TIME’S UP REVEALS NEW DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION GUIDELINES FOR THE PANDEMIC
‘Working from home is not created equal for everyone,’ says head of ad industry efforts
“This is an opportunity for businesses that pride themselves on being progressive in diversity, equity, inclusion,” says Christena Pyle, vice president and head of Time’s Up’s efforts in the advertising industry. “This is a chance for them to double down on the work that they’ve been doing as part of their economic recovery and resilience strategy.”
Companies should regard layoffs as a last resort, according to “The Time’s Up Guide to Equity and Inclusion During Crisis,” as those often hit new and low-level employees hardest—who are more likely to be women, people of color or LGBTQ. Instead, they should consider salary cuts for executives and employee retraining. Delay performance reviews or factor in the effects of the pandemic, including new stressors from working at home, illness, family responsibilities and new assignments employees have taken on due to reorganization.
“Working from home is not created equal for everyone. Some people may be unsafe working from home,” Pyle says, referring to the rise of reports of domestic violence globally during lockdown. Other employees may not have access to the right technology to work from home effectively.
Many of the recommendations are best practices for companies during better times, too. Comprehensive sexual harassment policies protect workers all the time, but perpetrators may take advantage of a crisis when victims are removed from their typical support systems, like the open door of human resources or affinity and employee resource groups that usually meet in person. Transparency is also key, especially since furloughed workers or rehired staff may have missed important communications while they were gone or just be out of the loop on projects or policies.
Since companies are already reevaluating partnerships, it can be a good time to develop new relationship with minority-owned suppliers and vendors. Keeping one eye on the demographics of the workforce not only prevents a loss of diversity but can identify places that need improvement—and a time of change is perhaps the best time to implement those changes.
“There are companies who have always wanted to push themselves to improve and who feel like now is certainly not the time. We can’t afford that,” Pyle says. “I think we can’t afford not to. When we talk about the future of work, we know that decisions are being made in this moment that are going to have implications in the future. They’re going to have implications on attracting the best talent. They’re going to have implications on consumer sentiment. And people are going to be held accountable for the values that they espoused in the moments before and how they operated and navigated their companies through this crisis.”