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diversity & inclusion

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Coming Out at Work: The Barriers and the Benefits
News 5 min read

Coming Out at Work: The Barriers and the Benefits

Coming out at work is still a big deal for many LGBTQIA+ employees today. This article explores why that is so, and how we can change for the better.

The Wrike LGBTQIA+ Community Shares Their Experiences of Being Out at Work
News 5 min read

The Wrike LGBTQIA+ Community Shares Their Experiences of Being Out at Work

In honor of Pride Month and to encourage the inclusion of our LGBTQIA+ community, Wrike employees share their experience of being out in the workplace.

A Spotlight on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
News 5 min read

A Spotlight on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, one Wriker shares his perspective on the importance of celebrating the AAPI community.

Trailblazers: Highlighting Six Notable Black Americans for Black History Month
Collaboration 3 min read

Trailblazers: Highlighting Six Notable Black Americans for Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and one of the important ways we can celebrate and honor Black history is to learn about the incredible contributions Black Americans have made to our lives.  We’re excited to introduce you to six Black Americans who have impacted their industries and, subsequently, all of our lives. From designing video game consoles to serving as the first Black female fighter pilot, these Black leaders have made history that we should all learn more about.  Jerry Lawson Jerry Lawson was the chief hardware engineer at Fairchild Semiconductor’s game division and is credited with designing the electronics behind the Fairchild video game console in 1976. This system was the first to enable players to play against the computer rather than needing another participant to work the game. Madeline Swegle Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle made history by becoming the U.S. Navy's first Black female tactical fighter pilot. She received her Wings of Gold during a ceremony on July 31, 2020. Swegle graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017 and is assigned to the Redhawks of Training Squadron (VT) 21 at Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas. Mark Dean Dr. Mark E. Dean is a computer scientist and engineer who holds three of IBM's original nine PC patents for being the co-creator of the IBM personal computer released in 1981. He also helped IBM create the Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) bus, enabling hardware add-on peripheral accessories like printers, disk drives, and keyboards to be plugged directly into the computer.  Patricia Bath Patricia Bath's path to becoming the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent in the USA was not an easy one. In interviews, she recalled the long hours needed to complete research and test the new technique she invented that used a laser to dissolve cataracts. But appearing on the television show “Good Morning America” in 2018, she also recounted the systemic racism and sexism she dealt with while establishing herself as an ophthalmologist and embarking on her research. Mary Eliza Mahoney Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African American to study and work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States. In 1879, Mahoney was the first African American to graduate from an American school of nursing. Guion Bluford Guion S. Bluford Jr. is an aerospace engineer who was a decorated Air Force fighter pilot in Vietnam before joining NASA in the late 1970s. Colonel Dr. Bluford is the first African American and the second person of African descent to go to space. These and many more Black Americans have hit important historic milestones and made innovative contributions. We are grateful to our colleagues Renee Turunen, Xavier Cosmopolitan, Evangeline Clarke, Jonathan Vaughters, Jeanette Golden, and Steven Martin at our parent company, Citrix, for their help in highlighting these incredible Black innovators. 

What Is Multicultural Marketing and Why Is it Important?
Marketing 10 min read

What Is Multicultural Marketing and Why Is it Important?

When you promote a product to a new audience, it’s obvious that you have to take that audience’s sensibilities into account. But what does that mean when your business appeals to specific demographics, cultures, and subcultures? Cross-cultural marketing requires a thoughtful approach to the context, history, and sensibilities of any given culture or subculture. In some cases, that might mean learning new words. Or you might have to learn a different “marketing language” to resonate with your audience.  To achieve true cultural diversity in marketing, you have to dig deep into the history behind a different culture, learn what makes it tick, and ultimately align your marketing materials with that new language. What is cultural marketing? Cultural marketing is any business endeavor to promote a product or service to a particular demographic. This includes overseas and international cultures but can also refer to minority cultures in your own country.  To resonate with a demographic, the marketing campaign has to consider the tradition, language, religious upbringing, and history of that culture. For example, travel companies target specific cultures to resonate with why their customers travel for the holidays. It requires a global marketing perspective that embraces traditions across the world. Consider when Expedia once shared an employee roundup on their social media platforms. They asked employees how they celebrate the Lunar New Year — a bigger event in cultures with Hindu and Buddhist influences. The campaign looked at traditional Lunar New Year dishes and travel plans centered around February 1st, not the January 1st new year, as is traditional in western countries. Cultural marketing touches on two of the four Ps of marketing: promotion and place. Promotion identifies the cultural touchpoints to align your campaign to the appropriate demographics. After all, you wouldn’t advertise your Christmas trees during a Hanukkah television event. Place means finding where your target demographic spends their time, either offline or online, to prevent wasted advertising dollars. Why is culture in marketing important? Integrating cultural knowledge into your marketing efforts is key because you need to engage people in the appropriate context. Otherwise, your message may not resonate the way you hoped. Think of multicultural marketing as learning to speak a new language. But rather than conjugating verbs, you’re picking up on the social cues and habits that define different demographic influences.  Anyone in international business knows that what may be acceptable in one culture turns into a faux pas in another. For example, when the Australian TV anchor Karl Stefanovic attempted a joke with the Dalai Lama (“the Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop and says, ‘make me one with everything’”), the joke didn’t translate. Said Stefanovich: “He didn’t know what pizza was.” When marketing to your native culture, it’s easy to take cultural assumptions for granted. You have the same baseline experiences, the same influences, and speak the same cultural languages. Effective multicultural marketing strategy requires humbling yourself and your team as you learn to move across boundaries. Great cross-cultural marketing examples 1. 100% Pure New Zealand To drive visits to their native country, Tourism New Zealand had to accomplish two things. First, they had to reach across cultural boundaries to show the appeal of New Zealand to an international audience. Second, they had to incorporate every local culture that helps make New Zealand unique. Their “New Zealand Welcome” campaign accomplished both with a clever fusing of the two goals. They focused their subject on something any culture will resonate with — something as simple as a sunrise.  Then Tourism New Zealand invited people all across the country to submit their own sunrise greetings with the hashtag #goodmorningworldnz. The result? A video highlighting the broad spectrum of cultural diversity within New Zealand — while still emphasizing the unity and beauty of a country with universal appeal. 2. Procter and Gamble: “My Black is Beautiful” Campaign Procter and Gamble’s television campaign “The Talk” included a frank look at the history of racism in the western world. But rather than paint African-American culture with an overly simplistic brush, the commercial showed a diverse range of individuals and circumstances.  It revealed a deeper understanding of the reasons behind their hashtag #TalkAboutBias. The TV spot was clearly the result of a thoughtful approach to the double standards and racial biases in our society. A lesser campaign may have shied away from the frank conversations in the ad. Procter and Gamble did not. 3. Target: “Cada Momento Vale Más” Sometimes multicultural marketing requires speaking another language — but only figuratively. Target’s Cada Momento Vale Más campaign took real demographic numbers into account, realizing there are over 40 million people in the U.S. who speak Spanish at home.  