Amazon was ranked by LinkedIn as the best place to grow your career. But the list omitted major factors like pay and race.

LinkedIn office
LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, ranked Amazon as the best company for US workers to grow their careers in 2021.

  • Linkedin published its list of the top US companies for career growth, ranking Amazon first.
  • LinkedIn’s revamped criteria this year included factors like promotion rates and gender diversity.
  • But the list didn’t consider other key factors like pay and racial diversity.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In his final letter to shareholders as Amazon’s CEO earlier this month, Jeff Bezos downplayed concerns about the company’s working conditions, defending it as “Earth’s best employer and Earth’s safest place to work.”

The letter came on the heels of Amazon’s aggressive anti-union campaign, multiple illegal firings of whistleblowers, a tripling in the number of labor complaints against the company last year, and climbing injury rates that are nearly double the industry standard.

When Amazon announced its quarterly earnings call this week, it leaned on another source to prove that it’s a great place to work: LinkedIn. On Wednesday, the Microsoft-owned job platform published a list ranking “the 50 best workplaces to grow your career in the U.S.” in 2021.

According to LinkedIn’s criteria, Amazon earned the top spot, which the company touted in its earnings release along with high marks on lists by Fortune and Boston Consulting Group.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

LinkedIn did a massive overhaul of its criteria for this year’s list – which it explained in depth in an accompanying blog post – eventually landing on what it said were seven “pillars” that researchers have shown lead to career progression: “ability to advance; skills growth; company stability; external opportunity; company affinity; gender diversity and educational background.”

While any list claiming to rank the “top” anything is ultimately based on subjectively chosen criteria, several seemingly important factors didn’t make the cut, including salary data or any demographic data beyond gender.

LinkedIn confirmed salaries were not factored into the rankings but wouldn’t comment further about salaries on the record.

“In terms of the diversity pillars, we measure gender diversity, specifically, which looks at gender parity within a company, as well as educational background, analyzing the spread of educational attainment among employees. We are working on additional diversity criteria and hope to continue expanding this pillar in future years,” LinkedIn spokesperson Maggie Boezi told Insider in an email.

Amazon paid its median employee $29,007 last year, and the company said this week that it would raise pay by up to $3 per hour for 500,000 employees. But despite lucrative salaries and benefits for corporate employees, research has shown for years that Amazon setting up new warehouses often drives down wages in the area.

Those salary disparities take on added significance when factoring in the racial disparities between Amazon’s warehouse and corporate employees. In 2020, 32.1% of all Amazon employees were white, while 13.6% were Asian, 26.5% were Black, 22.8% were Latinx, 3.6% were multiracial, and 1.5% were Native American.

But the path upward is narrow for employees of color at Amazon.

Among corporate employees, 47% are white, while 34.8% were Asian, 7.2% were Black, 7.5% were Latinx, 3% were multiracial, and 0.5% were Native American. Among senior leadership, 70.7% were white, 20% were Asian, 3.8% were Black, 3.9% were Latinx, 1.4% were multiracial, and 0.2% were Native American.

LinkedIn’s decision to rank Amazon as the best place to grow your career without accounting for racial diversity data may be especially surprising to some members of Amazon’s diversity and inclusion teams, who told Recode that internal Amazon data showed that Black employees are promoted at a lower rate and given worse performance reviews than white coworkers.

Insider’s Allana Akhtar also reported that Amazon lags far behind competitors like Walmart – ranked ninth on LinkedIn’s list – when it comes to Black and Latino representation in upper management.

As for Amazon’s warehouse workers, Bloomberg reported in December that Amazon is “transforming the logistics industry from a career destination with the promise of middle-class wages into entry-level work that’s just a notch above being a burger flipper or convenience store cashier,” citing government data that showed more than 4,000 Amazon employees are on food stamps in just nine states.

Turnover rates at Amazon warehouses are estimated to be as high as 100%, according to the National Employment Law Project.

One possible explanation for why LinkedIn’s list still ranked Amazon first despite the above data may be that its list appeared to focus on white-collar workers.

In her blog post explaining the methodology, LinkedIn senior managing editor Laura Lorenzetti, said that the list “since its inception showed professionals where people like them were most eager to work.”

Boezi, the LinkedIn spokesperson, told Insider that the list included all full-time and part-time employees regardless of job title – except freelancers and interns – and that LinkedIn “regressed our findings against outside sources such as the World Bank and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and evaluated various scoring mechanisms for every pillar we selected.”

While LinkedIn’s list may not single-handedly change jobseekers’ minds, Amazon’s case reveals how the underlying data that goes into such rankings is far from unbiased.

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TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson, who oversees 17,000 employees, shares the one leadership trait that’s the most important in today’s corporate world: empathy

Roger Ferguson
Roger Ferguson, CEO of TIAA, said interpersonal skills were crucial to his success.

  • TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson is set to retire at the end of April after 13 years as a corporate chief.
  • Insider spoke with Ferguson about what he’s learned about leadership.
  • He explained why empathy is the most important skill for leaders to develop and show today.
  • This article is part of a series called “Secrets of Success,” which examines specific leadership tips from prominent business leaders.

Roger Ferguson knows a thing or two about leadership.

As the vice chair of the Federal Reserve from 1997 to 2006, he steered the country’s economy through the massive financial aftershock of September 11. After serving as an executive and then chair of reinsurance company Swiss Re for two years, he took the helm as CEO of TIAA in April 2008 – leading a financial-services company that manages over $1 trillion in retirement funds.

