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COP27 Review: Global Action Slows Despite Notable Successes

November 21, 2022
By Jaiye Elias

Miss COP 27? Here are our six takeaways from the event and the significant impact they will have on communications as the fight for climate change continues.

The post COP27 Review: Global action slows despite notable successes appeared first on United Kingdom.


Reevaluating Employee Value Proposition for The New Era of Work

November 18, 2022
By Jaiye Elias

Redefining the meaning of Employee Value Proposition can be the key to success: take a look at our report to gather insights about how organizations can differentiate between Employee Value Proposition and employer brand.

The post Reevaluating Employee Value Proposition for the new era of work appeared first on United Kingdom.


Choosing the Right Tech Event to Attend in Our New Normal

November 10, 2022
By Matthew Caldecutt and Connor Mahon

After a two-year hiatus, TechCrunch Disrupt finally returned to the Moscone Center this year.

One of the marquee events in tech, it will always be synonymous with what’s new, interesting and – as the existence of an Investor Lounge attests – what’s worth banking on. It’s also worth examining; checking out what to look for when considering a tech industry event to sponsor or speak at, especially as we reach the saturation point with tech conferences across the globe going virtual, hybrid and in-person.

What to consider when evaluating tech events

First up: the format. Smaller, more intimate talks were extremely popular and brought value to the organizations participating in them. Now, don’t get us wrong. Main stage is still the main stage, but that’s more pre-pandemic. Attendees are craving more human interaction and, in the more intimate settings that can best be described as a cross between TED and pitches, you could see word of mouth in action and real engagement with the creative thinkers presenting or even explaining trending topics.

Then there’s the size of an event. It’s great to have the run of a large space, but it’s a lot of ground to cover. Are you going to be in a section where you’re with peers, making it easier for current and potential partners to find you? The more focused an event is, the greater the possibility you’ll get attendees with whom you may want to connect. Of course, it doesn’t have to be that focused as some cross-pollination is sure to be helpful to all those there.  

And lastly, let’s mention big and established partners who are key to putting on successful events these days. If these thought leaders are fully integrated into the program, they can add to it and be a draw, and there’s undoubtedly going to be some spillover if they’re related to your business. So, being around them can be helpful. It’s just a question of whom, how well they’re worked in, and if they’re incorporated in such a way that folks have to stick around to see what else is on site.

As we continue in the “new normal,” it’s the perfect time to use events like this to discover how you and your business can best leverage these opportunities.


Blockchain’s Role in the Global Food Network

November 7, 2022
By Ian Averback

Cryptocurrency has dominated headlines over the past few years for both good and bad reasons. While some say it’s the future and others avoid it like the plague, there is one component of it which can revolutionize industries: blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized and immutable public ledger that allows individuals and organizations to track transactions. Although the context of blockchain is usually associated with cryptocurrency, its applications extend far beyond and change how other industries function, for the better. The food production and food transportation industries are examples of where blockchain offers immense benefits over previous work processes and can help build an organization’s overall reputation.

How is blockchain different from other databases?

There’s no shortage of systems and tools for organizations to track and monitor transactions, but none are perfect.

Food producers, distributors and retailers rely on such tracking systems to monitor their supply chain. This includes the ability to trace both backwards, to the source, and forward, to the consumer. Traceability requires proper documentation and recordkeeping, but the data associated with the food industry is often incomplete or inaccurate.

Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which sets regulations for maintaining supply chain records, acknowledges there are holes in the system. For example, farms and restaurants are excluded from FDA traceability requirements, meaning that parts of the supply chain cannot quickly or easily be accounted for in an outbreak investigation.

To address these issues, the FDA issued a “new era of smarter food safety blueprint” in 2021, in which it endorsed blockchain to better “receive critical tracking events and key data elements” from companies throughout the supply chain.

How can blockchain support the food production industry?

Companies in the global food chain are increasingly exploring blockchain as it has a unique ability to trace goods. Its applications and use cases if properly managed could allow businesses to follow their products – whether that be from overseas, farm-to-table or anything in between. Driven by a higher desire for food safety, companies at the end of the production cycle want to take advantage of blockchain’s transparent and unalterable nature. This could result in each step of the supply chain being more easily traced and verified. Not only is that immensely valuable in validating and further developing sustainability goals, but it makes a massive impact on transparency with consumers as well. For example, by scanning a QR code, one could confirm how fresh a product is, what farm it came from, which companies and vehicles transported it, if it went to a food processing facility and which store has it on the shelves.

