Photo via Accenture

New Accenture Research Finds Leaders and Employees Hold Differing Views on Progress Toward Equality

Originally posted on Accenture.com

Cutting the gap by half would boost global profits by US$3.7 trillion, along with workforce ambition and empowerment

A significant gap exists between the way leaders and employees view progress toward equality in their organizations, according to new research from Accenture. Closing the gap will yield substantial benefits for companies and their employees.

The report, “Getting to Equal 2020: The Hidden Value of Culture Makers,” which includes research across 28 countries, found that organizations are at an inflection point: Today’s workforce cares increasingly about workplace culture and believes it is critical to helping them thrive in the workplace (reported by 77% of women and 67% of men), and a majority of leaders (68%) believe an inclusive workplace culture is vital to the success of their business.

At the same time, there is a perception gap: Two thirds of leaders (68%) feel they create empowering environments where people have a sense of belonging, yet just one third (36%) of employees agree. Additionally, the proportion of employees who do not feel included in their organizations is 10x higher than leaders believe (20% vs 2%, respectively).

Most leaders also rank diversity and workplace culture low on their list of top organizational priorities. Approximately three-quarters of leaders ranked financial performance and brand recognition and quality at the top of their list of priorities (76% and 72%, respectively), while only 34% ranked diversity and 21% ranked culture at the top.

“Creating a culture of equality must be at the top of the business agenda. It starts with the belief that diversity is not only the right thing to do, but a business imperative that is treated the same as any other strategic priority,” said Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture. “When a strong, equal workplace culture is prioritized, everyone benefits — and as a result, organizations unlock greater innovation and growth.”

Narrow the gap, accelerate progress
Aligning leaders’ perceptions with those of their employees would yield significant upsides. Everyone — both women and men — would advance faster, and global profits would increase by US$3.7 trillion.

If the gap were closed by half:

  • The proportion of women who feel like a key member of their team with real influence over decisions would rise from 1-in-4 to more than 1-in-3.
  • The annual retention rate would increase by 5% for women and by 1% for men.
  • The proportion of women who aim to reach a leadership position in their organization would climb by 21%.

The research is especially timely for leaders, as employee expectations are only set to increase: It found that a larger percentage of Gen Z is more concerned with workplace culture than Boomers (75% vs. 64%, respectively).

“Closing the perception gap starts with leaders understanding there is a gap,” said Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer. “It is an opportunity for leaders to connect with and involve their people — to truly understand how they feel at work. Based on what matters most to their people, leaders can prioritize and take action to close the gap, accelerating true equality for all in their organization.”

The Culture Makers
The report identified a small percentage of leaders — ‘Culture Makers’ — who are more committed to building equal cultures. These leaders recognize the importance of factors such as pay transparency, family leave and the freedom to be creative in helping employees thrive.

Culture Makers are much more likely to have spoken out on a range of workplace issues, including gender equality (52% vs. 35% of all leaders) and sexual harassment/discrimination (51% vs. 30%). They hold themselves accountable, leading organizations that are nearly twice as likely to have publicly announced a target to hire and retain more women.

While just 6% of leaders surveyed are Culture Makers, they represent a more gender-balanced group compared to the broader group of leaders surveyed (45% women vs 32% of all leaders, respectively). Additionally, a full 68% of them are Millennials, compared to 59% of all leaders. They are more likely to lead organizations where people advance, focus on innovation and remain committed — and their organizations’ profits are nearly three times higher than those of their peers.

Achieving a culture of equality
The report lays out steps to help close perception gaps and drive progress toward a more equal culture that benefits everyone and enables leaders to continuously evolve their strategies to meet changing needs.
The research reaffirms that bold leadership, comprehensive action and an empowering environment are proven anchors for creating a culture of equality:

  • Bold Leadership – Leaders must truly believe that culture matters and prioritize it. For example, benchmark progress toward a culture of equality by setting and publishing targets; and reward and recognize leaders and teams on progress. A culture of equality starts at the top.
  • Comprehensive Action – Go beyond the data. Leaders should engage in a meaningful, continuous dialogue with employees. Consider face-to-face meetings, focus groups, town halls. Conducting ongoing, real-time conversations with employees helps to capture feedback and empower leadership to quickly drive change.
  • Empowering Environment – Encourage and cultivate Culture Makers. Create opportunities for future Culture Makers to opt-in and take on specific culture-related roles within their organizations and find ways to bring leaders and culture-minded employees together to develop specific, actionable solutions.

Read the global report at: accenture.com/gettingtoequal

 

Latest News

Inherent Racism Revealed in COVID-19 Vaccine Trials; Texas Sheriff Charged in Death of Javier Ambler While in Police Custody; AOC Attacks Trump Over $70k Spent on His Hair; and More

Major COVID-19 vaccine trials currently underway lack racial inclusion. The research being carried out in search of a vaccine for COVID-19 contains a startling lack of diversity, according to a new story from Fast Company’s Kristin Toussaint. While the stats on COVID-19’s attack on people of color continue to alarm…

Anti-Asian Racism in the United States Continues to Soar as a Result of Attitudes Over COVID-19; the Myth of ‘Defund the Police’; and More

Pandemic continues to cause soaring levels of anti-Asian racism. It was only a matter of time: the White House’s constant referral to COVID-19 as the “China Virus” has indeed caused a tidal wave of continuing racism against people of Asian ancestry, according to a new report published in the American…

Biden Stands by His Commitment to LGBTQ rights; Cost of Racism in the U.S. Tops $16 Trillion; Black and Latinx Continue to Die from COVID-19 at Nearly Twice the Rate of Whites; and More

Biden reaffirms commitment to LGBTQ rights; promises to pass Equality Act. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden doubled down on his promises to the LGBTQ community while speaking at a presidential town hall for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation on Sept. 24. “You deserve a partner in the White House to…

degeneres, work, show

Leadership Lessons to be Gleaned from Ellen DeGeneres’ Toxic Workplace Scandal

Ellen DeGeneres began her daytime talk show’s 18th season with an apology after a summer of allegations against her that claimed her show promoted a toxic work environment rife with racism, sexual misconduct and other mistreatment. In August 2020, three senior producers — executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman…

COVID entrepreneur

Explosive New Growth in Small Businesses Due to COVID-19; America’s Police Force is Not Becoming More Diverse Despite BLM Movement; the Best and Worst Performing States in the 2020 Census; and More

Even with incredible nationwide unemployment rates, the creation of new small and diverse businesses has exploded due to COVID-19. Finally some news coming out of our pandemic: The Philadelphia Tribune reports that as bars and restaurants closed and stay-at-home orders were put into place earlier in 2020 to help fight…

Justice for Breonna not served; The essential rule of politics; Teen serves two months in jail for not doing homework; and More

Justice for Breonna not served as grand jury indicted officer who shot her with wanton endangerment — but not murder. “Outrageous and offensive.” Those were  by attorney to the family, Ben Crump to describe the grand jury’s decision in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. While…