Doing Business “As Usual” Isn’t Working

Doing Business “As Usual” Isn’t Working

Doing business as usual

The recent Google protest and walkout is a great example of employees demanding better leadership from their executives. On Thursday, November 1, 2018, Google employees around the world walked out of their offices to demand change.

Google organizers and protestors are requesting the following from their executives:

  1. An end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination.
  2. A commitment to end pay opportunity inequity.
  3. A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.
  4. A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.
  5. Elevate the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors. In addition, appoint an employee representative to the board.

“While Google has championed the language of diversity and inclusion, substantive actions to address systemic racism, increase equity, and stop sexual harassment have been few and far between,” said a Google organizer. “We are part of a growing movement, and we are not going to stand for this anymore.”

Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Safety Impact Companies Across the U.S.

Google has a big spotlight on their leadership at the moment, but these issues (diversity, inclusion, equity, and safety) impact so many companies across the U.S.

According to research conducted by McKinsey & Company:

  • Only about 1-5 C-suite leaders is a woman, and only 1 in 25 is a woman of color.
  • White women make 20% less than white men. Black women make 38% less than white men. Latinas are paid 47% less than white men.
  • Women are far less likely to be promoted to manager.
  • Only 32% of women think that disrespectful behavior towards women is often addressed by their companies.

I’m encouraged that Google employees are demanding change that will likely have a ripple effect on other companies. I’m also encouraged to see that Google employees representing different ages, sexes and color participated in the walkout.

Proposed Steps to Create Positive Change at Work

We know it’s possible for executives to create positive change. Leaders adjust to address customers’ needs all of the time. Now it’s time for executives to address employees’ needs.

I challenge executives to do the following with help and guidance from diverse employee representatives:

  • Embrace the humanity of all people in your respective organizations.
  • Create a roadmap for change that upholds your organization’s collective values and goals.
  • Share the roadmap with employees, and be transparent every step of the way.
  • Trust that the changes are not only good for your people, but also good for your business.
  • Admit failures and roadblocks when they occur. Demonstrate ability to improve.
  • Follow-through with predetermined actions when policies are crossed.

We all deserve to work in fair, equitable and safe environments where people are valued each and every day.

Let’s keep rising!

photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP