80% of executives in Asia Pacific motivated by Me Too movement

24 September 2018 Consultancy.asia 4 min. read

More than eight in ten business executives in the Asia Pacific have been influenced in their inclusive growth strategies by the spreading #metoo movement according to a survey by Deloitte, with the movement having a far greater impact in the region than anywhere else.

In its second survey report on inclusive growth strategies for businesses around the world, Deloitte has taken a deeper dive to determine the motivations for companies in pursuing inclusive growth, finding that some 67 percent of the 350 mostly C-level executives from high-revenue companies surveyed had been influenced by recent news coverage and public sentiment.

When taken globally, the three news stories with the greatest cited impact have been ‘environmental policies’ (47 percent), ‘skills gap/impact of technology on jobs’ (57 percent), and the #metoo movement (67 percent), which has swept the globe since late 2017 following in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations leveled against US movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

News topics which are motivating businesses

Meanwhile, lesser but still important news topics to have influenced execs across the world include ‘the price of/access to education’ (45 percent), the economic plight of small cities (42 percent), and globalisation and immigration (36 and 34 percent). In addition, income inequality, racial tensions, the drug epidemic, tax reform and the LGBT community also figured.

When broken down regionally however, the Deloitte survey found that the #metoo movement had a significantly greater impact on inclusive growth strategies in the Asia Pacific than elsewhere around the globe, with a stunning 84 percent of local respondents stating an influence compared to ~64 percent in North and Latin American and just 54 percent across EMEA.

Top three news topics motivating businesses by region

However, the survey also found that while 81 percent of C-level executives believe that inclusive growth initiatives are more greatly effective when interwoven with a business’s overarching strategy through a top-down commitment, for the most part the programmes were being driven by corporate social responsibility leaders or human resources professionals (70 and 56 percent).

As further noted by the report, the external influences have the further effect of influencing the target of inclusive growth efforts, with nearly a third stating that their aim was to aid their communities of operation, and 30 and 29 percent seeking to help people in their countries or people worldwide. Just 12 percent said they were pursuing strategies for their employees alone. 

Reasons driving inclusive growth initiatives

Despite this lower level of consideration given to employees as the target of initiatives, when asked what the most significant return on investment was to date, the majority of respondents cited improved employee engagement and retention as the greatest factor, as well as the increased attraction of talent. Just 3 and 7 percent stated no social or business investment returns.

Still, very few businesses – just 16 percent overall – were using quantitative metrics to evaluate the benefits of their investments, such as to determine the impact on air quality for carbon reduction initiatives or the number of students graduating an education programme. Businesses in general were more focused on public sentiment and employee and stakeholder feedback.

Return on investment from inclusive growth initiatives

The report suggests that the widespread lack of quantitative evaluation measures being adopted, and with employee satisfaction as the current primary measure for determining success, there may be a disconnect between the “intended targets of inclusive growth initiatives (broader populations) and the initiatives’ actual beneficiaries and performance indicators.”

The authors conclude; “there is an opportunity for businesses to restructure their approach to ensure they measure their efforts in terms of their impact on populations beyond their four walls. Increasingly looking to quantitative and qualitative measurements regarding the impact on people outside of the company, will help solidify the continued business case for inclusive growth.”