Biden reportedly briefed major bank CEOs before unveiling infrastructure plan, corporate tax hike

Biden
President Joe Biden has framed his infrastructure plan as a means of strengthening democracy and undermining autocracy.

  • President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package includes an increase in the corporate tax rate.
  • He briefed several bank CEOs on the package the morning before the announcement, the WP reports.
  • Business had a mixed response to it, while it has broken clearly with the GOP on several issues.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden wants to increase taxes on corporations with his American Jobs Plan – and he let some leading business executives know before he announced it.

According to The Washington Post, the Biden administration briefed Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America, and David M. Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs – along with “four other chief executives of the country’s biggest banks” – the morning of the infrastructure plan’s announcement.

They weren’t the only ones briefed, according to the Post; “in a 24-hour period,” groups like the Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce, and National Association of Manufacturers also heard from White House officials, with outreach to thousands of small businesses also being planned.

All three of those groups have raised public objections: The Chamber of Commerce has come out against the corporate tax hikes, as have the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers.

According to the Post, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo “has spoken to more than 50 leading executives in recent days about the plan.”

On the whole, the business reaction to that hike has certainly not been uniform, with CEOs surveyed by the Business Roundtable saying that the increase could impact hiring and wage raises, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos saying he supports an unspecified increase to the corporate tax rate, while Lyft cofounder and President John Zimmer supports the 28% rate.

But overall, the reaction from the business community has been somewhat tepid, as many businesses have opted to stay silent. The Post partially attributes this to the weakened relationship between the business community and the GOP, which accelerated after the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol.

Many prominent business leaders – including at least one who had previously supported President Donald Trump – spoke out against those attacks. More recently, some businesses have stepped up to voice their support for voting rights and access following the passage of a restrictive voting bill in Georgia, as some activists called for boycotts of companies that did not take action.

Republicans have come out against the proposed increase, which would bring the corporate tax to 28% from 21%. That’s still lower than the 35% rate in place prior to the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts. As Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported, the GOP has instead been suggesting that average people shoulder the cost of infrastructure improvements in the form of “pay-fors.”

But another reason that the response has been tepid could be a looming compromise: Axios reported that Senate Democrats will push a 25% corporate tax rate, an amount that powerful moderate Sen. Joe Manchin has signaled his support for.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Kellogg marketing professor explains how to use AI and analytics to grow your business

data worker
Many companies can improve how they analyze their industry’s market data.

  • Leaders should develop a working knowledge of data science to help their businesses grow.
  • It’s important to build on the success of teams that are already solving specific problems using AI.
  • Data and analytics can also show business leaders what consumers are likely to want to purchase.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

If you pushed a shopping cart down a grocery aisle in the summer of 2013, you might’ve noticed a curious new snack: Watermelon Oreos. Perhaps you even reached for a package.

The limited-release flavor, alas, was not long for this world. But the data that was collected on who did and didn’t purchase it has led to some lasting insights. Namely, a team of researchers led by Kellogg marketing professor Eric Anderson discovered a segment of customers with highly unusual – and highly unpopular – tastes. If these customers purchase your new product, the researchers found, it is likely to fail.

This insight is as useful as it is unexpected. “The failure rate of new products is incredibly high. It’s hard to know, is a product going to succeed or is it going to fail?” said Anderson. Knowing that some purchases, which normally signal success, actually signal the opposite could be helpful for firms as they develop market-research strategies, or decide when to discontinue a product.

But insights like these require thinking broadly about your entire business, rather than focusing on a narrow silo. They then require collecting and analyzing a lot of data. And today, most companies simply are not up to these tasks.

“One of the big challenges for companies today is that you have processes for nearly everything. You have a process for … financial reporting, for managing a supply chain, for dealing with marketing. But if you go back and ask yourself, ‘Do we have a well-established process for doing AI and analytics in the company?,’ the answer most places is no,” said Anderson.

Instead, many companies develop an ad hoc approach to using artificial intelligence and analytics to solve individual problems – which limits the impact, making it unlikely that these tools will ever transform the company’s culture, or be used to drive its most critical decisions.

