An Easy Solution To Prevent Diversity Greenwashing
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Welcome to my weekly Q&A roundup. (Scroll down to find the Q&A.)
If this is your first time here, welcome. I spend a fair amount of time speaking at events and conferences. At the end of my presentations, I leave space for audience members to ask questions—tough questions, brave questions, you name it.
The level of candor and curiosity always inspires me, and I want to share that sentiment with you. So each week, I pick one question that I believe others would find most instructive and publish my response to it here.
The purpose of this weekly tradition is transparency and inclusivity.
• Transparency: a behind-the-scenes look at my day-to-day.
• Inclusivity: bringing others along in the journey.
Avoid Diversity Greenwashing With Data
How can my company demonstrate to the public that we take a genuine interest in diversity and inclusion? I don’t want our outward-facing content (press releases, social media, corporate blog) to come across as DEI greenwashing.
Let me start by asking you these two questions:
What’s the ideal CEO to unskilled worker pay ratio? (Hint: the average US consumer and citizen says 7:1.)
What’s the current CEO to unskilled worker pay ratio? (Hint: the average US consumer and citizen estimates 30:1.)
The answer to the first question is subjective: you decide based on your definition of fair. However, the answer to the second question is a hard, quantifiable ratio: 354:1.
What’s worth highlighting about this ratio is not the intensity of it (that’s a topic for another day), but rather the recent uptick in how much consumers are holding businesses accountable to it—specifically the “worker pay” side of the ratio.
New research by Harvard Business School shows, in light of COVID-19, consumers are punishing companies that cut employee pay and favoring companies that ensure the financial security of their employees via full pay/compensation.
There are three underlying lessons:
Consumers (employees too) are increasingly more attuned to pay equity.
Pay transparency is becoming the norm.
Data and its democratization enable the above two conditions to occur.
You should heed these three lessons to bullet-proof your company’s DEI efforts from accusations of greenwashing. That is:
Stakeholders (consumers, investors, employees, job seekers) want to see pay data. They want to see diversity data. They want to know their purchase decisions, their investment strategies, and their current or future workplaces support a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world.
Diversity Data Is Crucial
Provide stakeholders with transparency around your diversity strategies.
What processes does your organization have in place to promote DEI?
What tools are you using?
What do your intersectional gender pay gaps look like and what are you doing to close them?
The diversity data you collect, organize, analyze, and publish will hold you accountable to your goals.
The data will bullet-proof your company’s diversity strategy. Use it to demonstrate to your stakeholders that diversity is not a marketing campaign. It’s a business priority that you’re actively measuring and making progress toward.
These Q&A roundups can be delivered directly to you—a week before I publish them here.
(All you need is an email address.)