When Target launched its campaign, it included both Spanish and English language ads. Target even changed the music in its campaigns depending on the demographic targets. For English-language ads, the campaign featured hits by Mary J. Blige. For Spanish-language ads, they shifted to the Brazilian artist Anitta. What are the challenges of cross-cultural marketing? Based on these successful cross-cultural marketing examples, it might seem like avoiding multicultural marketing is the only mistake a business can make. Of course you should reach out to other cultures to expand your business’s boundaries and build a more inclusive marketing plan.  But doing so isn’t without its risks, particularly if you go about it in the wrong way. Even well-intentioned campaigns can have unintended consequences, including: “Lost in translation” mistakes Translating from one language to another is not a challenge. But finding an effective cultural translation is another thing entirely. For example, during Coca-Cola’s initial entries into the Chinese market, its marketers looked for Chinese characters to spell out “Coca-Cola” as accurately as possible.  The problem? As written, the characters actually meant “bite the wax tadpole.”  It’s not enough to perform literal translation. Your company has to understand the cultural and historical context behind every campaign. Superficial mistakes To borrow an example from another cola company, Pepsi ran into a cultural blunder with its 2017 Super Bowl ad.  In the ad, the gift of a Pepsi from a prominent celebrity seemed to suggest that deep-mired cultural issues could be rooted out with a nice gesture from a reality star. The commercial featured celebrity Kendall Jenner gifting a Pepsi to a police officer supervising a protest, solving the turmoil in the background.  Rather than striking the right chord, the ad came across as blind to the complex realities behind the Black Lives Matter movement, which inspired many worldwide protests that year. Ignoring cultural context To borrow another example from Procter and Gamble, the company once launched an advertisement that featured a woman taking a bath. The woman’s husband entered the bathroom and gave her a massage. The ad performed well in Europe, where cultural norms generally accepted the scene.  In Japan, however, audiences were confused as to why the husband would violate the wife’s privacy in such a brazen way — the ad was seen as racy, inappropriate, and in poor taste. They’d failed to take different cultural norms into account. How to use Wrike to manage a multicultural marketing campaign The question isn’t whether you should take a thoughtful, complex approach to multicultural marketing when attempting to reach a new demographic. You already know the importance of culture in marketing. The question is how you achieve a thoughtful approach. The first step is to make the marketing campaign as simple to run as possible. For example, if you reach out to different cultural experts across the world, you’ll need a singular dashboard that keeps everyone in communication with each other.  Wrike’s marketing campaign management template makes it easy for a remote worker on the other side of the planet to tag a project manager whenever there’s a potential issue with your approach. The next step is to double-check your cultural research. Use Wrike’s operations management templates and build a custom request form whenever a representative of that culture needs to add their input. You should also build a diverse team of multiple voices to ensure a balanced approach to your marketing campaigns. Add team members to each layer of your project management with a custom workflow that runs every new idea by the people who need to hear it. Finally, consider the PESTLE acronym as you move ahead with a project. This acronym is an ideal way to consider the whole context of your marketing environment. Don’t launch your new campaign until you’ve considered the following: P: Political factors E: Economic factors S: Social and demographic factors T: Technological advancement factors L: Legal and regulatory factors E: Environmental factors It’s not enough to consider just one of these factors and call it a day. Effective project management is about bringing in multiple viewpoints — from experts and team members to stakeholders — and disseminating them into cohesive strategic steps.  There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to multicultural marketing. It requires an adaptable, unique approach for every new project. That’s where effective collaboration comes in.  Try out Wrike today and discover why so many people rely on our collaborative work platform to turn large, complex projects into actionable workflows.