During a recent The Insightful Leader Live event, Anderson, who is also director of the new MBAi program, offered advice for leaders who want to develop an analytics and AI process robust enough to make a real difference in their business.

Develop a working knowledge of data science

The first step to success, he said, falls to leaders, who must develop a working knowledge of data science.

“This does not mean that you are a data scientist,” he clarified. While leaders don’t need to build their own algorithms, they do need to sufficiently familiarize themselves with analytics and AI to be able to gauge whether the data is being collected and interpreted correctly, and to understand the business problems that these tools are best equipped to address.

“You would never be caught dead saying I don’t know anything about finance, but I’ve got this really smart CFO that knows everything about finance,” said Anderson. The same should also be true of data science. “You can’t make the right investment decisions until you know a little more about the science.”

Data-savvy leaders also need to know enough to, well, actually lead their data science teams, and elicit the information they need from those teams to make smart decisions.

“Do you have the resources to succeed here? Tell me more about how this is going to lead to an impact in my organization. Tell me how this AI and analytics you’re proposing is deeply connected to my strategic priorities and is going to deliver on those priorities,” said Anderson. “You have to have the confidence to ask those probing questions.”

Support communication between business leaders and data scientists

Along these lines, Anderson explained that it is critical for business leaders and data scientists to learn to talk to one another.

Data scientists are often trained using clean, simplified data, or by working on proof-of-concept projects. But real-world projects are far more complex, involving lots of people, processes, and of course meetings and discussions.

“So data scientists need to become much better at communication with non-technical experts to overcome some of these hurdles,” said Anderson.

For their part, business leaders need to make sure that these discussions with their data scientists occur using a common language and framework so that everyone is clear about goals and expectations.

Don’t mess up what’s working

“In almost every big company we work with, there are pockets” of analytics success, said Anderson. “Don’t mess up what’s working.”

Instead, he suggested building on that success, and allowing that team to stretch itself to solve specific problems in other parts of the organization. Then, expand the team with those specific problems in mind. If you care about, say, predicting how a product will fare based on who purchases it, you’ll want to bring in a computer scientist who is an expert in predictive analytics. If you care about influencing customers’ behavior, on the other hand, you might bring in a social scientist who is trained in running A/B tests.

“If you start with problems, you can identify what your needs are and hire against them,” said Anderson.

Even smaller companies can follow a similar playbook. Thanks to the proliferation of online AI and analytics training, getting existing employees up to speed on these skills is a real possibility.

“If you want to get skilled up, it’s not impossible to do,” he said.

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5 ways to make your marketing and branding more memorable

marketing and advertising
Marketing should be exploratory and dynamic to capture the interest of the new generation of customers.

  • Modern customers respond better to marketing that’s more personalized and interactive.
  • Customers tend to advocate for brands they have great relationships with via positive experiences.
  • This type of marketing helps businesses build loyal and recurring customers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As a business consultant, I often have to remind small-business owners that their marketing needs to be more interactive, versus the traditional “push” model, where you broadcast your message to as many people as possible.

New generations of customers respond better to the “participative” approach, where they get to provide input via social media and the internet.

It started a few years ago with email satisfaction surveys after an online purchase, but now includes interactive internet ads, as well as custom requests for input on the design of future products and influencers on social media. It seems that everyone these days wants an experience and a relationship, and is willing to become your best advocate via word of mouth.

Some call it a move from always “hunting” for new customers in the wild to “gardening,” or nurturing loyalty and value from the ones you already have.

In any case, the new approach is important to all businesses, and embodies some new marketing rules that you need to focus on and learn:

1. Make your marketing exploratory and dynamic

The days of big-bang long-term campaigns that never change are over. You should be constantly trying new approaches via social media and online, and asking for feedback and input from influencers and customers. Scale quickly on good feedback, and move on if you get little engagement.

A step in the right direction is to take advantage of the new tools available at very low cost, including sponsored podcasts, blogs, visibility in online communities, and Twitter influencer support. Sometimes it’s as simple as updating your website format and videos.