And in the past year, he’s overseen 17,000 employees through a shift to remote work during a pandemic and the racial reckoning following George Floyd’s death.

“I’m really proud of the fact that during those periods, we kept our values,” Ferguson told Insider. “We have come through these series of crises as a financially strong and stable company with ample capital.”

Ferguson is set to retire at the end of April, handing the company over to Thasunda Brown Duckett, former CEO of consumer banking at JP Morgan. As his tenure as the company’s chief winds down, he’s had more time to reflect on his career. He told Insider that there are four specific traits that define a good leader: expertise, vision, perseverance, and empathy.

Empathy, he said, has been the most helpful in his career as a leader – especially during difficult or uncertain times. Having this trait, regardless of your industry, will make you a better manager or executive, he said.

Empathy, as Ferguson defines it, is the ability to create an environment in which team members can bring all of themselves to work.

“Individuals don’t want to follow someone who’s going to treat the follower as just a cog in some grand plan, a small piece of wood in the large machine – that does not make anyone feel very good,” the CEO said.

Effective leaders take time to embrace diversity, the unique skill sets individuals bring to the table. They care about how their employees feel and cultivate an environment where all people can feel comfortable.

Workplace experts agree that empathy, and emotional intelligence in general, are key to leading productive and engaged teams.

Empathy can take many forms. It can be a leader making work more flexible for employees juggling caregiving responsibilities or expanding child care benefits, as many parents struggle to work and raise their children during a pandemic. Ferguson took both of these steps to support employees recently.

“In a crisis moment, showing some empathy gets people to follow you,” he said.

There’s a clear payoff. People are generally happier when they’re shown empathy. And multiple studies, including one conducted in 2019 by the University of Oxford, have found that happier employees are more productive.

“At the end of the day, the leader probably makes a small number of decisions, but many other people make daily decisions and they must be done in a way that’s consistent with the larger goal,” Ferguson said. “I think that’s best done by people who are really most engaged and are really committed to and bought into the vision.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Walmart significantly beats out Amazon when it comes to Black and Latino representation in upper management

walmart employees
Walmart employs a higher rate of Black and Latino executives relative to Amazon.

  • Black and Latino people are represented better within Walmart’s upper management than Amazon.
  • Black and Latino people made up 14% of US presidents and vice presidents at Walmart.
  • Just 3.8% of senior leaders at Amazon are Black, and 3.9% are Latino.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Diversity among underrepresented groups within Walmart’s upper management slightly beats Amazon.

Black and Latino people accounted for 14% of US “officers” last year, the company reported. Walmart defines officers as leaders who have president or vice president in their job titles.

At Amazon, Walmart’s primary competitor, Black employees made up only 3.8% of senior leaders, and Latino people accounted for 3.9% of senior management roles.

Read more: Frustrated third-party sellers say Walmart’s platform is severely lacking compared to Amazon, and they are desperate for the retail giant to catch up

Although white people are overwhelmingly represented in senior leadership at both companies, fewer senior roles at Amazon than at Walmart – 70.7% compared with 74.5% – are held by white employees, due to higher representation of Asian employees in the e-commerce giant’s upper ranks.

Asian-Americans are not underrepresented groups at most tech companies, but still report facing racial discrimination and a lack of promotions on the job.

Black employees made up 31% of the lowest-level roles at Amazon in 2020, and Latino workers accounted for 26% of the lowest-level roles. At Walmart, 39% of hourly workers are Black and Latino. White people account for 52.3% of hourly Walmart workers, but only 28.5% of Amazon’s field and customer support workers.

Got a tip? If you’re a Walmart worker, you can contact Insider reporter Allana Akhtar by email (aakhtar@businessinsider.com), phone (646-376-6058), or encrypted messaging app Signal (248-760-0208). We can keep sources anonymous.

Walmart, the country’s largest employer, had 1.5 million total workers in the United States last year. Amazon did not disclose the total number of US workers in a recent report, but said it plans to increase headcount to an estimated 1.2 million workers last year.

Amazon senior vice president Beth Galetti acknowledged the firm has “more work to do” to build a diverse and inclusive environment. The company said it will double the current number of Black directors and vice presidents in 2021, as well as increase the number of Black employees in corporate roles by 30%.

Amazon did not have additional statement to add. Walmart was not immediately available for additional comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

ADP has developed a workforce-diversity tool that lets you compare your company’s progress with others

Office workers stock
ADP’s new dashboard lets companies benchmark the diversity of their workforce.

  • ADP’s new DEI Dashboard lets companies break down data by ethnicity, gender, age, and disability.
  • Employers can also compare their company’s makeup to others in the same industry or region.
  • ADP told Insider that the dataset was the top-rated request by its clients.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

HR-tech company ADP has launched a new platform that lets employers compare their workforce’s diversity to similar companies.

The tool also lets companies see whether they’re retaining and promoting employees from marginalized communities at the same rate as others.

This development comes as the pandemic continues to widen healthcare, employment, and financial inequalities.

The World Economic Forum said closing the global gender gap would take an extra 36 years, due to the impact of the pandemic, during which 5% of all employed women lost their jobs, compared with 3.9% of employed men.

Meanwhile, staff have slammed BlackRock, McDonald’s, and Salesforce for their slow progress in improving workplace diversity – and DEI executives told Insider’s Marguerite Ward they’re burning out amid the billion-dollar push to diversify corporate America.

Read more: Verizon has pledged to spend 30% of its production dollars on minority-owned production companies, and has built a tool to vet its ads for bias

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Dashboard is part of ADP’s DataCloud and lets companies break down data by criteria including employees’ ethnicity, gender, age, disability, and veteran status.

ADP DEI Dashboard
ADP’s DEI Dashboard lets you track diversity trends over time.

ADP says the tool will help companies see the makeup of their employees and identify whether any diverse groups are underrepresented.

The software also lets companies benchmark themselves against similar organizations using what ADP says is one the largest available sets of real workforce data.

Jack Berkowitz, ADP’s senior vice president of product development, told Insider that this is the first time such large-scale benchmarking tools have been made widely available on the HR-software market.

ADP’s DataCloud lets employers select comparison companies by industry, size, or location. The data is aggregated to protect employees’ privacy.

As well as comparing DEI, the tool also lets companies compare organizational metrics like headcount, labor costs, and turnover. This lets employers see, for example, how their headcount by department compares to others in the same industry, or what percentage of total labor costs other companies in their region spend on sales and marketing.

Suzanne Harris, vice-president of human resources at IT-services company NexusTek and an ADP client, told Insider the company would use the tool to compare diversity data over time so that it can monitor trends and track progress.

And as well as looking at overall data, NexusTek plans on using the data to provide executives and managers with specific metrics related to their department and job functions, too.

Some companies, like The Carlyle Group, are going one step further by tying managing director promotions to inclusive leadership.

“There’s never been a time for people data to be more important,” Berkowitz said. He added that ADP evaluates around 400 software and tool requests from customers each year and a comparable EDI dataset was the top-rated request.

HR companies are responding to this growing demand for diversity data, too.

Website Glassdoor, for example, added a “diversity and inclusion rating” to its job-review system, and also lets job seekers compare pay and ratings by demographic groups.

Meanwhile, former college careers advisor Byron Slosar set up recruitment app Hive Diversity, which connects employers with a focus on DEI to college students from underrepresented communities.

Harris added, however, that it’s important to not just have a diversity approach reliant on checking boxes or meeting quotas.

“It is more important to us that all our employees, regardless of their background, feel included and valued and that we have a healthy culture that allows them to bring their authentic self to work each day,” she told Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Two UK-based venture capitalists weigh in on whether the investing industry has improved its diversity in Europe

PAULA GROVES   bycompany

Following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor-and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, which inspired racial justice protests around the world-businesses across corporate America and Europe spoke out against racism and discrimination last spring.

Venture capital funds were no different. Silicon Valley behemoths, from Sequoia and Bessemer to Kleiner Perkins, tweeted about doing better on diversity. But as the anniversary of Floyd’s murder approaches, has anything really changed in the investing world?

“I think we have, absolutely, [seen change],” said Paula Groves, a general partner at the venture capital firm Impact X, which invests in underrepresented entrepreneurs across Europe. “You see a number of companies and corporations…start to allocate funding to Black entrepreneurs. … All of these corporate giants have been spurred by the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, and I applaud their efforts.”

Groves-who began her career on Wall Street in the 1980s, then worked in private equity before spinning out her own VC fund focused on women- and minority-led tech companies-said that regardless of what investors may say about diversity, what really matters is where they put their money.

“Getting capital in the hands of [diverse] entrepreneurs is going to be so important from a wealth creation standpoint,” she said.

Supporting Black entrepreneurs has broader implications beyond just their individual companies, Groves said. Studies show that Black entrepreneurs typically support other Black businesses, such as restaurants. They’re also more likely to employ Black people in their own companies. It’s called the virtuous circle, and leads to wealth creation, which then leads to more entrepreneurship.

Funding Black founders also makes good business sense for investors.

“Mainstream entrepreneurs are getting most of the capital, as we know, and certain deals are oversaturated,” said Groves. “When deals become oversaturated, they become overvalued. … If we can find these hidden gems, we can take advantage of a valuation arbitrage, if you will, providing capital at a lower valuation, working with businesses to grow, and creating strategic value.”

Boosting diversity from within

Andy Davis, the founder and general partner of the 10×10 fund in London, said he is optimistic about progress being made inside venture capital firms themselves.

“On the VC side of things, we’ve seen a lot more Black VCs not only get interviews but get hired,” he said. “We’re seeing more people get to the final stages of interviews and get offered funds-so the VC industry is moving, in my opinion, though it’s moving slowly.”

Davis has worked in the past with the London-based firm Atomico, which he said is making a concerted push to hire more Black investors. That said, many of the roles being offered to Black candidates are entry- or mid-level. That’s below the seniority level at which real investment decisions are made.

“There is an issue at the check-writing level,” Davis said. “We do need to progress the careers of those who are at mid-level.”

He said there are only a few Black venture capital partners in the UK, and those that exist are partners at their own funds. In other words, there are no Black partners at non-Black firms.

Davis, who began his career as a startup founder before moving into angel investing, created a network of Black British founders in 2015. A few years later, he started a similar community for Black venture capitalists and angel investors. Those efforts have culminated in the 10×10 venture capital fund, an early stage fund to invest in Black founders, announced last July and launching next quarter. It will begin with about £3 million ($4.2 million).

Europe vs. the US

So far, both Davis and Groves work primarily with British startups. In some parts of continental Europe, investing in diverse entrepreneurs is complicated by a lack of data. In France and Germany, for example, the governments do not collect racial statistics at all.

Even in the UK, a recent study by Extend Ventures-a not-for-profit for diverse entrepreneurs-found a dearth of data on diversity in venture capital.

“We must be prepared to shift the status quo significantly on race with the same determination that we’re tackling gender disparity,” wrote industry expert Patricia Hamazhee in the report. “Without data, we cannot marshal the evidence that is demanded before change can be made.”

