Editor's note: Welcome to Resource Actions, our occasional, back-and-forth column covering everything from the bizarre to the day-to-day that, despite everything, impacts HR departments. Please feel free to send all tips, thoughts and wage gap rants to [email protected] and [email protected].
Kathryn Moody: I'm about to fly out to my Indiana home, but before I go, let's talk about Audi's pay gap Super Bowl commercial that everyone was talking about.
The pay gap is something HR Dive covers fairly extensively, especially as private companies and government regulators seek ways to solve the problem. But Audi's commercial reminded me that employers are more willing to use activism as a marketing tool — and then forget to look at their own organizations.
Because people did some digging, and it turns out the company's global management board is all men. Whoops!
Here's the problem with taking a laudable position that most agree with (Women and men should be paid equally) because not agreeing could put a company in an indefensible position: The issue is complex and involves more than just compensation by the numbers.
Paid parental leave, allowing for work/life integration so that women don't drop out of the workforce and generally making sure women are actually promoted are all key aspects to this. It's more than just pay, Audi.
Ryan Golden: Granted, this isn't the first time a company was called out for being hypocritical about a social issue in an ad campaign. But the dissonance between Audi's message and its structure is particularly frustrating for HR pros, who follow the conversation around this issue very closely.
I'm glad Kathryn brought up the point about promotions. Research shows young women miss out on early promotions, particularly at the managerial level, which can charter them off the leadership course. The end result is that few women occupy C-Suite roles, especially at top companies.
Kathryn Moody: The Audi ad is only one example of what I'm seeing as a larger trend, especially by companies like Starbucks and Facebook, which are making themselves known as "activist" employers. If a company wants to make a point by, say, hiring 10,000 refugees, it should be mindful of missteps and ready for a quick response.
Starbucks, for the record, has handled that pretty well. Backlash over the refugee hiring program pressed the company on why they would hire "refugees over veterans." Starbucks' answer: We are already hiring veterans, actually.
Authenticity, folks. That's what it comes down to. A successful recruitment marketing plan should be based on what a company perpetuates, not what it says on a popular sports Sunday.
Ryan Golden: That authenticity needs to extend into the workplace, too. Last week, we looked at what it takes to recruit female leaders. As it turns out, one of the key components of success in that regard is visibility. Can your company highlight any examples of women leaders who have worked their way through the ranks? Did they take ownership of successful projects?
That type of emulation can help solve a lack of diverse leadership, no matter the industry. Having the right benefits packages wouldn't hurt either.