2. Use experiments versus designing the ideal ad

Trends and customer interests change quickly, so use small experiments to find something that works today, and use innovation to push the envelope, before your competitors can copy and overrun you. The key is to be able to measure your return, adapt quickly, and learn from your efforts.

According to the Harvard Business Review, e-commerce companies that conducted ad experiments saw 2-3% better performance per experiment run. An advertiser that ran 15 experiments in a given year saw a 30% higher ad performance.

3. Motivate customers to participate and engage

Reward customers for their advocacy and engagement with discounts and coupons, keep the interaction dynamic, and encourage their return. This requires a sense of urgency on the part of your team, and a culture of accountability and focus on the customer. Marketing must be everyone’s top priority.

For example, Dunkin’ Donuts did this through a photo contest, rewarding discounts to those who submitted a photo with the brand’s handle and hashtag. Other companies highlight live experience and happy videos, submitted by customers, on their website and promotions.

4. Partner with others to create blended offerings

A very successful marketing effort created by a restaurant near me during the pandemic offered a carryout from multiple sources – to combine flowers with food and drinks, all from different establishments, packaged creatively together. Everybody wins, and it spread quickly on social media.

People remember and endorse you as the primary brand that created the blended offering, as well as the other “endorsed” brands. The hybrid approach is also effective as an experiment if you are exploring ways to expand your own brand into new segments.

5. Market solutions as an experience or an event

Advertising more features, or even a lower price, is not as memorable to customers today as a great experience or a unique event. These may be live or immersive online experiences. Use social media to build anticipation and highlight successes, to get people talking and coming back for more.

The message here is that big blockbuster campaigns and big marketing budgets are no longer the key to results in the new customer environment, where participation and relationships are key.

Now is the time to ask your customers and partners for participative ideas, do some experiments, and scale up the ones that work. Be prepared to make frequent updates as trends change.

Marketing is no longer a one-way conversation, whether you are a startup or a legacy business. How long has it been since you changed your marketing strategy? Are your costs going up and the returns going down?
Try listening and learning, more than talking and pushing.

Read the original article on Business Insider

4 ways small businesses made changes during the pandemic to help boost their bottom line

small business owner man at bar restaurant
Small business owners are “persistent, innovative, and creative” when it comes to keeping their businesses afloat during the pandemic.

  • Many small businesses were forced to make adjustments during the pandemic.
  • These changes, such as increasing online presence and working remotely, have yielded strong benefits.
  • Owners were challenged to think outside the box and adapt quickly to keep their businesses afloat.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Now that a year has passed since COVID-19 first made itself known across the US, many small business owners are taking a step back to process how the virus has impacted their business models. It’s no secret that it was a challenge to transform everyday practices into ones that met government mandates and kept people safe – but now, looking back, some entrepreneurs are recognizing that the changes they’ve implemented have helped their bottom line. Here’s how.

Small businesses have upped their digital presence

One of the toughest barriers small businesses have faced over the past year has involved brick-and-mortar operations: Specifically, businesses have had to close to the public, reduce occupancy or implement changes like frequent sanitization in order to comply with state and municipal guidelines. In response to these challenges, many businesses rapidly shifted operations to the virtual realm. Companies that were previously on the fence about refreshing their landing pages or starting social media accounts finally bit the bullet; storefronts began debating their ecommerce options; and service-based businesses found “contactless” ways to help their customers. And consumers shifted, too; now that just about anything can be done online, consumers are far more comfortable doing everything from telehealth visits to finding their next home on the web. Digital presence has always been a must-have even prior to the pandemic, but today, it’s a bigger opportunity than ever.

More teams than ever are working from home

Boutique firms, small creative agencies, rapidly-growing technology companies – you name it. If they don’t have to meet customers in person, they’ve likely found a way to let their teams work from home. Not only does this provide a slew of informal benefits for employees (like improved work-life balance, enhanced disability accommodations, and time and money saved on commuting), but it also provides major cost-cutting opportunities for the business itself. Businesses that know they’ll be working remotely for an extended period of time can avoid signing leases for pricey office space, and trendy startups can pause their snack subscriptions (for now). It’s a win-win.

