In business, as in society, changes in structure require changes in establishment. And since it’s primarily men who still hold the highest echelons of power within the corporate world, it’s up to us to shape the future so that it’s inclusive and diverse.
Merely talking about equality and diversity are not enough – I believe it’s an absolute requirement that men actively begin leveling the playing field that has, since the beginning of time, been tipped in our favor.
I had the great honor of taking part in a panel “Advancing Women in Customer Experience” with Paula Hansen, Chief Revenue Officer at SAP Customer Experience, and Gretchen Nemechek, Senior Vice President of SAP Customer Experience Global Center of Excellence while at SAP Customer Experience LIVE.
The insights and ideas that came forth from that opportunity have only strengthened my resolve that we must move the needle forward on the issue of equality in the workplace.
The future of CX – and business – has feelings
A clear message that resonated across SAP CXLIVE and SAPPHIRE NOW was that the future of business is built on emotional commerce, meaning that in order to compete in the experience economy, businesses must connect with their customers on an emotional and meaningful level.
Gretchen pointed out that in 2019, emotional intelligence is ranked 8th on the list of leadership skills, but it’s ranked 1st on the skills that will be needed by 2030.
Thanks to cognitive bias and societal stereotypes, women have generally been the ones in society who embrace these capabilities, because those roles have been thrust upon them. Girls are taught to be careful and thoughtful, while boys are encouraged to go out and play.
When it comes to applying for jobs, men are likely to apply for positions for which they might only be minimally qualified, while women will only apply for jobs when they are certain they can check the box for each required skill.
These things have been discussed ad nauseam, of course, especially over the last few years, but the reality is that the needle on gender equality in the workplace has not moved since 2015.
And we are doing a great disservice to both society and business if we continue to move forward in this way.
The future is all of us – and women must be at the table
Women tend to be more intuitive. Women tend to be the biggest users of products and have the most purchasing power. Businesses who put women in power tend to perform better than those who do not, yet we leave them out of the boardrooms, management positions, and executive suites where they could drive change.
We are moving into an age where tapping into emotions and reaching diverse audiences is required. We can no longer move forward while ignoring the bias and inequity in our current workforce. It’s not acceptable on a moral level, and it isn’t smart business.
Leadership requires self-assessment and dedication to growth, as well as hearing uncomfortable truths. I encourage all of my peers in leadership positions to reach out and ask for honest feedback about roadblocks their employees might be experiencing, and to dedicate themselves to making equality an imperative.
The future of CX and business has feelings, and those feelings must be reflective of all of us.