This level of accountability therefore can revolutionize food recalls, which can devastate an organization’s finances and reputation if handled poorly. The Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association calculated that the average food industry recall costs $10 million in direct costs, not to mention brand damage and lost sales. That may even be a steal — a recall in June cost one company an estimated $125 million.

In the event of a recall, blockchain technology would allow grocery stores and consumers to be alerted immediately and contaminated food still in transit could be identified and discarded immediately. If it is in store already, store owners can dispose of the remaining product in an easier fashion and consumers could be alerted immediately. No longer will consumers see the news stories of a massive recall due to pathogens such as E. coli or salmonella and wonder if their groceries are tainted. Growers, processors, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, transporters and retailers all would operate on the same network of shared records that account for food origin details, processing data, shipping details, point of sale and other prevalent information. With one quick scan, any organization can see if their product came into contact with the infectious farm or batch before it was put on sale.

Better access to this information will allow both B2B and B2C brands to build and maintain consumer confidence. Consumers can purchase their groceries without fear and companies can save millions by avoiding lawsuits, instilling better faith in their products and processes and operating with the highest quality assurances.

How does that impact communicators?

Blockchain is here to stay, regardless of what happens in the crypto market. The food industry has been implementing plans to adopt the technology for years and its use is only projected to grow.

Consumers today are more conscious of ethical and sustainable supply chains than ever before, and they’re looking to support brands and products that align with their values. For organizations involved in the food supply chain, blockchain technology provides a great opportunity to win the trust of consumers.

The food industry is still restabilizing itself following the pandemic and different sociopolitical factors across the world. However, a fully developed blockchain food cycle offers unprecedented transparency into our food’s quality as well as a company’s sustainability efforts. The desire from food suppliers and sellers is constantly growing because by keeping everything tracked and accountable, blockchain makes it easier for companies to prove their products’ value and provide stronger Environmental, Social and Governance data for consumers, partners, investors and regulators alike.

Additionally, companies that leverage blockchain technology will have a competitive advantage when it comes to communications. With robust data on everything from freshness and safety to sustainability, they’ll be better positioned to build and share narratives and generate brand awareness. 

Blockchain technology offers unique benefits to both organizations looking to make every dollar count and consumers who demand quality assurance with their products. With a transparent, effective and traceable supply chain — blockchain enables organizations to solve many of the strategic obstacles they battle daily. The result is a better, healthier, more transparent and sustainable community.


As the Shift toward Pay Transparency Increases in the U.S., So Do Opportunities and Challenges for Employers

November 1, 2022
By Nicole Vaughn

Planning and Communication Are Key

Let’s talk about salaries.

For older workers, even the suggestion may be taboo; many have held jobs where such a discussion could get one fired. In 2022, not having such a discussion may be breaking the law.

On Nov. 1, 2022, New York City’s pay transparency law took effect. Effective Jan. 1, 2023, California’s pay transparency requirements become law. Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, Rhode Island and Washington already have laws in place that require employers to provide salary ranges to applicants and current employees. A handful of municipalities also have such laws on the books, and more are in the queue.

Pay transparency won’t exactly be new in California – California employers already were required to provide the pay range to job applicants after a first interview. But now, any job posting for companies with 15+ employees must include such information. Employers of 100 or more must retain job title and salary history for all employees — by race, ethnicity and gender — during their employment and for three years after.

While California’s law is regarded as the most comprehensive, some of these laws have been in place for at least three years. No federal equivalent exists, but President Biden has proposed pay equity measures for government employees.

The common thread is requiring the availability of salary ranges for a job title in an effort to end inequalities in pay across historically underrepresented groups. For most employers, the rules pose a dizzying array of legal nuances to understand and address, depending on the number of employees and where they are based. But whether your organization is adhering to pay transparency guidelines by mandate or by choice, doing so creates a new level of workplace complexity to manage. These rules introduce another element of uncertainty to an already volatile labor market in which workers have had more employment options and have been quicker to change jobs than at any point in recent memory.