A lull is a clean slate in disguise

Some entrepreneurs who have found themselves in a slow period during the pandemic have used deceleration as an opportunity to reassess and refresh. Though it’s always disappointing to see business decline, it can also be a blessing; companies that were previously in nonstop scale mode might benefit from a period of reflection on what really works and what doesn’t. While not a small business, GoDaddy notoriously took 2020 as an opportunity to reinvigorate its logo and renew its commitment to corporate responsibility. Other businesses are turning a break in brick-and-mortar operations into a chance to revamp their spaces and provide exciting updates to customers once circumstances dictate it’s safe to do so.

Many small business owners are stepping outside of their comfort zones

They say diamonds are formed under pressure, and the old adage rings true for business owners who are serious about helping their ventures thrive under unusual conditions. As contactless sales and services rose in popularity throughout 2020, many businesses found themselves capable of expanding into new markets and offering more customizable shipping options. Heightened social awareness has provided a catalyst for businesses to promote racial justice and gender equity, offset carbon emissions caused by shipping and delivery services and develop transparency in their daily practices. And because people tend to shop with both their needs and values in mind, this added level of consciousness has the ability to bring in waves of new customers and clients.

The obstacles presented by COVID-19 haven’t been easy to overcome – nor are they gone from our economy and from the world at large. But if time has proven anything, it’s that small business owners are persistent, innovative, and creative. Pandemic or no pandemic, that hasn’t changed.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How wealthy Americans and corporations have used ‘negative freedom’ to strip rights away from workers

Fastfood workers
Overly promoting freedom of corporations can cause decreases to workers’ rights.

  • Paul Constant is a writer at Civic Ventures and cohost of the “Pitchfork Economics” podcast with Nick Hanauer and David Goldstein.
  • In the latest episode, they interviewed Mike Konczal, director of progressive thought at the Roosevelt Institute.
  • Konczal says allowing employers freedom to infringe on workers’ rights creates a dangerous economic imbalance.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The best brief definition of the limits of American freedom is a very old line that’s often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln: “My freedom to swing my fists ends where your nose begins.”

In other words, you can do what you want in America as long as you’re not hurting anyone. So far as rules of thumb go, it’s an elegant one.

And it also serves as a simple illustration of a difficult truth that isn’t often acknowledged in American politics: Freedom is never a zero-sum game.

Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency, for example, we’ve established a minimum wage that (most) employers have had to pay. For workers, the minimum wage is an essential freedom to be protected, because it ensures that if they work a full week, they can afford the basic necessities. But for certain vulture capitalists, the minimum wage is a freedom-killing constraint to be derided and overturned. From their perspective, the minimum wage is impeding on their freedom to fatten profit margins by paying starvation wages.

Freedom in the workplace

Freedom isn’t handed down in pure form by some omniscient higher power. It’s determined by legislators, enforced by courts, and influenced by popular opinion. Like most human institutions, the decision of who enjoys more freedom is often rigged toward the most powerful. The last 40 years of outsized corporate influence has marched to the drumbeat of anti-worker laws that restrict the rights of workers to unionize and to keep their home life private. In general, the more freedoms your employers enjoy, the fewer freedoms you enjoy in your workplace.

This week’s episode of “Pitchfork Economics” features an interview with Mike Konczal, the director of progressive thought at the Roosevelt Institute. Konczal’s new book, “Freedom from the Market: America’s Fight to Liberate Itself from the Grip of the Invisible Hand,” is about the junction between economics and freedom, and how to reclaim some of the freedoms that American workers briefly captured in the middle of the 20th century.

Konczal says the concept of trickle-down economics that ruled over American politics since the 1980s has been informed by the concept of prioritizing negative freedoms over positive freedoms. “Negative freedom is the idea of freedom from the government, and the idea that the government can’t stop you from doing the things you want,” he explained, whereas “positive freedom is associated with a freedom to – a freedom to be able to get health care, or get a good education.”

