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  • Australia Targets After-Hours Work Emails with Fines, 75% of Employers Do NOT Regularly Check Staff Morale, & Minority Trade Groups Call on Fortune 500 Companies to Stand Firm on DEI

Australia Targets After-Hours Work Emails with Fines, 75% of Employers Do NOT Regularly Check Staff Morale, & Minority Trade Groups Call on Fortune 500 Companies to Stand Firm on DEI

DEI in 5: Biweekly DEI News

Read time: 7 minutes

Australia’s “Right to Disconnect” 🔌

Australia is setting a new precedent in the work-life balance debate with its latest legislation, introducing the "Right to Disconnect" for workers. This groundbreaking bill, having sailed through the Senate and expected to pass easily in the House of Representatives, aims to empower employees to ignore work-related communications outside of business hours without fear of repercussions. With fines in place for companies that penalize employees for not responding during off-work hours, Australia is taking significant steps to ensure its workforce remains among the world's best-rested and most personally fulfilled. This move echoes similar initiatives in European countries, highlighting a growing global acknowledgment of the need for clear boundaries between work and personal life. Do you think such legislation could effectively combat the culture of overwork, and should other countries follow Australia's lead?

Today’s Top 3 DEI News Bites👇🏾

A stylized image of a business workshop in monochrome teal, featuring a diverse group of professionals in discussion. In the foreground, a large red thumbs-up icon with annotations, symbolizing positive feedback or approval, overlaps a whiteboard.

Credit: Getty Images

Summary: MHR's 2024 Employee Experience Report brings to light a concerning lack of regular morale and satisfaction checks within the workforce, with 75% of employers not conducting frequent assessments. Despite the known correlation between employee engagement and enhanced performance, the majority of leaders are not prioritizing this crucial feedback mechanism.

The Details:

  • Inadequate Check-Ins: A mere 25% of businesses conduct regular employee satisfaction surveys.

  • Leadership Recognition: Lisa Murphy of Limelite HR notes that while leaders recognize the link between satisfaction and performance, they often fail to act on it.

  • Employee Voice: Liz Sebag-Montefiore of 10Eighty underscores the importance of surveys in making employees feel heard and valued.

  • Recruitment and Retention: Regular well-being surveys are crucial for attracting and retaining qualified candidates who value such organizational attributes.

  • Anonymity and Truthfulness: 40% of employers do not anonymize surveys, raising concerns over the authenticity of the responses.

  • Analysis Timeframe: The week-long duration it takes for employers to analyze survey results adds to HR's workload.

  • Potential Inefficacy: Sebag-Montefiore warns that surveys without follow-through can be seen as futile by employees.

  • Ongoing Relevance: Jeanette Wheeler, Chief HR Officer at MHR, emphasizes the need for current data to reflect the evolving attitudes and needs of employees.

Why is this relevant: Understanding the morale and satisfaction of employees is not just a matter of routine check-ins but a strategic move that impacts the very core of an organization's health and future. Regular, anonymous, and actionable surveys serve as a vital feedback loop that informs leadership about the state of their workforce, guiding them to make informed decisions that foster a more engaged, innovative, and resilient team. The report's findings are a wake-up call for organizations to prioritize internal communication and feedback processes to stay competitive and supportive in an ever-changing job market.

A candid photo of three professionals engaged in a document review at a modern office table. A young man stands leaning over to point out details to a seated woman and man, who are attentively listening and discussing the content.

Summary: In the face of mounting criticism from conservative entities and individuals like Bill Ackman, a coalition of trade groups representing minority business owners has issued a call to action to Fortune 500 companies. They urge these corporate leaders to stay steadfast in their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) commitments, highlighting the proven business benefits of such initiatives.

The Details:

  • Direct Appeal: Trade groups sent a letter to Fortune 500 CEOs to resist the political and legal pressures exerted by opponents of DEI programs.

  • Signatory Representation: The appeal includes signatures from leaders of the U.S. Black Chambers, the Black Economic Alliance, and other national business groups.

  • The Business Case for DEI: Citing a McKinsey & Company study, the groups presented data showing that diverse companies are more profitable.

  • Supplier Diversity Programs: The letter defends supplier diversity programs, which have recently come under legal scrutiny.

  • Legal Backlash: Numerous lawsuits challenge corporate DEI policies, resulting in some companies modifying or reducing their DEI efforts.

  • Resistance to Anti-DEI Litigation: The trade groups criticize the litigation as an attempt to thwart economic growth and competitiveness.

Why is this relevant: The collective stance of these minority business groups underscores the tension between political ideologies and economic imperatives in the corporate world. As DEI efforts demonstrate tangible benefits for company performance and societal progress, Fortune 500 companies face a crucial decision on whether to align with empirical evidence or yield to ideological pressures. This movement by the trade groups is a potent reminder that the pursuit of a more diverse and inclusive business environment is not only a moral imperative but a strategic advantage that can fuel economic growth and ensure prosperity for all stakeholders in the long run.

Arian Simone (left) and Ayana Parsons (right) of the Fearless Fund at a news conference. They are addressing the media about their commitment to supporting Black women entrepreneurs despite legal challenges to DEI initiatives.

VALERIE MACON / Contributor Life & Style

Summary: Foundations and major donors are not merely passive observers of the current legal challenges to DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives; they are actively engaging and adapting their strategies in response. Notable legal cases, such as the Supreme Court's ruling against affirmative action and the lawsuit against the Fearless Fund, are prompting a mobilization among nonprofits and philanthropic entities.

The Details:

  • Proactive Stance: Nonprofits are either backing the legal cases or offering support to grantees facing lawsuits.

  • Fearless Fund Lawsuit: A key legal battle is the lawsuit against the Fearless Fund's grants for businesses owned by Black women, which has been halted due to discrimination claims.

  • Blum's Initiatives: Edward Blum, known for challenging affirmative action, leads the charge against DEI with backing from various conservative foundations.

  • Philanthropic Defense: The Council on Foundations and the Independent Sector filed an amicus brief defending the Fearless Fund's First Amendment rights.

  • Foundation Support: The MacArthur Foundation continues to support its grantees, like Harvard University, against criticisms of their DEI policies.

  • Chilling Effect: Some funders are altering the language around their programs to avoid controversy.

  • Strategic Adaptation: The Marguerite Casey Foundation and others argue that they can withstand legal exposure to support social justice programs.

  • Legal Defense Funds: Initiatives like the Black Freedom Fund's legal defense for grantees are emerging to protect the progress made in social justice through philanthropy.

Why is this relevant: The intersection of philanthropy and DEI efforts is becoming increasingly crucial as legal challenges threaten the advancements in social justice. The philanthropic sector's response to these challenges can set a precedent for how society navigates the balance between legal constraints and the pursuit of equity. By taking a stand and providing support, philanthropic organizations reinforce their role as independent actors capable of effecting change. This period may define the future of DEI initiatives and determine the resilience of the progress made toward a more equitable society. The actions of these foundations and donors reflect a commitment to maintaining the momentum of social justice movements, illustrating the power and responsibility of philanthropy to uphold the values of diversity and inclusion despite opposition.

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A few other developments…👇🏾

Until later,

This newsletter is co-curated by Nico Escobar. Need virtual coordination? Social media management? Content creation? Reach out to her!

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