A Definitive Guide to Managing Different Generations in The Workplace
Leadership 10 min read

A Definitive Guide to Managing Different Generations in The Workplace

Having different generations in the workplace is common these days. In most cases, team members of varying ages work together on the same project or task. Others may even manage multiple generations of workers at the same time.  This article aims to help people who work with and manage different generations in the workplace by developing a fair strategy that takes their unique qualities into account. We’ll also explain how to avoid making mistakes and dealing with multi-generational issues that may be new to you so that your entire team can feel comfortable at work.  How generational diversity looks in the workplace The generational gap occurs when people are born at different times. It can affect how people behave and think at work. For example, members of the silent generation are typically portrayed as being very conservative, while baby boomers are likely to have more liberal fiscal tendencies. Although everyone is an individual with a unique personality type regardless of age, you may see common traits associated with each generation play out right in front of you.  There is a lot of common ground between different generations in the workplace. Most of us like to feel valued at work. We also enjoy feeling as if we're making a difference and doing something meaningful for ourselves and others.  And yet, teams with generation gaps can face challenges that relate to their ages while collaborating.  Why? Having different generations in the workplace means that company culture and communication is not one size fits all across the board. Don’t force people to fit in the same work environment. Instead, set up guidelines that will allow everyone to feel comfortable. Another solution is to consider what values and habits each generation has to offer in a team setting.  That’s not to be confused with stereotyping. Putting each generation into a box often encourages counterproductive assumptions. While it's true that working with different age groups can be challenging, it can also teach employees about differences in their abilities and attitudes. Here are the generations you may see in the workplace today and what defines them:  Generation Z Gen Z is focused on core values of being smart, funny, and witty. They may also consider diversity to be an important consideration for hiring, especially at the management level. Gen Zers want to work with like-minded individuals who share similar goals and values. This generation's managers should help them develop and grow by providing them with the right support and resources. Millennials Performance is very important to millennials. They are more concerned with the quality of their work than the number of hours they put in. To ensure that they are being treated fairly, managers should communicate honestly with their employees. The idea of an “always-on” work culture is not acceptable to most.  Generation X Gen Xers are known to be individualistic, having been former latchkey kids. They may also prefer to manage their work and physical and psychological space in a more flexible manner. As a result, they often prefer to work with less supervision and are more comfortable communicating with others through various forms of media such as email and Facebook. Flexibility and a solid work/life balance are non-negotiable for this generation.  Baby boomers Baby boomers are known for their work ethic and goal-oriented processes. They value face-to-face interaction and traditional recruitment methods. Structure, reliability, and flexible work policies are all ideal for this group. Acknowledgment for their skills and hard work will go a long way with this generation, although most employees would likely be grateful for that too. While we’ve mentioned some tips for each already, it's important to listen to the different work styles of multi-generational employees and communicate with them through various channels regardless of their age. Even the smallest details can make a significant impact on their work experience.  Take onboarding for example. While some generations may prefer to receive information via email, others may ask to see printed copies of pamphlets and manuals.  How do you manage a generation gap in the workplace? There are many differences between generations. While many people can agree that working together is beneficial, others believe it can be problematic. Managers must ask themselves: with the rise of multi-generational work environments, how do we work together seamlessly? Regardless of our age or experience, everyone wants respect. In order to succeed, older generations need to respect their younger colleagues and vice versa.  While it may seem like a challenge at first, managing different generations in the workplace has its benefits. Generational diversity can help people develop new ideas and improve their work. It can also make managing other types of diversity and inclusion an action step rather than an idea.  As you begin to develop your strategy, it’s wise to work with the group on issues that affect everyone. For example, creating stress-relieving fundamentals can help businesses retain employees and attract new ones companywide regardless of age.  What are the challenges of working with different generations? Intergenerational conflict has been a growing issue over recent years. Concerns over climate change and political unrest have, in some cases, made conversations between different age groups a bit standoffish at best and downright hostile at worst.  When there are many different generations in the workplace, there is a real risk of conflict and misunderstanding. Make sure you have a clear communication plan with everyone’s preferences laid out ahead of time. You’ll also need a documented and fair system for how you’ll address missteps between team members.  