Why due diligence for mergers should include pay gap analysis

Many of our clients have been identifying and correcting any gender based pay gaps. The Women in Finance Charter, with its 70+ signatories, put pay gaps on the minds of many leaders as they clean shop before having to publish their numbers. However, InclusIQ was interested to hear how proactive organisations are taking pay gaps into account before they acquire or merge with any new partners. In an interview with reporter Jena McGregor of the Washington Post, the cloud computing company Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff explained how in 2015 they had paid over $3M in fixing gender pay gaps to 11% of their employees. These employees were mainly amongst the 14 companies they had acquired during a period of year long expansion.

Acquisition is great for growth, but as Benioff explained when you buy a new company

You buy their pay practices, and gender discrimination is quite dramatic through our industry and other industries. When we do future acquisitions, I will ask the question: ‘have we looked at the pay gap for this company?

No doubt a salient move as fixing the issue is costly. In fact, Salesforce is going to go a step further by also incorporating racial pay gaps and bonuses for the first time. We like Benioff’s pragmatism. He said

There is risk involved – you’re admitting you’ve made a mistake. Some CEO”s just don’t want to say ‘I’m not perfect.’ I can tell you I’m not perfect and we’re going to make mistakes. But I will try to be transparent about those and then we’ll correct them as we go.

‘Learn and pivot’ is a motto we hear a lot in the tech industry. However, it seems Benioff could teach the other tech moguls who are struggling with these same issues a thing about using the industry’s own motto to improve on inequality.

Why millennials need online games to help build empathy?

Many of our clients are looking at generational difference when thinking about diversity and inclusion. As required, retirement ages have been eradicated and the drive to work with more apprentices has increased. Your workforce potentially has the widest range of ages compared to any other time in history. This means understanding colleagues who may span five decades is all the more important. However, at InclusIQ we are particularly interested in generational difference with the growing body of research showing young millennials are some of the least empathetic ever.

Sara Konrath’s research made headlines a few years ago when she found that 14,000 American college students had 40% less ’empathic concern’ and ‘perspective taking ability’ than previous generations, going back 30 years. Given the biggest drop occurred after the year 2000, researchers think the ubiquity of technology is to blame. More specifically, the rise of internet gaming, social media, online pornography and the ‘selfie’ culture was credited with fuelling this rise of ‘Generation Me’.

According to this research, today’s young people are ‘the most self-centred, competitive, confident and individualistic generation in recent history.’ This is worrying stuff, for parents but also employers. If you lack empathy, you can’t effectively participate – let alone predict how colleagues and clients will react to your decisions. We risk creating a band of unhelpful, solitary outsiders for whom teamwork is not a natural state. Konrath’s work in the UK, finding much the same results, has inspired School Heads, such as Andrew Halls of Kings College School  near Wimbledon, to offer ‘empathy lessons’. He told the Sunday Times ‘Our pupils are still kind, they’re not more badly behaved than the previous generations, but they do need more reminding of a baseline of decency and humanity. ’

While millennials may be potentially less empathetic, the desire to understand has not gone away. Indeed, we see this in our Culture Club Workshops, which blend technology and classroom learning. We notice one of the most popular features of our online games in the workshops is our empathy walkthrough – where you can see what the other characters are thinking in response to your choice. We then discuss these issues in the post-play session to grow management skills – ‘What do you think was going through that colleagues’ mind? What were their concerns? How could you have addressed them better?’ Given the state of geopolitics, the uncertainty in markets and the lack of communication between different groups, we at InclusIQ think we could all use a bit more empathy, no matter what your age.

Female academics serve uni committees at a cost to their careers

As someone who left Academia over a decade ago, but who still works with the Higher Education sector, I was interested to see the latest research on how the activities male and female academics undertake differ, and what impact that may have on their careers. According to American Research in Higher Education it seems female academics do more ‘service work’ with students and internal committees than their male colleagues. It could be argued that interaction with students and the smooth running of a University department should be the fundamental part of how an Academic is appraised. However, this highlights what many of my clients have long suspected; that women tend to spend more time on these responsibilities which support others – potentially at a cost to their research time – a key measurable on how Academics are actually judged. Makes us wonder – what do you do on the job to support others that gets very little recognition?