New Accenture research finds leaders and employees hold differing views on progress toward equality; cutting the gap by half would boost global profits by US$3.7 trillion, along with workforce ambition and empowerment
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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 79% of women and 65% of men), and a majority of leaders (63%) believe an inclusive workplace culture is vital to the success of their business.
At the same time, there is a perception gap: nearly three quarters of leaders (70%) feel they create empowering environments where people have a sense of belonging, yet only two-fifths (40%) of employees agree.
Additionally, the proportion of employees who do not feel included in their organizations is 9x higher than leaders believe (18% vs 2%, respectively).
Most leaders also rank diversity and workplace culture low on their list of top organizational priorities. The majority of leaders ranked financial performance followed by brand recognition and quality at the top of their list of priorities (83% and 70%, respectively), while only 35% ranked diversity and 18% ranked culture at the top.
The global 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.
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.
The global report is available here.