A significant gap exists between the way leaders and employees view progress toward equality in their organizations, according to new research from Accenture. The report, “Getting to Equal 2020: The Hidden Value of Culture Makers,” which includes research across 28 countries, including Canada, found that organizations are at an inflection point: Today’s workforce cares increasingly about workplace culture and believes it is critical to helping them thrive in the workplace (reported by 79% of women and 65% of men), and a majority of leaders (63%) believe an inclusive workplace culture is vital to the success of their business.  

At the same time, there is a perception gap: nearly three quarters of leaders (70%) feel they create empowering environments where people have a sense of belonging, yet only two-fifths (40%) of employees agree. Additionally, the proportion of employees who do not feel included in their organizations is 9x higher than leaders believe (18% vs 2%, respectively).

Most leaders also rank diversity and workplace culture low on their list of top organizational priorities. The majority of leaders ranked financial performance followed by brand recognition and quality at the top of their list of priorities (83% and 70%, respectively), while only 35% ranked diversity and 18% ranked culture at the top.