Why it matters for your organization

The premise for these changes is intrinsically good and long overdue: to close the pay gap between genders and among racial and ethnic groups. As these new rules come into practice, they have the potential to impact your company and your employees in a number of ways, including:

  • Employee engagement – In a survey from Indeed.com, 82% of workers say they feel more engaged with – and fulfilled by – their work when they are paid fairly. And 81% of respondents say fair pay makes them more productive and loyal to their employers.
  • Retention and recruitment – Among historically underrepresented groups, who typically are at greater risk of being underpaid relative to their male and white colleagues, pay transparency can help improve an employer’s ability to attract – and keep – top talent.
  • Tensions in the workplace – As employees learn what their colleagues earn and question why they are paid less than their peers, employers who do not adjust salaries may risk worker attrition or disruption in the workplace. This can manifest in the form of quiet quitting, drops in productivity or conflict among workers and managers.
  • Reputation – Few employers would want to be known for not supporting fair pay. Altruism aside, the reputational risks are significant. In addition to potential disruptive employee responses, consumers may protest with their wallets, putting financial performance at risk.
  • Increased competition for talent – Once an employer posts the salary range for a job description, competitors may offer more pay for a comparable position, potentially fueling a bidding war for talent and jeopardizing an organization’s ability to compete with companies in a stronger financial position.
  • Employee activism – Employees are increasingly comfortable taking their grievances public. This could occur in person and/or on social media including TikTok, which introduced the world to the notion of quiet quitting.
  • Litigation – With pay transparency legislation affecting more employers – and with additional states and municipalities lined up to follow suit – employers may face a growing risk for lawsuits and court battles.

What you can do

Even if your organization isn’t currently subject to pay transparency laws, there are steps you can take to prepare.

Establish a cross-functional group to determine your organization’s approach. Include leaders/decision makers from HR, DE&I, Communications, Government Relations and Legal.

Develop a point of view. Collaborate with your cross-functional group to address the following questions to help determine your company’s next steps.

  • What do we know about pay equity in our organization and any existing pay gaps?
  • If we have disparity in employee compensation, how will we respond to level the playing field? Do we have the resources and senior leadership support to address this in an effective and meaningful way?
  • What are we required to do now – and what penalties might we face by not complying?
  • What is our timeline and what actions do we need to take in advance?
  • Will our organization invest to keep ahead of legislation and avoid operating on the defensive when laws do take effect? If so, what investment/resources are needed?
  • What is our total rewards package and how well do our employees understand their benefits, beyond compensation? How can we better communicate other elements?
  • What are our competitors doing? Do we know about pay equity in their organizations? How are they responding? And how are their internal and external stakeholders responding?
  • How does pay equity fit within our mission and values? Will pay transparency laws expose an authenticity gap within our organization and/or with our leadership?
  • Does our organization have a downsizing/reduction in force on the horizon? If yes, which roles will be impacted? And how will these actions be perceived if compensation information is publicly available for these and/or non-impacted roles?
  • How will we address employee engagement and productivity challenges?
  • What can we do to address potential impacts on recruitment and retention? Where will we direct employees who have issues/questions/concerns about pay equity?
  • Do we operate in other locations that will soon be subject to pay transparency legislation?
  • How do we stay informed about what’s happening across the pay transparency landscape, including legislative updates and the impact on our competitors?

Start monitoring the conversation. Create processes to monitor social and traditional media dialogue around pay transparency. Although this legislation is not new in some markets, the dialogue will continue to pick up steam as New York and California laws take effect. Keep an eye on how your organization, your industry, your competitors and others in the geographies (with such laws) in which you operate are showing up. Don’t forget to keep an eye on employer review sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed. Establish reporting and escalation protocols to ensure key stakeholders are informed in a timely and efficient manner.

Bring in the experts. Depending on the complexity of your situation and in-house expertise, you may want to hire or contract with an HR or employment law expert. Many third-party firms have dedicated teams who track and specialize in pay transparency law. This may be particularly helpful if your organization has employees in multiple states with varying laws. In addition to HR and legal experts, consider enlisting DE&I professionals who can bring the right cultural competency to your pay transparency efforts.

Create a high-level communications plan. The timing and level of urgency assigned to this task will depend on the status of state and municipal legislation that would affect your organization. It is best to prepare in advance for any communications issues that could spark workplace controversy.