‘Pro-freedom’ and anti-government

For too long, leaders on the left and right have bought into the libertarian concept that a government’s primary role in protecting freedoms should be to limit government’s power wherever possible. This anti-government stance is the reason why, for instance, the “pro-freedom” argument over the 2nd Amendment has long been to argue for the freedom of those who own the guns, when gun safety advocates could just as logically argue that the freedom of the individual to go to school or participate in public events without fear of being killed in a mass shooting should take precedence.

The popular discourse has for decades been so absorbed with negative freedoms that benefit corporations, Konczal says, that we’ve forgotten to prioritize our individual positive freedoms.

“Is the government making us more or less free with the way the economy is structured?” he said. “I think it’s increasingly less free in the past decades.”

Worker versus employer freedoms

Konczal says the recent debate over secure scheduling laws, which require employers to post employee schedules in advance and pay workers extra for shifts added or canceled at the last minute, are a good example of a positive freedom. Some workers, he said, “don’t start their weeks knowing the hours they’re going to work over the next week.”

If employers aren’t required to tell workers when they will and won’t be working, Konczal asked, “how do you build a robust social life with that kind of stress?” Without the freedom to plan even one day ahead, “it’s tough to start and maintain a family, or to volunteer, or join a bowling league – all the things that we think of as having a rich social life,” he explained.

Once you understand that worker freedoms have been trampled over the last 40 years, you start to see examples everywhere. Consider the Jimmy John workers who were forced to sign agreements that said they couldn’t go to work for another fast food restaurant if they quit, or the janitors who unwittingly signed noncompete clauses. Think of how many people feel trapped in their jobs because they can’t afford to give up the health insurance their employers provide. Can anyone really make the argument that these workers are anywhere near as free as their counterparts in nations with single-payer health care and stronger worker protections?

The economic power imbalance

In order to reestablish freedoms that benefit the individual, Konczal argued that “we need to decommodify spheres of our lives.” A public health care system and free public college would establish a baseline in which everyone has the freedom to pursue the life that they want, and worker protections would allow people to live balanced lives.

And lastly, “we need to do something about the real disparities of wealth and income in this country through very aggressive progressive taxation,” Konczal said.

Freedom can’t exist in a country with the kind of economic power imbalance that exists in America today. Your freedom to swing big bags of money around ends when your fortune risks crushing the livelihoods of millions of working Americans.

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Richard Branson is leading a campaign to end the death penalty, along with other key business figures. The Virgin Group founder said there is an urgent need to abolish the practice.

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Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, is spearheading the campaign.

  • Sir Richard Branson spoke to Insider about his ongoing campaign to eradicate capital punishment.
  • The Virgin Group founder called the practice “barbaric” and “inhumane.”
  • He has teamed up with several other business leaders to help spread the message.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson has joined forces with other business leaders to launch a campaign to abolish capital punishment in the US and other countries.

The 70-year-old billionaire announced the Business Leaders Against the Death Penalty Declaration in a virtual SXSW event in Austin, Texas, last month.

The declaration was coordinated by the UK-based organization, Responsible Business Initiative for Justice, and has gained 21 signatories. They include Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben & Jerry Ice cream, Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post, Helene Gayle, a director at the Coca-Cola Company, and telecom tycoon, Dr. Mo Ibrahim.

The push to end the death penalty comes amid a global focus on racial and economic justice, exemplified by the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

In an interview with Insider, Branson described the death penalty as “barbaric” and “inhumane.” He explained his involvement in several cases throughout the years where innocent people were sent to death row, in the US and elsewhere. This led him to realize capital punishment is arbitrary and flawed, he said.

Branson gave an example of a case he took up, which involved Anthony Ray Hinton, a man who spent 28 years on Alabama’s death row before being exonerated in 2015. “He was framed for a double murder he didn’t commit, only because the police and prosecutors needed a Black man to convict,” Branson said.

For every eight people executed in the US, one person is freed from death row – often after decades, as was the case with Hinton, Branson added.

This case, among others, highlighted another problem for Branson – that the death penalty is also a symbol of oppression, as well as racial and social inequality.