Another one of the challenges of working with different generations is compensation. Different phases of an employee's life may affect their compensation and benefits package. Younger employees may also be focused on training opportunities or flexible work days since their entry-level wages are assumed to be low.  On the flip side, older generations may expect and take pride in handling more complex or senior-level tasks. This is because their compensation packages tend to be higher and would match the workload.  Understanding how compensation levels also affect how different generations think and feel about each other in the workplace will help managers better understand their teams.  How should you handle generational issues in the workplace? If you’re of a younger generation and you are placed in a management position, there’s a chance that you’ll be overseeing older, more experienced (and sometimes more qualified) colleagues. To navigate this, you’ll need to establish trust in yourself and in others. This is especially true for anyone working under you who already has experience in leadership.  If you’re of an older generation and you are placed in a management position, understand that there may be younger employees who have a different way of problem-solving or communicating than you do.  Speaking of communication, how team members communicate is different for different generations. For instance, younger team members tend to use more slang and abbreviations in their messages. Older team members are more likely to use emojis in their communications. These seem innocent at first but can create rifts between members if not acknowledged upfront.  For example, an older team member sending a thumbs-up emoji may seem like a friendly confirmation that they’ve received a message. But to a younger team member, it may come off as condescending or even angry.  Getting everyone on the same page about communication style will go a long way towards resolving and even preventing issues like this.  The same applies to your communication with the rest of the team. Sticking rigidly to your own preferred means and style of communication can alienate others, even as a team leader.  Try to modify your message to suit the needs of whichever generation you’re speaking to in that moment.  But no matter how much you prepare, you may find that you make a mistake here and there. When that happens, simply remember to be understanding and graceful with how you handle the situation.  How to create a strategy for motivating different generations in the workplace 1. Do your research Understanding what makes other generations tick can help avoid division and conflict. There are many different ways to work and each generation has its own needs and wants.  For example, many Generation Xers are known for being devoted to helping older adults and their children. So incentives revolving around health insurance benefits or anything else that directly supports the goals they have for their loved ones is a major plus.  On the other hand, members of Generation Y enjoy being sociable outside of work and believe it is important for their careers. Opportunities for networking are more often than not a success with this group.  2. Consider the viewpoints of each team member Despite best intentions, there are many ways that ageism and cognitive bias toward different generations can show up in the workplace, such as stereotyping co-workers based on how they dress or their social media usage.   If you notice or hear about intergenerational stereotyping among your colleagues, don’t be afraid to start a dialogue about it. Emphasize the idea that, instead of assuming that everyone is the same, employees should try accepting others based on their merits and contribution to shared projects.  3. Strategically place different generations on projects together so that their work complements one another For example, baby boomers can pass on their knowledge and experiences to Generation Y with digital tools and systems that Generation Z sets up for them. Remember that successful multi-generational teams are built on the strength of their individual performers. One way you can manage this step is by using a project management tool such as Wrike. In Wrike, users can signify which employees possess what skills and assign them to projects accordingly. This can also be used to view individual employee workloads across all active projects.  4. Never assume that an employee will have certain skills or abilities just because of their age This assumption most often shows up when technology is involved. Give everyone the opportunity to demonstrate what they are capable of and go from there.  5. Go out of your way to help employees bond with teammates of different generations Monthly mentoring sessions are a great example of this. This will encourage employees to share knowledge and be more open to learning from one another.  By the way, mentoring doesn’t necessarily have to be one older person coaching a younger person. You can throw out conventions and offer mentorships led by the younger generations in the office too.  If mentoring doesn’t apply to your field, try building up a social calendar. Plan team-building activities and happy hours so people can get to know each other. Team members will get the opportunity to appreciate each other more outside of email and Slack.  Finally, find the similarities and preferences the different generations do share and use them to form the basis of your managerial choices. For example, if both your millennial and your Generation X employees prefer one-on-one performance feedback, adding that to your strategy will help.  In conclusion At the end of the day, the key to understanding and respecting other generations is to accept that they are different from you. It’s always important to acknowledge individual strengths, weaknesses, and skills, regardless of how old a team member is. With the right strategy, you can reap the benefits of a multi-generational workforce and build a stronger foundation for long-term success.