Plan for a series of clear communications. Start by assessing key stakeholders to ensure you are ready to respond to both internal and external audiences. Make sure messaging aligns across those audiences. And be sure to plan for a variety of scenarios. It’s a good idea to develop key messages or holding statements – to be further customized depending on the situation – that you can use in the most likely scenarios, such as:

  • An employee confronts a leader at an internal meeting about pay inequity.
  • A current or prospective employee calls out your organization or a specific executive via social media over pay disparity within your organization or relative to your competitor set.
  • A reporter reaches out to you about or publishes a story about pay disparity involving your organization.

Prepare leaders and managers for conversations with their teams. Employees will have questions – and their supervisors will need answers. Toolkits with talking points and FAQ as well as dedicated training sessions may be needed to help them get ready for challenging conversations that gaining visibility into their peers’ compensation may prompt. Carefully consider who has compensation conversations with employees and ensure those individuals have the resources they need to guide those discussions.

Provide ongoing updates. Pay transparency legislation will continue to appear in other states and cities across the country. And, as it gains greater ground, it will likely undergo additional changes. As this occurs, continue to discuss these developments, what they mean for your organization and how you will address them.

As the push toward transparency gains momentum across more of the U.S., the requirements for employers will become more complex. Similarly, the approaches employers must take to effectively navigate this shifting landscape – and the potential implications for not doing so successfully – will continue to expand. By getting – and continuing to stay – informed, developing a planful approach and communicating effectively along the way, employers can position themselves to create a more equitable environment and employee experience while maintaining business continuity and minimizing disruption and the potential for reputational risk.


Six Steps to Bridge Generational Gaps in the Workplace

October 25, 2022
By Lucy Childers

I’ve been with FleishmanHillard for a little over a year now and while there are many perks, my co-workers are my favorite part of the job. Naturally, I appreciate the things I have in common with my colleagues. At the same time, I’ve also learned to enjoy what makes us unique – including the lived experiences that come with the variety of generations in the workplace today.

A generational gap is defined as the different thoughts and worldviews held by different generational cohorts. And with five unique generations currently coexisting in a constantly evolving workplace environment, considering the generational gaps among your workforce may be a crucial missing piece of your current internal communications planning strategy.

Generally speaking, each of the generations listed below tends to have a different set of values, motivations, communications preferences and workplace expectations:

  • Traditionalists (born before 1946)
  • Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964)
  • Generation X (born between 1965 and 1976)
  • Generation Y, or Millennials (born between 1977 and 1997)
  • Generation Z (born after 1997)

While generational differences are not always apparent, their effects can be. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, ignoring generational differences in the workplace has been shown to limit collaboration, spark emotional conflict and lead to higher employee turnover and lower team performance.

As employers continue to recover from the pandemic and address its lasting impacts, attempting to bridge generational gaps may be the missing link that better aligns, connects and engages a workforce.

But how do you bridge the gap between employees who seem to differ in so many ways? Consider these six simple approaches.

1. Assess communication preferences. Each generation gravitates toward a unique communication style. While communication preferences will vary from person to person, the list below provides commonly preferred channels and formats by generation. Tailoring your communication style to best fit their preferences can help drive awareness and understanding of business-critical information: 

  • Traditionalists and Baby Boomers generally prefer formal and direct communication, either face-to-face or through phone calls.
  • Generation X generally prefers less formal communication through email or text.
  • Millennials generally lean toward immediate communications through instant messaging platforms.
  • Generation Z generally appreciates visual, face-to-face communications, in person or via video chatting apps.

While these preferences can help guide your communications with each generation, you should always strive to understand your employees on an individual level.  

2. Focus on flexibility and empathy. Flexibility is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must. The pandemic has made it undeniably clear that employees want and need greater autonomy. As employees continue to adapt to new ways of working, ensure you’re cultivating a culture of flexibility and empathy. Some employees may be slower to adapt to flexible work arrangements, new technology and updated processes than others, and you should encourage everyone to be understanding of that.

3. Cultivate trust and belonging. Recognizing and acknowledging the value each generation brings to the table is critical to building trust and belonging within your workforce. Fostering a culture where employees are encouraged and empowered to share their unique perspectives and experiences is effective as both a business and people strategy.

4. Provide mentorship opportunities. Mentorship is a great way to connect employees of different ages and experiences. It provides employees a chance to learn and teach as they continue to grow in their careers. Consider establishing a program that connects senior leaders with junior talent and matches employees based on their work interests. To build trust with, and confidence in, younger generations, consider a reverse mentoring program that allows junior employees and new hires to play the role of mentor.