“Look at people on death row. In most US cases, it’s people of colour and the poor that are sent to death row,” he said. “Some in the US have called it a ‘direct descendant of lynching’, and I’d say there is much evidence of that. In some countries, it’s become a tool of political control and oppression,” Branson said.

Branson believes it is even more crucial to end capital punishment, given it is a wasteful and ineffective misallocation of public funds. Now more than ever, governments must be responsible with public finances given the hard hit on countries’ economies due to the pandemic, he said. “Public funding could be spent on schools, healthcare, infrastructure instead,” he added.

The involvement of so many notable business leaders in the campaign demonstrates an increasing willingness to speak up on issues of inequality, the danger of executing innocent people, and the need for fiscal responsibility.

“We have to ask ourselves: does the death penalty serve a real purpose for us as caring human beings?” Gayle said in a statement. She noted how it felt even more urgent to focus attention on preventable deaths in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its terrible loss of life.

Cohen and Greenfield wanted to ensure they played their part, too. They told Insider: “We have some of the world’s loudest voices – and we have a responsibility to use them to fight injustice wherever we see it.”

Businesses need to do more than just say Black Lives Matter, they added: “We need to walk our talk and help tear down symbols of structural racism.”

Jason Flom, chief executive of multimedia company Lava Media, is also involved with the campaign. When asked about the main objectives he hoped to achieve, he told Insider: “Goals include changing hearts and minds in the general public, as well as educating the next generation of prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, and prospective jurors.”

There are 56 countries that still retain death-penalty laws as of 2019, according to Amnesty International. Since 2013, 33 countries have carried out at least one execution, the BBC reported. More than 170 UN member states, out of 194, have abolished capital punishment in law or declared a moratorium.

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More than 70 top Black business leaders are reportedly urging US companies to fight against Republican voting laws

Kenneth Chenault speaks onstage in 2018 and Merck CEO, Kenneth Frazier, speaks at a briefing on the production of the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021
Kenneth Chenault speaks onstage in 2018 and Merck CEO, Kenneth Frazier, speaks at a briefing on the production of the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021

  • 72 Black executives are urging US companies to speak out about new voting laws, the NYT reports.
  • They claim the new bill, being advanced by Republicans, could restrict the rights of Black voters.
  • Former American Express CEO, Kenneth Chenault and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier are in charge of the letter.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Top Black business leaders in the US are calling on companies to fight against restrictive voting rights laws being put in place in at least 43 states, according to a report from The New York Times on Wednesday.

So far, 72 Black executives have signed a letter to American firms, urging them to publicly oppose new laws by Republicans that they said would restrict the rights of Black voters. It comes after Georgia signed a bill on March 25 that the business leaders allege is discriminatory against Black voters.

Former American Express CEO, Kenneth Chenault, who is now a director at Berkshire Hathaway, and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier are spearheading the letter about the new voting bill, known as SB 202, or the Election Integrity Act of 2021.

Robert F. Smith, CEO of Vista Equity Partners, Mellody Hobson and John Rogers Jr., the co-chief executives of Ariel Investments, Raymond McGuire, a former Citigroup executive, and Roger Ferguson Jr., the chief executive of TIAA, are among the 72 signatories, the Times reported.

“As Black business leaders, we cannot sit silently in the face of this gathering threat to our nation’s democratic values and allow the fundamental right of Americans, to cast their votes for whomever they choose, to be trampled upon yet again,” the letter said, per a CNN report.

“We call upon our colleagues in Corporate America to join us in taking a non-partisan stand for equality and democracy. Each of us stands ready to work with you on what can and must be done,” it said.

Read more: I asked MyPillow whether it sells customer data to political committees. Mike Lindell called back – and things got interesting.

The letter doesn’t specifically mention companies’ names. But critics of the bill have called on major firms in Georgia, such as Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, to speak out after Gov. Brian Kemp signed it. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said Wednesday in a public memo that “the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.”

Democratic officials and civil rights groups have criticized the new law, saying it suppresses voters, particularly those who are Black. President Joe Biden called it a “blatant attack on the Constitution” and likened it to “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Chenault said: “What we’re calling on corporations to do is not just say they believe strongly in the right to vote. It’s to publicly and directly oppose any discriminatory legislation and all measures designed to limit any individuals ability to vote.”

