2018: from #metoo to #trueme

According to new data from Glassdoor, more than 1 in 3 (35%) UK and US  hiring decision makers expect to increase investment in diversity and inclusion efforts.

Since July last year I’ve been privileged to work with a fantastic organisation Creative Equals, which aims to help organisations achieve a diverse and inclusive workplace. I’ve been involved in auditing organisations’ HR policies, conducting and analysing employee surveys and creating a system against which all organisations can be scored.

With Creative Equals we’ve been uncovering a lot of insight on the value and state of inclusion and diversity in some of the largest creative organisations. Findings and recommendations vary for each organisation, but these are some of the common themes:

State of inclusion and diversity

  • Gender, ethnicity and sexuality are still the major focal points for organisations, but we found that diversity is really complex. For example, just 400 employees categorised by gender, ethnicity, sexuality, education and age make up 157 different groups. Moreover, we find that for staff, diversity of opinion, perspectives, backgrounds and experiences often matters more than gender, ethnicity or sexuality.
  • There is a shocking underepresentation of people with disabilities, and pace of work does not allow for neurodiversity.
  • 1 in 5 staff said they have experienced discrimination.
  • Men on average are twice as likely to be in senior/senior management roles than women, and also dominate line management.
  • BME staff are less likely to be recognised through involvement in business-critical projects or entering their work into awards.

Value of inclusion and diversity

  • Employee Engagement is comprised of three inter-linked metrics: 1) the Overall Happiness, 2) employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) and 3) one-year Retention Rate.
  • Feeling included at work and perception that diversity is a priority for the organisation impact all three Employee Engagement metrics  – with the highest contribution to the total engagement score, way ahead of pay and work-life balance.

Examples of  what can help organisations improve

  • Mentorship – organisations with the highest employee engagement levels also tend to have the highest % of mentorship. Those who have a mentor feel more valued and empowered.
  • Flexible working – overwork, alongside with finding it hard to be a parent, perceived insufficient diversity and not feeling valued lead to stress-related leave, costing organisations money. Flexible working can ease the burden of overtime and help people with family responsibilities.
  • Social purpose – employees aged over 35 would like more authenticity and a sense of purpose for their organisations.

Leaving employment to set up my own consultancy The Good Insight and working with Creative Equals empowered me to be completely myself. As an immigrant I had to navigate differences in cultural norms, not knowing where the line between integration and losing oneself was. I was fortunate with all my managers and their managers, who took me as I am, mentored and encouraged me, but invisible barriers were within myself. Whilst I always felt free to express my opinions, at various points I seriously considered elocution lessons, tried to keep quiet about my values, preferences and tastes.

Now I understand that being different is my strength. And I hope that the sense of empowerment created by the #metoo movement in 2017 rolls into 2018, and grows into something bigger – where everyone feels free to be #trueme.

 

 

More reasons to eat chocolate

Even talking about chocolate can make people happy. 46% of tweets about chocolate brands in the UK express positive emotions: happy, excellent, great, #fridayfeeling, lovely, smiley face, etc.

And there are more reasons why people are cheering for chocolate than just enjoyment, elation and excitement triggered by the chemicals phenylethylamine and trytophan found in it. Natural language processing and text link analysis of the tweets let me discover these reasons*.

The three brands which were tweeted about most positively in the last month were Lindt, Mars and artisan British chocolate Seed and Bean.

Lindt was making people happy with its variety of flavours. Always a bonus: 70% dark, Raspberry dark and Sea Salt dark are my favourite!

But like I’ve seen with other categories, brand social purpose is a strong driver of positive feelings towards brands. Even more so for chocolate brands, where choice is abundant and its becoming more difficult to differentiate.

Thus, the reason why people were so happy about Mars was the chocolate maker’s  announcement it is investing $1 billion to fight climate change.

The majority of positive tweets about chocolate brands were dedicated to Seed and Bean. How was it making people happy?