5. Connect employees beyond work. Create opportunities for employees to connect outside of work and get to know each other. While hosting events like happy hours, coffee chats and team dinners isn’t groundbreaking, employees are craving these activities as the world continues to reopen. These events provide employees the opportunity to build personal relationships that make work fun and help cultures thrive.  

6. Show appreciation. Acknowledging employees who go above and beyond helps to close generational gaps. Be sure to thank those who go out of their way to learn about their colleagues in and out of the workplace, who take extra time to train or onboard those who aren’t adapting as quickly as others, or who come to you with new ideas to better connect the workforce. Let them know you appreciate their effort to create a better, more inclusive and welcoming workplace.

Generational gaps can present challenges in the workplace. However, a generationally diverse workforce also allows employers to enhance employee satisfaction and drive increased collaboration and innovation through employees’ unique perspectives, experiences and ideas.

And by cultivating a workplace culture where all generations are appreciated, trusted and given the opportunity to teach and learn from each other, employers convert generational gaps into bridges.


Three Predictions for the Future of ESG

October 12, 2022
By Judith Rowland

The kids are back in school, pumpkin spice lattes are widely available at coffeeshops across North America and Europeans have returned from their summer holidays. As we settle into the rhythm of this new season, now is the right time for Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) leaders to begin crafting communications strategies for 2023.

Each year, pundits comment that the stakes for ESG “have never been higher.” While this statement is cliché, it holds true. Here are three insights ESG leaders should keep in mind as they initiate planning for the new year.

‘Showing Your Receipts’ Can Help Brands Differentiate Themselves as we Race Collectively Toward Net Zero

It wasn’t long ago that a brand announcing their intention to align with a net zero commitment was a newsworthy event. Now that over a fifth of the world’s largest companies have shared net zero commitments, corporate pledges to tackle the worst outcomes associated with climate change have become table stakes. In the past two years, reporters focused on environmental sustainability have become less interested in pitches about new private sector climate goals.

So, what is driving news? As the private sector rushes toward net zero, pitches that highlight the progress brands are seeing and the creative solutions others can leverage are becoming increasingly resonate. Radically transparent, externally-facing progress reports that provide visibility into ways brands are building unexpected partnerships to address industry-wide issues could be a way to cut through the noise in the new year.

Enhancing ESG Disclosures Now Will Help Brands Prepare for New SEC Requirements

In May 2022, the SEC issued a new proposal for climate-related disclosure rules designed to increase transparency and make it easier for investors to navigate and compare ESG claims. For publicly traded companies in the food and agriculture sector, a significant part of the disclosure requirements will be the mandate that brands over a certain revenue threshold who have set targets around carbon emissions disclose Scope 3 emissions when these emissions are material.

The comment period recently closed and – while details are still being finalized – it seems evident that new standards which will better align the U.S. approach with European markets will be enacted by 2024. Recognizing the intricate value chains endemic to the food and agriculture sector, now is the time for B2B brands to put into place necessary structures to report these emissions to customers and for CPG brands to start the process of requesting emissions data from suppliers and working with their Chief Financial Officers to ensure these reports are externally validated and held to a level of scrutiny required for inclusion in an annual 10-K. Instituting these practices before disclosure requirements are officially handed down could provide points of distinction amongst competitors and even an opportunity for thought leadership. Why wait to share, but also why stop at reporting? Sharing the story behind the numbers can also differentiate companies in a crowded conversation.

Leaning into the Intersections Between Business and Environmental Goals will Help Brands Best Serve Customers

Innova Market Insights’ top trend for 2022 was the concept of Shared Planet. Innova reports that 44% of global consumers indicate sustainability is extremely or very important when it comes to their diet and notes a +121% year-over-year growth of on-pack carbon footprint and reduced emissions communication in food and beverage launches. 

As consumers increasingly cite the health of the planet as one of their top concerns, linking ESG initiatives with business objectives will become vitally important to maintaining or increasing market share. ESG must be viewed as part of both broader business and communications strategies and not as a discrete initiative.

While the ESG landscape has never seen higher stakes, strong business opportunities exist for brands that are willing to think creatively about how they can show up differently as we work together for a more sustainable future. A willingness to prioritize transparency and unexpected partnerships and continued efforts to align ESG with business goals can make all the difference for brands in the food and agriculture industries.