COVID-19 and the Gender Gap: What’s Next for Women in the Workplace
Leadership 7 min read

COVID-19 and the Gender Gap: What’s Next for Women in the Workplace

COVID-19 has hugely impacted women in the workplace. Here’s how the pandemic exacerbated the gender gap, and what companies can do about it.

Who Buys the Cake? Tackling Gender Inequality in the Workplace
Leadership 7 min read

Who Buys the Cake? Tackling Gender Inequality in the Workplace

The past 18 months of increased remote work have made us all question what we want from our office culture – from whether a commute is really necessary to whether the "increased productivity" it creates is actually just a facade. After all, as The Washington Post reports, up to 80% of US workers are as productive (if not more productive) when they work from home.     This period has also made us question whether some aspects of ‘office culture’ can actually be quite detrimental to equality in the workplace. One of those aspects is the arbitrary division of certain tasks by gender that often go unrewarded. A recent article by Nieman Labs explained it is not your female colleagues’ job to buy you cake. Let us explain. In your office, who tends to organize the leaving cards, the birthday cakes, or even the Secret Santa? As the Harvard Business Review outlines, unfortunately, these tend to be carried out by women, and are what they call “non-promotable tasks.”  Not only are women more likely to volunteer for these kinds of tasks, but they are also more likely to be asked to do them, and to say yes when asked. As this report details, taking these tasks on (and indeed, saying no to them) tends to have a negative impact on their career prospects, and ultimately, increase gender inequality in the workplace. And as one study published in the American Sociological Review found, although women are more likely to be described as "helpful" or "community-oriented" in their performance evaluations, this was not associated with receiving the highest performance rating (for men or women). The simple solution? These tasks need to be divided at a management level, or as Niemen Labs puts it, “managers buy the cakes.”  So, why can gender roles in the workplace be so detrimental? This expectation at work is especially detrimental when you account for what sociologists refer to as “the second shift” of extra household duties that many working women must complete after work each day.  As a recent article by Vox explains, although women may be more likely to want to work from home than men, they have a harder time doing so. Women (and especially mothers) working from home tend to report higher rates of stress, depression, and hours clocked. “In other words, women need more flexible work arrangements, because women have more to do.” Of course, not eradicating supposed gender roles at work can also have a negative impact on men. One of these destructive gender stereotypes is that men should prioritize work over family. As Thekla Morgenroth, a research fellow in Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Exeter, told the BBC:  “Men who do take parental leave can therefore face backlash and be seen as weak, lacking work commitment and so on, which can result in consequences at work such as being demoted or not taken seriously. Men are, of course, aware of these potential consequences, and this could definitely contribute to them deciding against taking parental leave even if it's offered.” How do we tackle that? Sarah Forbes, a researcher at Birmingham University Business School, suggests visible “fatherhood champions” at companies, both to inspire fathers to take leave and improve their knowledge of leave provisions. Calculating the cost of gender inequality in the workplace Unfortunately, the nature of discrimination tends to be cross-sectional, meaning that Black women don’t just have to contend with gender discrimination at work; they also may experience racial discrimination. For example, The Guardian reports that Black women in the US have to work 19 months to earn what white men earn in one year. In fact, Black women are only paid 63c to every dollar that non-Hispanic white men earn, equating to a potential loss of $946,000 over a lifetime. To combat this, the report iterates performing regular pay audits and creating a plan to address significant pay gaps for employees with similar roles and experience but who may differ only by race or gender. Building equality and inclusivity into workplace language There are other powerful ways we can target gender inequality in the workplace for a better division of what The Financial Times calls ‘office housework.’ One of these is the role of language and how gender-coded language can affect employees.  According to the BBC, as we tend to associate particular language and behaviors with particular genders (‘agentic’ with male and ‘communal’ with female), using this language in job advertisements can put off great candidates from applying for particular roles. John Fiset, of Canada’s Saint Mary’s University, shares an example of the two from actual job posts: Communal: “We’ll support you with the tools and resources you need to reach new milestones as you help our customers reach theirs.” Agentic: “Tell us your story. Don’t go unnoticed. Explain why you’re a winning candidate.” It’s a simple adjustment to make but a powerful one. One so powerful that behavioral designer Kat Matfield created an online tool called Gender Decoder so you can check your job descriptions for subtle gender bias. What each person can do to tackle gender inequality in the workplace Each day, there are simple steps each of us can take to strive for better equality in the workplace. These include (but are not limited to): End imposter syndrome: Have direct conversations with employees about perceived inadequacies and what you can do about them, have empathy and share your own experiences. Take time to understand the biases that women (particularly women of color) may encounter and see what you can do to tackle these. Be an ally for female employees: Share your time generously with female colleagues and be available for impromptu support. Ensure you make an effort to share their wins and to be heard in meetings. Finally, make an effort to ensure office housework is evenly distributed and normalize saying “no” if not. As our workplaces evolve post-pandemic, it’s time to leave antiquated ideas of gender roles behind and promote equal pay, less burnout, and equal time with our children. It is the perfect opportunity to do what we can to tackle gender inequality in the workplace once and for all.