Advertising Age reported on an Advertising Week panel held at The Female Quotient’s Equality Lounge. Based on the event photograph depicted above, the organization—despite the images on its corporate website—has a limited definition of equality, and maybe an exclusive view of female too (i.e., White women rule).
Advertising Week Insights: Creating A More Joyful Workplace
By Laura Mitchell
At the recent Advertising Week New York, The Female Quotient’s Equality Lounge convened thought leaders to discuss timely topics and share inspiring stories. Female Quotient founder and CEO Shelley Zalis moderated panels that supplied smart solutions for keeping employees engaged with their work and provided a blueprint for recovering from burnout and reinvigorating employees’ professional purpose.
One panel explored the topic of “quiet quitting,” that is, doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary.
“I credit our fascination with quiet quitting to alliteration—it rolls off the tongue,” said Emily Goligoski, head of research and SVP at Charter. “But the meaning is wide ranging. If you’re doing the minimum at your job, you might argue that it’s lazy, but on the other hand that it’s actually healthy to have boundaries around your work.”
Goligoski said she feels that employers aren’t doing enough to proactively keep people interested in their roles. “Charter surveyed 500 business leaders across the country, and I was really shocked to find only half of these organizations conducted employee engagement surveys,” she said.
Ashley Reichheld, principal, customer and marketing leader at Deloitte, believes that employers are part of the problem.
“Less than half of employees don’t trust their employers, and that has serious implications,” she said. She noted that many employers are busy measuring productivity with mouse clicks and other methods to make sure people are doing what they’re supposed to do in a hybrid environment. But she added, “Ultimately that also erodes trust. Micromanagement is not going to help your people thrive.”
By contrast, she said that 80% of people who do trust their employers are motivated to work.
On reimagining an employee-centered workplace
Zalis asked, “How do we re-envision the work place?” Jamie O'Banion, founder and CEO of BeautyBio, said, “We’re so focused on productivity we forget the human side. I try to be deliberate in listening and making people feel seen.”
For her part, Goligoski shared a method used at Chart for new employees, asking them to create a user’s guide. This can include things that drive them crazy or the times of day when they have the most energy. “It’s about intentionality and not expecting that a work culture just develops,” he said.
Jennie Blumenthal, founder and CEO of Corporate Rehab, noted that she saw a need to detox from the hustle culture.
“For 10 years, I’d had a little voice inside me saying, ‘I don’t know that I’m really supposed to be doing this but I’m getting all this success from it.’” she said. “The pandemic made me stop and listen to the voice.”
As a result, she launched a company to train executive women about how to get to the next level in their careers without losing themselves in the process. In her new book, “Corporate Rehab: Ditch the Hustle Culture and Thrive Again,” she supplies actionable steps and inspiring stories of “300 other women who left the workplace when they just couldn’t take it anymore.”
One of these women, Jaime Ellis, executive coach at JE Coaches, told the Equality Lounge about her own burnout: “I started having these fantasies of getting fired and realized it was my mind signaling to me that it was over.” She’s now writing a book about what she calls “achievement dysmorphia” in women. “Our brains tend to misconstrue our successes,” Ellis said. “We need to look back frequently at our accomplishments to remind ourselves how far we’ve come.”
On discovering your purpose and rewriting the rules
Pavi Siva Dinamani, cofounder and CEO at MisFit Communications, had her “snap” moment as the only female chemical engineer at her company. Today she heads a company that provides visibility to women.
“We produce video bios of women entrepreneurs that showcase their superpowers,” she said. “It’s important to create a strong personal brand—you never know who’s watching your content.”
The fact that women spend an extra 20 hours a week in caregiving at home contributes to burnout. Zalis and Blumenthal are joining forces to help leaders of Fortune 500 companies rewrite the rules, so that, for example, men are encouraged to leave work to take time off to help with their children and relieve the responsibilities typically carried by their partners.
“A new generation of dads wants to be there for their kids,” Blumenthal said.
Working through the pandemic provided a new perspective on professional lives and an opportunity to re-evaluate what we want and need from our careers. The conversations at Advertising Week’s Equality Lounge sessions yielded actionable strategies to address these challenges, and give us reasons for optimism.