Supporting Employees Through a Personal Crisis

October 11, 2022
By Mollie Dreibrodt

When a personal crisis strikes, even employees with the best work-life boundaries can find themselves struggling to stay afloat amidst the storm they’re experiencing. And at some point in your career, you’ll likely be called to support a team member through these murky waters.

Be it a death in the family, severe illness, miscarriage, medical diagnosis, or other event, when things go awry in an employee’s personal life, how you and your organization respond can make a big difference in that individual’s (as well as observers’) employee experience.

Having supported my husband through a cancer diagnosis, reoccurrence, and corresponding treatment twice in the last three years, I’m all too familiar with this. With the benefit of hindsight, there are a few things I’ve learned that can help organizations in supporting their employees through a personal crisis.

1) Synthesize and share benefits information. While your organization may offer a host of benefits that could support an employee through a difficult time, combing through a benefits site to locate or better understand the offering requires the mental capacity that most won’t have in the middle of a life-altering event or diagnosis.

Managers can simplify this process by connecting with HR representatives to understand what benefits are available and most helpful to the employee’s specific situation. Doing this will help engage the right business partner(s) and make an already daunting process seem less overwhelming to the impacted employee.

As you relay options for leave, emotional well-being or mental health support, fertility benefits, employee advocacy programs, etc., take some of the work off the impacted employee’s shoulders by addressing head-on what they’re eligible for, what is needed to use a relevant benefit, and who is their point-of-contact for each benefit.

Particularly for those who are on short- or long-term leave, ensure that you – and the team member – know what documentation requirements exist and communicate any known deadlines for end of coverage, paperwork submissions, etc. to minimize added stress during the actual leave period.

2) Let the impacted employee dictate how much of their situation is shared. I’ve personally found being transparent with team members about my situation as the best approach to ensuring business continuity despite periods of increased absence from work or need for additional flexibility. However, that should not be the expectation of all employees going through a tough time.

If you’re the employee’s manager and they’ve shed light on what’s happening, ask them explicitly when – if at all – it’s appropriate to share what’s going on with other colleagues and/or clients, and what level of detail they’re comfortable with you sharing.

When in doubt, err on the side of caution and stick to “[NAME] is [OUT OFFICE UNTIL WHEN, WORKING A DIFFERENT SCHEDULE FOR THIS TIME PERIOD, ETC.] due to personal circumstances.” and do not budge if probed for more information without explicit permission.

3) Show your humanity. Whether you know details of a teammate’s circumstances or not, small acts of support and kindness go a long way. We spend so much of our lives with our co-workers. If a teammate’s situation is known, silence can cause them to question the work community that they’re investing so much of their time and effort into.

A few of the most memorable human-centric moments I’ve experienced were:

  • Managers who remembered big appointment dates and sent encouraging texts ahead of those.
  • Teammates who took on extra tasks, calls or assignments without grumbling and often at the drop of a hat when a new “bad news” call or appointment popped up.
  • Teammates who sent “thinking of you” cards, texts and emails – I know your time is valuable, so the thought does count.
  • Teammates who supported our family with contributions to fundraisers, meal trains, gas and travel money, etc.
  • Co-workers who asked how things were going instead of assuming I didn’t want to talk about it.

4) Support a slower or flexible re-entry period. For employees who have been on leave or working a sporadic schedule, don’t expect them to be back to 100% on their first day – or week – back to regularly scheduled programming.

As a manager, ensure their workload is still distributed for the first week (or more) of re-entry. If appropriate and assuming the requests have been handled, assure them they don’t need to address the overwhelming amount of unread emails they probably have in their inbox.

Respect that life has likely drastically changed for your teammate and give them the space to process that transformation however needed.

At the end of the day, empathetic leadership and giving grace can go a long way. Balancing work and life is always hard, but when tragedy strikes, priorities will likely skew toward “life.” At a time when more employees are asking for their whole self to be prioritized by their employer, how you respond and support them through a personal crisis can have a major impact on their morale, engagement and perception of your organization as a whole.


Beyond Hispanic Heritage Month: Four Ways to Expand Your Strategy  

October 6, 2022
By Amelia Gomez and Ana Hernandez Quiros

Each year, when Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) rolls around, it isn’t uncommon to see inquiries come in with the question, “What can we do this year to honor the Hispanic and Latino community?”