Groves said there is a handful of European investors starting to build out the Black entrepreneurial ecosystem, and that she believes it will grow.

“I would say that the European ecosystem is probably about 20 years behind the US ecosystem,” she said, adding that that’s true of the VC space in general, not just in terms of VC diversity.

Davis agreed that American VC funds tend to have more capital-and that the US has more of a startup culture.

“In the UK we are traditionally conservative, and in the US they are a lot more open to risk and the idea of entrepreneurship,” he said.

What next?

“In the wake of Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd movement, I think other people are starting to wake up to what I believe is an opportunity-not just to right a societal wrong, but also to maximize results and bring equality,” said Groves. “I believe that economic inclusion and the economic domain is the next place for equality in our society.”

For her, the key to getting Black entrepreneurs better access to capital is to prove that investing in them makes good business sense.

“Oftentimes people feel like the solution is to get a bunch of really smart people in the room and sit down and talk about strategy, and brainstorm what’s broken and how do we address these needs, and write a report,” she said. “We’ve done that for years. We have the data, we have the information, we’ve proven the business case-so let’s start to deploy the capital.”

Impact X, which has raised money from high-net-worth individuals in the UK and US, has so far invested in more than 20 transactions. The firm has had one exit-a fintech company, which it exited at a 7x markup in valuation from its initial investment. Groves hopes to have two more exits by June.

“So we’re proving the thesis,” she said. “[We’ve got], not just the data as to why it makes sense from an academic standpoint, but now we have actual financial results that we can point to.”

When it comes to finding diverse European entrepreneurs to invest in, Davis said there are plenty to choose from. “Every month I see about 120 companies and end up investing [personally] in 0.8 percent,” he said. Of those 120 diverse startups, about 100 are founded by Black entrepreneurs. “So,” he said, “when they say there’s a pipeline problem, it’s not on the founder end.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

4 steps diversity and inclusion consultants recommend for hiring more Black and brown employees – and keeping them long term

Unemployment, job fair
Getting people from marginalized backgrounds in the door at your company is just the start of an effective diversity, equity, and inclusion plan.

  • Corporate diversity plans will fall short if companies don’t make Black and brown employees feel valued.
  • That’s because employees who don’t feel heard will quit.
  • Successful diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) plans give employees voice and agency.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have gone from empty buzzwords to well financed initiatives within companies across the country. Industry leaders – from Google to JPMorgan – are investing in internal and external programs to promote racial equity. Leaders are hiring more DEI executives and promising more workplace diversity within the next few years.

But this progress is at risk of falling flat, some of the country’s top DEI experts told Business Insider.

Mastercard’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer Randall Tucker said efforts by leaders to advance racial justice and equality in their workforces will be short-lived if they focus only on getting more Black and brown employees in the door. That’s because if Black and brown employees don’t feel respected and valued at a company, they’ll leave to find another job.

“It’s not just ‘Let’s find diverse talent.’ It should be you’re hiring diverse talent, and at the same time you have the levers to retain that talent. Otherwise you’re just wasting a lot of money,” he said.

Randall Tucker
Randall Tucker, chief inclusion officer at Mastercard, said companies risk Black and brown employees experiencing “onlyness.”

It’s not enough to focus on diversity alone. Black employees make up 12% of entry-level employees, but they account for just 7% of managers, according to McKinsey research published in February. A big part of this problem is that Black employees feel less supported than their white colleagues, the same research found.

To retain and promote talent, executives and managers alike have to prioritize equity and inclusion at the same time.

Equity goes beyond equal opportunity and encompasses the distribution of resources in a way that ensures everyone is treated equally. Inclusion encourages everyone to bring their whole unique identity to work and respects and values difference.

Black and brown employees face ‘onlyness’ at work

For many newly hired or promoted Black and brown employees, there’s a real risk of “onlyness,” Tucker and other DEI experts told Business Insider.

“Onlyness” is the phenomenon whereby a person is the only person of color, woman, LGBTQ person, ect. in the room. McKinsey and Company researched “onlyness” and found that LGBTQ women of color are the most likely to feel this way in the workplace.

If leaders don’t assess their company culture and proactively give employees from marginalized backgrounds a seat at the table and a voice in company decisions, “onlyness” turns into feeling excluded, or worse.

“Diversity and inclusion have to happen in concert,” Tucker said.

Doris Quintanilla, executive director and cofounder of The Melanin Collective, a DEI consultancy, said companies are at real risk of only achieving part of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“Since Trump’s election, I’ve seen hiring of people of color in different organizations, but I don’t see them staying or being happy because we’re not treating them like the human beings that they are. They’re still tokens, they’re tokenized,” she said.

Being tokenized is “the practice of doing something (such as hiring a person who belongs to a minority group) only to prevent criticism and give the appearance that people are being treated fairly,” per Merriam Webster.

“It’s not just about getting people in the door if they walk right out in six months to a year, right?” she said.

Doris Quintanilla
Doris Quintanilla, executive director and co-founder of The Melanin Collective, encouraged executives to pay employees who lead ERGs and other diversity councils.

What it takes to prioritize equity and inclusion

Equity and inclusion can seem like such intangible ideas. But certain key steps can help make it happen.

  1. Treat DEI initiatives as core to your business’s strategy

Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the profitable thing to do.

A 2018 study by Boston Consulting Group found that increasing diversity in leadership teams increases profits. Another study of 22,000 firms found that companies with more women in their board rooms and on their executive teams were more profitable. When diversity increases, so does company performance.