The election bill also says volunteers shouldn’t hand out water and snacks to voters waiting in line and there should be no “ballot selfies” taken. Another controversial measure is adopting stricter voter ID laws for absentee ballots.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is the most recent executive to condemn Georgia’s new election law. On Thursday, Cook said: “It ought to be easier than ever for every eligible citizen to exercise their right to vote.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tim Cook condemned Georgia’s new election law, the latest CEO speaking out on voter-suppression concerns

Tim Cook Apple Park speech
Tim Cook gave a speech from the Apple Park in California.

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook came out against Georgia’s restrictive new voting law on Thursday.
  • “It ought to be easier than ever for every eligible citizen to exercise their right to vote,” he said.
  • He is the latest CEO to speak out on voter-suppression concerns.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has slammed Georgia’s controversial new election law, joining the ranks of other CEOs who have done the same.

The Republican-backed law, known as SB 202, will reform many aspects of elections and voting in Georgia and critics say that it suppresses the right to vote.

“The right to vote is fundamental in a democracy. American history is the story of expanding the right to vote to all citizens, and Black people, in particular, have had to march, struggle and even give their lives for more than a century to defend that right,” Cook told Axios in a statement published Thursday.

“Apple believes that, thanks in part to the power of technology, it ought to be easier than ever for every eligible citizen to exercise their right to vote,” he added.

“We support efforts to ensure that our democracy’s future is more hopeful and inclusive than its past.”

Other business leaders who have spoken out against the law include Delta CEO Ed Bastian, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey, and JP Morgan chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Delta and Coca-Cola are both headquartered in Georgia.

Read more: GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger on recognizing the QAnon threat and not fearing a GOP primary challenger for voting to impeach Trump

More than 70 Black executives have signed a letter, calling on companies across the US to publicly denounce the new laws as suppressing voters, particularly the state’s Black voters, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Civil-rights group and democratic officials have slammed the law, saying it suppresses voters, particularly those who are Black, and have also called on firms in the state to also speak out about it.

President Joe Biden described the new law as “a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience,” and likened it to “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Closing the global gender gap will take an extra 36 years due to the impact of the pandemic, the World Economic Forum said

Hundreds of women gather in Russell Square for the Women's Strike Assembly on International Women's Day on 8th March 2018 in London, England, United Kingdom.
Hundreds of women gather in Russell Square for the Women’s Strike Assembly on International Women’s Day on 8th March 2018 in London, England, United Kingdom.

  • Closing the gender pay gap will take an extra 36 years, the World Economic Forum said Tuesday.
  • The prediction has climbed from 100 years to 136 years because of the impact of the pandemic.
  • 5% of all employed women lost their jobs during the pandemic, compared with 3.9% of employed men.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Achieving global gender parity will take an extra 36 years because of the coronavirus pandemic, a World Economic Forum (WEF) report said.

Previously, the WEF estimated that the gender pay gap could take around 100 years to close. It’s now increased its prediction to nearly 136 years.

“Preliminary evidence suggests that the health emergency and the related economic downturn have impacted women more severely than men, partially re-opening gaps that had already been closed,” the report said.

The WEF calculated worldwide gender parity through economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, health and education across 156 countries.

It will take around 146 years to attain gender equality in politics, and 268 years for men and women to get the same salary for similar work, the report said. It added that the data doesn’t yet fully reflect the impact of the pandemic, which could extend the gaps further.

Gender parity has improved in the education sector, taking another 14 years to completely close, and the gap in health between men and women will take a similar amount of time.

The WEF report cited the International Labour Organization (ILO) that said 5% of all employed women lost their jobs during the pandemic, compared with 3.9% of employed men. There was also a decline in hiring women into senior positions, according to LinkedIn data.

“There is a persistent lack of women in leadership positions, with women representing only 27% of all manager positions,” the report said.

Sectors such as cloud computing, engineering, data and AI are more likely to have gender gaps as the uptake of women for these kinds of jobs is fairly low, the WEF added.