It’s a fair question to ask, and one that our U.S. Hispanic counselors happily provide guidance on. We always start with: “What else is the brand doing beyond Hispanic Heritage Month?” or “What is the brand commitment to the U.S. Hispanic and Latino segment and how is the company advocating for or supporting the Hispanic community after Oct. 15?”

HHM is a timely, relevant moment to celebrate, connect with and elevate the voices of Hispanics and Latinos. Many brands have nailed some great campaigns centered around the annual celebration – but it shouldn’t be the only time you’re engaging with this audience.

While recognizing the day is important and, in some ways, can be a launchpad, it shouldn’t stand alone as the only annual initiative. As marketers and communications specialists, we understand the value of authentic, ongoing, consistent investments in the Hispanic segment. So, what can you be doing throughout the year to celebrate U.S. Hispanics and Latinos in a credible and meaningful way?

Four ways to celebrate U.S. Hispanics and Latinos in a meaningful way year round

  • Make HHM Part of a Larger Strategy: Brands are often looking for creative ways to activate during HHM. However, authentic, long-term connections are at the center of success, which is why it’s key to look beyond HHM and implement a U.S. Hispanic/Latino strategy rooted in consistency that aims to create meaningful engagements with the community throughout the year beyond a moment in time.
  • Invest in Research: If launching a campaign, major product or partnership is not in the plan right now, that’s OK. Instead, invest in getting to know your audience. Hispanic consumers are not a monolith, and there is vast diversity within the community – each with their own story, culture and experience. Investing in primary research will more accurately inform exactly which segments within the Hispanic community engage or could potentially connect with your brand. This will allow you to tailor a bespoke message and campaign that resonates and helps create stronger connections with this brand loyal audience.
  • Start from Within: Making sure there’s diverse Hispanic representation top to bottom within your organization is critical. Having appropriate representation from those leading any multicultural work is important to recognize and address the expansive diversity among Hispanic cultures. Input from members of the community is key to ensure inclusive messaging and culturally appropriate tactics are considered.
  • Connect with the Community: Identify partners, community events or organizations that are making strides and stepping up for the Hispanic community. Many of them look to brands to help provide resources, funding and employee support to keep their mission alive and it will offer an opportunity to work closely with those committed to making a difference.

Recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month is a good first step in acknowledging and celebrating the community, to shine a light on the impact of Hispanics in the U.S. and to support and inspire continued progress. However, activating beyond this moment in time should be a mainstay, to not only earn loyalty, but to be a true advocate and champion for Hispanics.


Introducing the Culture Gap – New FleishmanHillard Report Uncovers Generation Divided and Explores How to Bridge Society’s Divisions

October 4, 2022
  • This Global research report, backed by renowned brand expert and Columbia University lecturer Kai D. Wright, points to new cultural dividers in society causing brands need to rebuild and readjust.
  • With global respondents split on brands needing to be bold and brave (52%) versus sensible and conservative (54%), the time for brands to pay attention and act is now. 

ST. LOUIS, October 4, 2022 – Brands are finding themselves paralyzed in a landscape driven apart by culture wars, but new research released today by FleishmanHillard shows businesses must be braver in bridging these issues to stay culturally relevant without losing authenticity to consumers.

The latest study from FleishmanHillard, Authentic Insights: The Culture Gap, Introducing Gen D made in partnership with Columbia University’s Kai D. Wright, puts cultural issues at the heart of the research report to further understand how brands can move out of paralysis on today’s most pertinent topics and find a path forward in closing the current cultural divides in society.

The study unpacks a new generation, Generation Divided (Gen D), at a time when people aren’t just feeling divided within communities; they are feeling a divide within themselves. The context of a polarized world has been well established in recent times, with clear societal divisions increasingly influencing both business and personal lives. The state of divide around us has a clear impact on our internal state of flux and on what’s right and what’s not. Sixty percent of consumers today feel that people are compromising their true self by being too politically correct, and almost half (47%) believe it’s becoming more difficult to get along with people who hold contrasting views. Generation Divided was uncovered by FleishmanHillard’s unique research screening process that moved away from the standard demographic splits based on age and gender. Instead, it examined a range of factors including socioeconomic indicators, gender identity and religious and political beliefs to ensure that all aspects of humanity are reflected within the research.