Kerryn Agyekum
Kerryn Agyekum, principal of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice at The Raben Group, a DEI consultancy, outlined multiple ways companies can champion inclusion and equity.

  1. Invest in DEI initiatives like you would other core business areas

Quintanilla of The Melanin Collective said you can’t underinvest an area and expect great results.

She suggests hiring top-tier consultants and paying employees, or otherwise recognizing employees, who lead employee resource groups (ERGs) and other important company inclusion initiatives. Indeed, more Black and brown employees are asking for recognition or payment for their ERG participation, which some call “a second job.”

Boston Scientific has adopted this approach by inviting its ERG leaders to executive-level company conferences, among other perks.

  1. Examine who’s in leadership positions in your organization

Kerryn Agyekum, principal of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice at The Raben Group, a DEI consultancy, said employees from marginalized backgrounds need to see people like them in positions of power to feel that they can aspire to similar levels of success.

Agyekum has a question executives should ask themselves: “Are we still relegating our Black and brown people to service areas or support roles within an organization or do they truly have influence and power as decision makers in business critical areas?”

  1. Remove systemic barriers that prevent Black and brown people from succeeding

There are many ways your organization might unknowingly be holding employees of color back.

For example, mentorship opportunities that rely on relationships that form naturally often leave employees of color behind, considering that many people in high-powered positions are white. And people are more likely to mentor those with whom they have things in common. This is why women of color are the least likely to have sponsors in corporate America, research shows.

Agyekum encourages corporate leaders to enact plans that give Black and brown employees equal access to sponsorship and mentorship opportunities.

She also suggests leaders revisit their hiring practices to weed out unconscious bias that favors white candidates.

In addition, leaders should conduct pay equity reports and proactively remediate any discrepancies they find, she added.

“If you’re a person in power, it isn’t your job to leave all of the Black and brown employees to figure out this whole ‘race thing’ on their own. You actually have a responsibility to remediate toxicity and remove systemic barriers,” she said.

This is an updated version of an article originally published in November 2020.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A top Wells Fargo exec shares a strategy any leader can use to create an inclusive workplace culture

Lisa McGeough
Lisa McGeough, head of Wells Fargo’s international banking operations, said leaders shouldn’t be afraid to call out bias when they see it.

  • Lisa McGeough leads all of Wells Fargo’s international banking operations.
  • She said calling out microaggressions is crucial to creating an inclusive workplace culture.
  • Leaders must get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations around bias, she said.
  • This article is part of a series called “Leaders by Day,” which takes a look at how prominent business leaders are tackling various challenges in today’s economy.

Lisa McGeough leads Wells Fargo’s international banking operations, which encompasses all the firm’s businesses across the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

In other words, she’s one of the most important people at the bank, and one of a select few women who’ve broken the finance world’s glass ceiling, or the set of barriers that hold women back from the industry’s top positions.

According to Deloitte research from 2019, women hold only 22% of leadership roles in finance. While the number of women in leadership roles is expected to grow to 32% by 2030, that’s still well below parity.

Microaggressions, or subtle forms of discrimination and prejudice, are a major reason why more women and others from underrepresented backgrounds aren’t able to climb the corporate ladder, McGeough said.

Calling out microaggressions is one important part of creating an inclusive environment where everyone can succeed, she said.

“We must address all aspects of diversity in both our recruiting and managing strategies, asking difficult questions about where we don’t measure up and why?” she said.

McGeough knows from experience just how microaggressions can turn a workplace toxic. She shared her suggestions for any leader to address microaggressions in the workplace.

Learning from her own experience

Since starting at her first banking job in 1984, McGeough has experienced many subtle forms of bias.

Male colleagues would say things like “You’re so good at note-taking” or “I didn’t know you were interested in golf.”

She even had one manager who insisted she go home to take care of her kids instead of offering her the opportunity to cover clients who required extensive travel. This was despite her insistence she was the family’s breadwinner.

“If microaggressions are left unchecked or are not addressed in real time, they can create an exceptionally negative workplace environment and culture,” she said.

Today, as a leader, she uses her past experience to inform how she oversees her direct reports. She has a zero-tolerance policy for microaggressions, and will call them out.

How to call out microaggressions

In the wake of the racial reckoning happening in the US after the murder of George Floyd, fighting prejudice in the workplace is no longer an option. Employees, customers, and investors are demanding more diverse and inclusive companies.

In addition to the moral imperative, it’s also crucial for business. Microaggressions alienate employees, increase stress, and lead to a decrease in productivity, McGeough said.

A study based on over 11 million survey comments by Peakon, an employee engagement platform, revealed that a poor office environment is one of the top three reasons why people quit their jobs.

The first step, Sheena Howard, associate professor of communication for the online Masters of Business Communication program at Rider University, previously told Insider, is to remain calm. Then, address the comment in a direct and composed manner.

McGeough said managers shouldn’t be afraid to say things like “She was talking,” “Don’t interrupt them,” “What did you mean by that?” “Let her finish,” and “Don’t talk over them.”

“It’s essential that leaders and managers prioritize building diverse and inclusive teams,” she said.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently told Insider that the key to creating a more inclusive environment is not being afraid to have uncomfortable conversations. McGeough agreed.

“Leaders must challenge this behavior by addressing it directly,” she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wants leaders to get real about addressing unconscious bias in the workplace

sheryl sandberg
Facebook COO and “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg is worried that the pandemic could undo years of gains women in the workplace have made.

