and bonuses or equal benefits to same-sex couples. Also, trans and non-binary employees often suffer not having their identities recognized.
And finally, the WFA survey recognized that mental health is an increasing area of importance. Of all global workers reporting a long-term health condition, 71% said it was related to mental health, with a third of all respondents reporting workplace anxiety and stress. Providing accessible mental health benefits and being trained in support is vital for all people managers.
The path forward seems daunting. There’s lots to fix but the need and the rewards for doing so are great. As always, Breakfast Culture’s D&I Audit process is a structured, data-driven approach created in collaboration with your organization’s needs and goals. We’re all working to navigate a path through our current crises and create a better future for all workers.
Happy to jump on a call to discuss how Breakfast Culture can help with your organizational diversity and inclusion journey. Schedule a 30-minute meeting today: https://calendly.com/jefferson7/30min
Let's Break Some Eggs!
– Jefferson Darrell, Founder and CEO, Breakfast Culture™ Inc.