5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: September 8

As the saying goes, the news never stops. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories impacting American workplaces and communities.   

1. ADP EMC Index Shows Decline in Employee Motivation and Commitment

ADP’s (No. 15 on the Fair360, formerly DiversityInc 2023 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) new Employee Motivation and Commitment Index (EMC Index) revealed that employee motivation and commitment dropped eight points in August 2023, reaching its lowest point since June 2022. 

The EMC Index is built from data collected through ADP’s monthly Employee Sentiment Survey, which polls “hundreds of thousands” of workers globally. The EMC Index focuses on data from 2,500 employees in the United States. 

The research showed that highly productive workers were over two times more likely than moderately productive workers to have high motivation and commitment levels at their jobs and almost five times more likely than low-productivity workers. 

ADP started the EMC Index to help companies boost productivity among employees. 

2. EY Belonging Barometer: Employees Feel Excluded at Work

EY’s (a Fair360 Hall of Fame company) third iteration of its “Belonging Barometer” revealed that 41% of respondents at organizations around the world say they feel the greatest sense of belonging at work, second to home. However, 75% reported feeling excluded in the workplace. 

While respondents have an overall positive sentiment about belonging, 56% said they “feel that they can’t share, or are reluctant to share, dimensions of their identity while at work for fear of holding them back,” according to the report. The discomfort in sharing aspects of their identity at work is even more pronounced among LGBTQ+ employees, with 77% expressing such feelings. 

Karyn Twaronite, EY Global Vice Chair – Diversity, Equity & Inclusiveness, noted that despite the growing sense of belonging at work, there’s a concerning disconnect with how many global workers across various dimensions experience exclusion and conceal aspects of their identity. This emphasizes the significance of one-on-one check-ins for leaders to enhance engagement, well-being, productivity and employee authenticity. 

3. The PhD Project Announces 2023 Hall of Fame Honorees

The PhD Project recently announced its 2023 Hall of Fame inductees in its September President’s Message newsletter. 

The inductees were: 

  • Dr. Sonya Grier, Professor of Marketing, Kogod School of Business, American University 
  • Dr. Laquita Blockson, Inaugural Dean of the School of Business and Economics and Professor of Management at Moravian University 
  • Dr. Theresa Hammond, Professor of Accounting and Senior Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in the Lam Family College of Business at San Francisco State University 

The PhD Project selects Hall of Fame inductees annually based on their influence, dedication to the organization’s mission and contributions and impact within the network of minority business doctoral students and faculty. 

4. Debate Surrounds the Role of Fairness Statements in Faculty Hiring

The use of representation statements in academia has become a contentious issue. Critics argue that they are thinly veiled attempts to enforce ideological orthodoxy, while supporters see them as a way to promote inclusivity.  

Some universities require job applicants and faculty seeking promotions to write statements asking candidates to describe how they would contribute to campus representation, The New York Times reports 

Critics argue that race-conscious statements assess ideological alignment rather than a genuine commitment to fairness. Some states have even made requiring these statements illegal and lawsuits have been filed challenging their use. 

5. Lawsuit Alleges Gender Pay Gap for Professors at Former All-Women’s College 

A class-action lawsuit alleges that Vassar College, a former all women’s college, has paid its women professors less than men in similar roles for at least two decades.  

The suit cites a 10% pay disparity based on the institution’s salary data. It was filed by Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, The 19th reports. The lawsuit includes five full professors as plaintiffs and is supported by 35 other women faculty.  

A Vassar spokesperson says the college compensates faculty fairly and has worked toward pay equity since 2019. The lawsuit also addresses issues of gender bias in merit ratings and promotion systems.