It’s one thing to hear your CEO mention the topic of unconscious bias in a town hall. It’s another thing to see your direct manager call out your colleague’s microaggression in a meeting.

Real change takes brave leaders engaging in tough conversations. And Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of the gender equity nonprofit LeanIn, wants to make those uncomfortable conversations more common.

“People want to talk about bias, but they’re afraid to talk about what the actual biases are. They’re afraid to say things out loud,” she told Insider.

To help managers work through (not dance around) tough diversity and inclusion topics, Sandberg’s nonprofit created an interactive program called “50 Ways to Fight Bias.” Prompts from the interactive highlight the biases women, especially women of color, experience in the workplace.

Leaders from Amazon, Airbnb, PayPal, and Walmart have already participated in the program. Over 1,000 other companies are signed up.

Not talking about bias has damaging consequences. Among several other factors, like a lack of sponsorship or a culture of discrimination, bias particularly keeps women of color from reaching the highest rungs of the corporate ladder.

For every 100 men promoted into a managerial role between 2019 and 2020, only 85 women were promoted, according to research McKinsey and LeanIn released last year. That gap was even larger for women of color. Only 58 Black women and 71 Latinas were promoted.

For International Women’s Day, Insider spoke with Sandberg about unconscious bias, the mounting number of women exiting the workforce to care for their kids, and her thoughts on how America’s racial reckoning could lead to change.

The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

You’ve been thinking a lot about unconscious bias. You recently released an interactive program that managers at Walmart, Amazon, PayPal, and other companies have used on the topic. How are leaders doing right now when it comes to tackling unconscious bias?

It’s really about recognizing that we all need to do better.

We need to have conversations about women being interrupted, about Black women being called ‘bossy,’ about Latina women being called ’emotional,’ these are things that people need to understand are still happening, and we need this to change. And the only way to have these things change is to have these conversations.

It’s about leaders and employees getting uncomfortable.

Yes. We need to talk about it in the specific. Saying “There’s bias,” doesn’t do it. That’s not enough. We have to be specific, even though that’s where the hard conversations come up.

It can be hard to admit that these are the biases because we don’t want to say that, but pretending they don’t exist unfortunately does not make it go away. And I think that’s the point of the “50 Ways to Fight Bias” program.

We’re trying to bring unconscious bias to life.

Another topic I wanted to talk with you about is the staggering number of women leaving the workforce right now, the “she-session.” Are enough CEOs talking about it? Taking action?

I don’t think enough leaders are talking about it. I really don’t. My foundation did a survey in October that showed that 25% of women in the workforce were thinking about leaving.

You saw it coming.

I don’t think it’s that we saw it coming, it’s more that we asked women what they were thinking, and we listened.

Women were working a double shift before the coronavirus, but once the pandemic hit, there was a double-double shift. It’s completely unsustainable for women.

Crises are moments of reconciliation for us, right? We either have to make things better or we have to acknowledge and accept that they’re going to be worse. Women have done the majority of household work and childcare forever, that’s not new, right? The question now is, are we going to accept that? And leave it like that? Or are we going to fight and change it?

What can business leaders do to address the “she-session”?

There’s so much CEOs have to do to address this. This isn’t a problem women can solve on their own. This is a problem we have to work together to solve.

For one, make sure your corporate policies are right. For example, at Facebook, we canceled performance reviews. Because you can’t tell people, ‘Hey I know you’ve got a lot to do amid this pandemic’ and hold them to the same standards. We gave everyone an additional 10 weeks of COVID leave, additional time off for anything related to the coronavirus: taking care of yourself, taking care of your child, taking care of your child doing long-distance work, we are giving you that option. And I think more companies need to change those types of things.

Then there’s bias, you have to have a program that talks about and recognizes bias. You have to be very thoughtful about recruiting and retaining diversity.

There are so many things leaders need to do.

You talked about not wasting a crisis. The pandemic and the racial reckoning underscored the need for corporate America to take diversity and inclusion seriously. Do you think the efforts companies are taking now will continue? Will there be lasting change?

I want to believe that it’s going to be different this time. I think there are some real signs of hope that people are taking this much more seriously. But can I tell you I know for sure? Of course not, but I’m really hopeful.

Let me ask you, what do you think? You must have an interesting vantage point, as someone who writes about this.

Ha! Well, sure. I personally think we’re at a turning point where consumers, investors, employees – they want accountability. They want their leaders to make good on the promises they set out in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. So yes, I think there will be more pressure going forward, which could bring about change.

That makes me hopeful. You know, I really, really hope that we’re not going to waste this crisis.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A top exec at Wells Fargo shares the career moves that helped her crack the glass ceiling

Lisa McGeough
Lisa McGeough says being the CEO of your career means you actively take control of it, rather than passively waiting for success to come your way.

  • Lisa McGeough, head of international banking at Wells Fargo, shared how she broke the glass ceiling. 
  • Deloitte research from 2019 shows that women hold only 22% of leadership roles in finance.
  • The glass ceiling is the set of obstacles women face when trying to ascend to top corporate positions. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

When Lisa McGeough first walked onto the fixed income trading floor at Salomon Brothers (which was later acquired by Citi) in 1984, she was one of about 12 women in her class. There were more than some 65 men. 

McGeough, then 21, quickly learned she was in a man’s world. And the odds were not in her favor. 

Over the years, she’d experience numerous microaggressions from her male colleagues.  

“Girls can’t trade.” 

“You’re so good at note-taking.” 

“I didn’t know you were interested in golf.”

But she refused to let them get to her. Today, McGeough holds one of the highest positions in finance. She leads Wells Fargo’s international banking operations, which encompasses all the businesses across the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East, and Africa. 