Read more: Here’s how to find out if you’re underpaid at work, and the exact script to use when asking your boss for a salary increase

WEF managing director Saadia Zahidi wrote in the report: “The hardest-hit sectors by lockdowns and rapid digitalization are those where women are more frequently employed.”

“Combined with the additional pressures of providing care in the home, the crisis has halted progress toward gender parity in several economies and industries,” she said.

Zahidi added that she hoped the report would be a “call to action” for countries to focus on gender equality in the post-pandemic recovery.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average weekly earnings for men who were older than 16 and working full-time was $408 compared to $251 for women – that’s 61.5% of a man’s weekly earnings. This has increased to 81.7% in the third quarter of 2020.

Insider reported in March that the gender wage gap in the US varies widely by state, city and race, with Black and Hispanic women facing the largest pay gap in comparison to non-Hispanic white men’s earnings.

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Use these 3 lessons from the pandemic to build a stronger crisis plan for your business

frustrated man working on laptop computer at home
During a crisis it is important to communicate with your employees first.

  • Business crisis plans are important for unforeseen circumstances such as this pandemic.
  • Being forced to change routines exposed a lack of preparedness in many institutions that needed to pivot.
  • Keeping abreast of new technology and communication techniques can help strengthen future crisis plans.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

When I help a client communicate during a crisis or unforeseen issue, the client will often say something like, “We aren’t sure what to do, because this isn’t in our crisis plan.”

Then came 2020, and virtually all business owners could say that a pandemic wasn’t in the plan. Now we’ve been working, living, and (in some cases) schooling for a year as the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. While we may never again witness another unprecedented – aren’t we all tired of that word? – global event like this one, this experience can help us prepare for other unforeseen events and issues.

When you write or rewrite your crisis plan for your business, consider adding these three lessons and implementing them before something you hadn’t planned for strikes again.

1. Staying up to date on technology pays off

For a year or so before the pandemic, I had it on my to-do list to get to know and make better use of videoconference apps like Zoom and Skype. But I never got around to it. In March 2020, we all – and I do mean all – got a crash course in Zoom. While there has been some Zoom fatigue, being able to videoconference has been a game-changer for companies, and it’s so much more efficient than traveling to in-person meetings.

While I can’t wait to see colleagues and clients in person again, I plan to keep using Zoom, too. And I plan to research what technologies and apps I need to get to know next. Why wait until a crisis to find an app or software that can help my business right now?

2. Pivoting opens up new possibilities

I didn’t pivot in my business. But many business owners did with virtual offerings, new product lines and entirely new businesses. For example, “ghost kitchens” made it easier for some entrepreneurs to enter the food service industry. Without the pandemic and our so-called new normal, that idea might never have been dreamed up.

I didn’t have to pivot. I was already working from home, and thankfully demand for communications and PR services stayed consistent. However, I often think about what a pivot would look like for me and my business. The pandemic has made it clear that we can’t always count on things to always stay the same. I’m going to keep challenging myself to think about what pivoting could look like for me: “If x happened, I would…”

3. Communicating effectively is everything

I can’t tell you how many times in the last year I’ve heard someone say that it all comes down to communication. And usually it isn’t because a company or organization is doing a great job at it. Communication really is everything. When it comes to communicating during a crisis, it’s important to start from within.

You can’t communicate effectively with your customers and the rest of the outside world if you aren’t first to communicate with your employees. They are your ambassadors, your frontline. How you communicate with your own team members – in good times as well as challenging times – can make your people feel incredibly connected and valued or just the opposite.

How do you want current and past employees talking about you in the world? The news you have to share might not always be what people want to hear, and people get that. But it’s important to deliver your message in a timely and transparent way.

When clients come to me for crisis communication advice, I always ask first about their employees. How are you communicating with them? I’m of the opinion that if you are drafting a media statement, employees should probably know about it before they hear or read about it in the news.

And from now on when clients come to me for crisis and issues management, I’m going to remind them that we’ve got this. Remember 2020?

Read the original article on Business Insider