“In this woke, people power era, action and words are the minimum expectations for ongoing connections to your business and brand,” said Candace Peterson, global head of Brand at FleishmanHillard. “We find many brands in a state of arrested development, unsure of how to move forward amid so much cultural division and so much reputation at stake. The latest study from our Culture Unit at FleishmanHillard explores this tension. It spotlights not just how companies should view culture, but how these cultural divides can be used as a springboard to strengthen their brand reputation and remain, or even become, culturally relevant.”

Key survey findings include:

  • While 67% of respondents wanted brands to be empathetic, 78% felt being authentic was even more important.
  • More than half (55%) think brands should release fewer upgrades/new products over the next year.
  • Although 61% of consumers would choose an employer based on its willingness to take a stand on societal issues, almost as many also agree that employers often fake their interest in DE&I and other societal issues (55%).

“Ultimately, brand and business leaders must prepare to be uncomfortable — ready to shift the practices, processes and policies of producing, releasing and evaluating efficacy of work,” said Columbia University lecturer Kai D. Wright. “No one leader knows the best path for each community, and no business team belongs to every global culture. Continual learning is inherent in leadership to be culturally relevant. Through this report and study, we explore the drivers fueling a growing cultural divide between communities; understand how to anticipate, thrive in and accelerate through the ever-constant of ‘change’; and dive into the role that brands and businesses play in bridging the cultural gap to solve societal issues.”

The Authentic Insights: The Culture Gap, Introducing Gen D reportwas developed by FleishmanHillard’s Culture Unit, a global team of macro culture strategists that enable brands to be brave and take action whilst being thoughtful of the cause they are communicating. The report comes in the wake of the Unit’s industry-first partnerships with the inclusive talent agency Zebedee, and the United Nations’ Unstereotype Alliance. Ongoing partnerships such as these create authentic behavioral change that enable FleishmanHillard to help shape a better world.

The research was conducted by FleishmanHillard TRUE Global Intelligence, the agency’s in-house research practice, together with an accredited third-party vendor, which surveyed 5,000 adults – 18 years old and older – across the U.S., UK, China, Germany and Brazil (1,000 per country). The research survey was designed to move away from standard demographic splits based on age and gender, and instead looked at communities through commonalities on a range of factors, including socioeconomic indicators, gender identity, religious beliefs and political leanings to ensure all conditions of humanity are reflected within the research. The survey consisted of two separate 25-question surveys, which were answered online by respondents September 15-20.

The report is available to read and download at fh.pr/AuthenticInsights2022.

About FleishmanHillard  
FleishmanHillard specializes in public relations, reputation management, public affairs, brand marketing, digital strategy, social engagement and content strategy. FleishmanHillard was named 2021 PRovoke Global Agency of the Year, 2021 ICCO Network of the Year, 2021 Campaign Global PR Agency of the Year, 2022 PRWeek U.S. Agency of the Year and Outstanding Extra-Large Agency of the Year; 2021 PRovoke APAC Consultancy of the Year; 2021 PRWeek UK Large Consultancy of the Year; Human Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality 2018-2021; and to Seramount’s (formerly Working Mother Media) “Top Companies for Executive Women” list 2010-2021. FleishmanHillard is part of Omnicom Public Relations Group and has nearly 80 offices in more than 30 countries, plus affiliates in 45 countries.  

About Omnicom Public Relations Group   
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, language strategy, global health strategy and change management. As the largest group of communications professionals in the world, our employees provide expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the Communications Consultancy Network, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC).    

About Omnicom Group Inc.  
Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations, and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 70 countries. Follow us on Twitter for the latest news.  

About Kai D. Wright

Kai D. Wright is a strategic advisor to C-suite executives, founders, and celebrities. He advises on subjects including brand building, digital, and DEI/culture. He has been recognized as a global leader by Thinkers50, Business Insider, Bloomberg, Black Enterprise, Forbes, and the Advertising Research Foundation. A frequent speaker at major conferences and Fortune 500 companies, Wright is an author and lecturer at Columbia University. Kai graduated with a masters in strategic communication from Columbia University and a bachelors in economics from The University of Chicago. An avid traveler, he lived in Germany during his childhood, and has visited over 20 countries.

Cover of report featuring four individuals, two with bull horns