“It was a tough place, the trading floor,” McGeough told Insider. “But that’s where I developed my resilience because I was not able to change the culture. I had to adapt to the culture, and survive the culture, and then thrive within the culture.” 

There’s been progress toward gender equality since the 1980s. Social norms have changed. The recent #MeToo movement has forced leaders to take a hard look at sexual harassment and the lack of women in leadership within their own walls. 

The Civil Rights Act of 1991, for example, gave people suing for workplace discrimination more rights and forced employers to take claims more seriously. 

Yet, at the same time, many things have remained the same. Executive positions are still mostly occupied by white men. Out of all the CEOs on the Fortune 500 list, only about 37 are women. There are only 6 black CEOs. 

There’s still a glass ceiling, a set of barriers women face when trying to climb the corporate ladder and make it into the C-suite. According to Deloitte research from 2019, women hold only 22% of leadership roles in finance. While it’s expected to grow, to 32% by 2030, that’s still well below parity.  

Approximately 48% of senior leaders at Wells Fargo are women, according to company data provided to Insider. Some 25% are racially or ethnically diverse and 9% are Black. 

Industry leaders like Salesforce and Amazon still wrestle with workplace discrimination, according to reports. And businesses across a range of industries show disappointing diversity numbers when it comes to their executive leadership. 

This is despite women holding 50% of entry-level positions, according to 2019 research from McKinsey and LeanIn. 

McGeough cracked the ceiling, though. For International Women’s Day, she reflected on how she did it. 

Learning the value of hard work 

McGeough said she’ll never forget visiting her immigrant grandparents. Her grandmother, who emigrated from Italy, worked two jobs – one at a men’s tailor shop and another at a local garden. She’d come home, pick food from the family’s garden in their backyard, cook dinner, and then would routinely stay up until nearly 3 a.m. sewing clothes for the family. 

McGeough’s parents, who owned an IT company in Chicago, encouraged her and her three younger siblings to work hard in school and in life. 

“It’s been in my psyche for my whole life, watching them as role models and how hard they worked,” she said. “Hard work, focused dedication, and resilience are the things that I got from them.” 

McGeough attended Bowdoin College in Maine, graduating with a degree in economics. Shortly after, she began a three-year career at Salomon Brothers. 

She worked hard to make it in the cut-throat world of finance, facing constant microaggressions and bosses who didn’t believe in her abilities. 

But she stayed determined. 

“No, one’s going to knock me out,” she’d tell herself. “No, one’s going to win. I am going to be the one that’s going to. I’m going to survive and I’m going to thrive.”  

Hard work alone, however, didn’t make her an executive, she said. 

“There is no fairy godmother. There’s no person who’s going to just notice you and pull you into a high level role,” she said.  

Be the CEO of your career

Lisa McGeough
McGeough said women and people from underrepresented groups should have a team of people who know their hard work and can advocate for them in rooms where decisions are being made.

Women and other professionals from underrepresented groups have to be more active about how they plan their career growth, she told Insider.  

Her philosophy boils down to a simple catchphrase: “Be the CEO of your career.” 

In other words, take charge of your career, as a CEO would take charge of their company. Actively advocate for yourself.

For example, do not assume your manager or your manager’s manager will notice your hard work, she said. Keep track of your progress, she said, and bring it up in meetings, especially when it comes time to performance reviews.

Make sure your career has a “board of directors,” or a group of people who can help you along the way and advocate for you. 

“It’s not just your boss. It’s your clients, a lateral manager, mentors or sponsors,” she said. 

They can advocate for you when you’re not in the rooms where decisions are being made. 

By having a board of directors, McGeough said she was recommended for roles that other women were passed up for. 

Know when to move and look for new opportunities 

Women have to know when to leave a job where they can no longer grow.

For McGeough, that happened when she had a manager who insisted she go home to take care of her kids instead of offering her the opportunity to cover clients who required extensive travel. This was despite her insistence she was the family’s breadwinner. 

After that experience she knew she had to get out.

Career progress often isn’t a straight path, but rather a series of lateral moves, she said. Some of those moves happened when she saw an opportunity, raised the issue with leadership, and pitched herself for the role. 

“I raised my hand to do something very hard that no one else was doing. And there was a very large gap in this particular role that I observed,” she said. “Take risks, be uncomfortable.” 

Now, as a leader, she actively advocates for up-and-coming talent, especially women and those from underrepresented backgrounds. 

“How do I advocate for this talented woman or diverse person on my team to give them the visibility that they need? Because I’ve experienced what they’re experiencing now. How do I create a diverse leadership team?” 

Those are questions she says more leaders should be thinking about, she said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 Black queer journalists share their advice for breaking into the journalism industry and what publications should do better to recruit minority employees

Daric L Cottingham interview
(L-R) Tre’vell Anderson, Cerise Castle, Femi Redwood.

  • Regardless of any sudden DEI efforts made in 2020, journalist Daric L. Cottingham says the media industry has a long way to go to promote diversity. 
  • Cottingham interviewed three Black LGBTQ journalists on lessons they’ve learned breaking into the media industry.
  • The group also shared their thoughts on how publications can better recruit and retain Black queer journalists.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

As the spike of police brutality targeted at Black people became a constant headline in 2020, the world began to listen to concerns of structural racism and bias, especially in professional settings. 

Daric Cottingham Headshot 2021
Daric L. Cottingham.