Being ethical tops the list with 61% of all tweets. Rich variety of flavours is second with 25% – I am enjoying Raspberry and Coconut as I’m writing this. Offering vegan options and great taste complete the list with 9% and 5%  respectively.

For Seed and Bean, and Lindt making people happy also means that they are more likely to want to try the chocolate – a link to the healthy bottom line (for the brands’ P&Ls, maybe not so much for chocolate enthusiasts).

Positive emotions about chocolate brands account for 64% contribution to people wanting to try the chocolate.

Being ethical has a 24% direct and indirect link to the desire to try. Variety and having vegan options also make a contribution of 7% and 5% respectively.

Having social purpose and generating positive emotions is paying off for a smaller and relatively less established Seed and Bean, which accounts for 68% of tweets by people wanting to try a chocolate brand.

* The analysis was performed using IBM SPSS Modeler Text Analytics.

What social data can tell us about social purpose

Increasingly brands want to know whether people think about social purpose when shopping, whether it lifts their moods or if they talk to others about it. Sometimes asking people about it in surveys may not yield accurate results: people often don’t register what they are thinking about, and may not realise that social purpose matters to them. Others may virtue signal, and exaggerate the importance of brand social purpose to them. And lastly, social purpose can have a different effect on different groups of people.

Thankfully, whilst still not perfect, actual data of conversations on social media can help understand whether social purpose matters to people engaging with different brands, and what effect it has on them.

I looked at over 14,000 tweets in the last 30 days, mentioning UK supermarkets: Aldi, ASDA, Lidl, Morrisons, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.

Using IBM SPSS Modeler Text Analytics package, I extracted over 5,000 concepts from these tweets and organised them into 100 themes/categories, ranging from food, drink, taste, price, customer service to emotions, employment desirability and social purpose.

When tweeting about Social Purpose in the context of UK supermarkets, people mentioned 15 different types of action, including fundraising for/donating to charities, paying fairly to staff and suppliers, improving communities and lives, helping victims of disaster emergencies, staff volunteering for charities and local communities, protecting the environment, ensuring sustainable food supplies and supporting food banks.

Present in 5% of all tweets, social purpose ranks joint 5th amongst key themes, behind food, other products, and location but on-par with customer service and offers, and ahead of wine (!), problems and online shopping.

1. Food: 11% of all tweets

2. Products: 10%

3. Location: 8%

4. Store: 7%

5. Customer Service: 5%

5. Offers, Promos, Competitions: 5%

5. Social Purpose: 5%

8. Wine, beer other drinks: 4%

9. Problems: 3%

9. Staff: 3%

9. Online Shopping: 3%

10. Plastic Bags: 2%

Text link analysis showed that social purpose was most likely to appear in tweets about Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and M&S. It was also linked to other themes, e.g. staff, produced in the UK, plastic bags, etc.

 

Waitrose punches above its weight when it comes to being mentioned in tweets with a social purpose theme. It was mentioned in 11% of all tweets but 25% of social purpose tweets, giving it an index of 233. Tesco’s was mentioned in a whopping 41% of social purpose tweets, although a third of those were negative, accusing the retailer of pocketing plastic bag charges. M&S is underperforming relative to its overall tweets share, giving it an index below 100.

 

For Waitrose and people tweeting about it social purpose is hugely important, present in 13% of tweets and ranking 3rd only behind food and store environment.

Text link analysis shows that social purpose is interlinked with other themes. Most importantly it shows that social purpose makes people feel and tweet positively about Waitrose. It also makes them want to work for it.

Overall, premium and mid-market food retailers have higher social purpose indexes vs those competing on price. One could argue that this could be explained by their customers’ greater levels of interest in social purpose.

However, most likely this is due to the brands’ own levels of engagement in social purpose activities, how consistently they live this purpose and how they communicate it to the outside world. This would also explain variations within each category: Waitrose vs. M&S, or Tesco vs. Sainsbury’s. And with one-third of regular Waitrose customers also shopping in Lidl (Kantar/TGI), consumer segments are now shared, and there’s nothing stopping brand getting behind social purpose.