Many industries started to examine their racist pasts. Journalism in particular began to reckon with the lack of diversity in newsrooms, and the racist rhetoric it used in coverage of diverse communities.

These “reckonings” felt like an empty PR attempt, since the same behaviors are still present at many publications in 2021 

Despite these “attempts,” we’re left with a lingering question of how can journalism actively change to be as diverse as the communities it reports on. One way is to hire diverse candidates with intersecting identities, such as Black queer journalists who navigate the industry with the added stress of implicit bias rooted in racism and queerphobia.  

I spoke with three Black queer journalists about the lessons they’ve learned navigating the journalism job market.

Cerise Castle .JPG
Cerise Castle.

Cerise Castle (she/her) is a Black lesbian multimedia journalist who’s produced and hosted segments for VICE News Tonight, Los Angeles NPR affiliate KCRW, and Wondery. 

Tre'vell Anderson headshot 2021.JPG
Tre’vell Anderson.

Tre’vell Anderson (they/them) is a Black queer, non-binary person of trans experience, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists of Los Angeles, co-chair of NABJ’s LGBTQ Task Force, and editor-at-large at Xtra Magazine.

Femi Redwood headsshot 2021
Femi Redwood.

Femi Redwood (she/her) is a Black lesbian TV news anchor who most recently reported for VICE News on intersectional issues including race, gender, and LGBTQ identities. She’s a board member of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and a co-chair NABJ’s LGBTQ Task Force.

Here’s what they had to say, including advice they have for young Black queer journalists trying to break into the industry and advice for publications to better recruit and retain these diverse journalists. 

What was one lesson you learned as a Black, queer journalist? 

Cerise Castle: The hardest lesson I think is the fastest one you learn: that your voice and ideas will probably always be counted last. I think that’s a valuable lesson because I think it’s helpful to go in knowing the reality of most newsrooms and how most outlets work. Unfortunately, I think it’s a reality that you have to accept most of the time.

Tre’vell Anderson: A lesson that I’ve learned as a Black, queer journalist is that, just because my editor doesn’t understand the importance of a particular story, doesn’t mean that story shouldn’t be told. As Black, queer, trans folks, as folks from a marginalized, less represented community in newsrooms, often the stories that we want to tell about our communities don’t hold that same weight. Or don’t seem as necessary or worthy to our editors, who are white folk more often than not.

Femi Redwood: Pay attention to the media group because it may have more control in how the station or the publication handles things than the individual entity you will work for. If it’s a problematic station group, you don’t want to work there.

What advice do you have for young Black, queer journalists trying to break into the industry?

Castle: I would say not to change yourself for the industry. I had a college professor who told me that to be on camera, I had to have shoulder-length hair and couldn’t wear it naturally. I couldn’t have piercings or do my makeup a certain way. And all of that, just … It isn’t true. 

Granted, there will be some news directors that will force you into that box, but you can always be yourself. The first on-camera job that I got picked me because they liked my curly hair and liked that I bleached it. They liked that I had facial piercings. They liked that I didn’t look just like every other reporter from central casting. Playing into your identity can help you out in many situations, to get that job, and to get the story too.

Anderson: My advice to Black queer journalists, emerging and coming into the industry and those that are fairly established, is to remain undaunted as we navigate these spaces. Follow your heart, follow your gut, follow your intense desire to tell your community’s stories, even when the broader media ecosystem, or your editor, or whomever tells you that those stories don’t have any worth. 

It’s important to build an identity outside of the news organizations that we might work for and beyond the work we do because being a journalist is a thankless job in many ways. Still, it’s a very necessary job at the same time.

Redwood: My one piece of advice to queer Black journalists is to go into every situation as if you were a straight white man. It’s been my recent guiding principle. 

Often we are told we need to accept anything, accept any pay, and accept any position. We are told that unless we check off certain boxes – years of experience, education, awards, etc. – we don’t deserve more. Nah. 

Be like straight white men. They are socialized to expect what they believe they deserve. Young queer Black journos need to do that as well. We often see straight white men “fail up” while we tell ourselves, ‘we aren’t ready for a new position, we don’t deserve a raise, or haven’t earned a promotion.’ 

You deserve that job even if you only worked on your college paper; you deserve that pay even if you didn’t go to what’s considered a top j-school, you deserve that promotion even if you haven’t earned any awards, because why not you.

What can publications do to better recruit and retain Black, queer journalists?

Castle: Pay them. That’s all, that’s my answer. Pay them what they’re worth, more than they’re worth.

Anderson: What these people need to do to recruit more Black queer journalists is the same thing they need to do to recruit more Black journalists, right? They have to get out of their own way and get out of our way. 

Many folks hiring and recruiting reporters aren’t doing intentional outreach to groups of color, to 1) Let us know the available opportunities, and 2) Give us the same kind of level playing field that our white counterparts have. 

It also requires you to not only augment and change your recruiting habits, but you also need to change your retention practices because once you hire a Black person, you need to make sure that the work environment is one they will want to stay at your company. 

That might mean that some people on the team need to leave because they’re toxic, or they’re white supremacists, or they’re racist, or they’re homophobic, or transphobic.

Redwood: It’s all a big circle. And all of these things work hand in hand. To recruit Black queer journalists, you have to create a place they want to work. Because if the environment is homophobic or full of racist microaggressions, then Black folks aren’t going to want to work there. 

The next thing is to create paid internships. Expecting journalists to work for free, it’s a form of gatekeeping that unfortunately prevents many Black and brown and queer journalists from getting in. Because statistically speaking, we don’t have the same wealth as white counterparts.

Read the original article on Business Insider