According to our new poll in @axios, vaccinated Americans are more concerned about contracting a COVID-19 infection than unvaccinated Americans. Read more: https://bit.ly/3zGva4t
According to our survey with the @macfound, 54% of Chicago residents believe their neighborhood has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Read more in @CrainsChicago from our CEO Will Johnson's op-ed. https://bit.ly/3hZ3zp0
Still not sure what TikTok is all about or how to navigate it? Check out our TikTok report to help better understand the nuances of the app and how to connect with its core users. https://bit.ly/2W7y6JD
Vaccinated Americans are more worried about contracting a COVID infection than unvaccinated Americans, according to new Harris polling that was conducted in consultation with the CDC and provided exclusively to Axios.
Why it matters: The science says that the unvaccinated have much more to fear, and are largely driving the current surge of hospitalizations and deaths.
What they found: More than half of respondents said they think breakthrough cases are common, including 68% of unvaccinated respondents.
- Worryingly, 60% of unvaccinated respondents said they think breakthrough cases prove the existing coronavirus vaccines aren't effective, compared to only 26% of all respondents.
By the numbers: Among vaccinated respondents, three-quarters said that if they were to get a breakthrough case, they'd be concerned about spreading the virus.
- Just over half said they'd be concerned about dying — which is extremely unlikely among the vaccinated.
- Only 12% of vaccinated Americans said they're living as they did pre-pandemic. The rest said they are taking at least some precautions to avoid exposure.
The bottom line: Ironically, the people who are most worried are generally the ones with the least to fear.
Read the full story at Axios.
Americans’ vaccination status against Covid-19 is likely to influence how they spend the holidays this year, as a new Harris poll finds that vaccinated Americans are broadly hesitant of spending time with unvaccinated family members and friends—including at holiday gatherings.
The poll, conducted from September 17 to September 19 among 2,055 U.S. adults, including 1,454 vaccinated ones, found 50% of vaccinated respondents are either “extremely” or “considerably” hesitant to spend the holidays with unvaccinated family members or friends.
Only 38% said they were not hesitant about making holiday plans with the unvaccinated, while 12% said it’s a non-issue because all their family and friends have gotten the shot.
A slightly larger share of 52% of vaccinated respondents said they would be very or somewhat uncomfortable about attending a holiday dinner or gathering knowing some attendees are unvaccinated.
A 54% majority of all respondents said vaccination status would be a factor in deciding whether or not they will travel or attend events as part of their holiday plans.
The holiday hesitance reflects a broader discomfort: Majorities of vaccinated respondents said they would be very or somewhat uncomfortable with attending large parties or gatherings (67% uncomfortable), school plays or performances (61%) and weddings or other “milestone events” (61%) knowing some people would be unvaccinated, though only 47% said the same for smaller gatherings.
A further 42% of vaccinated respondents also said they had canceled at least one event or existing travel plan they had with people because they were unvaccinated.
Gatherings and events may not be the only aspect of the holiday season in which vaccination status will be a factor, as 66% of vaccinated respondents said they would also be very or somewhat uncomfortable attending major sale events like Black Friday sales knowing some people haven’t been inoculated.
Although vaccinated people are hesitant to do things with the unvaccinated, the poll found that only 12% said they categorically wouldn’t go to any events or gatherings unless everyone was vaccinated. Most vaccinated people instead said they would take increased precautions when at gatherings or events with those that haven’t gotten the shot, including wearing a mask (64%), keeping physically distanced (59%), using hand sanitizer (54%), getting a booster shot if possible (26%) and getting tested for Covid-19 before and after the event (22%). Only 9% said they wouldn’t take any precautions and would just “hope for the best.”
“Our new data suggests the vaccine divide is not only reshaping relationships, but soon the holiday travel season,” Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema said, noting that vaccinated Americans are “placing stricter boundaries around whom they choose to spend time with. So expect to see cancellations and rerouted plans as vaccinated Americans avoid their unvaccinated friends and family.”
The poll found 50% of all respondents had been asked by family or friends they’ve traveled to see to take precautions like mask-wearing, social distancing and providing proof of vaccination, with which 95% complied, at least to a certain extent. A larger share of 62% of all respondents said they would ask their family or friends to take safety measures of some sort if they were visiting for a gathering or event, though only 30% said they would definitely uninvite people from the event if they refused to do so.
The Harris Poll comes after the pollster previously found that approximately one third of vaccinated Americans had in some way “cut ties or ended relationships” with unvaccinated family members, friends or acquaintances, though 14% will still speak to them but not see them in person. Unvaccinated Americans are facing increased consequences for not getting the shot, as businesses and governments have moved to impose vaccine mandates for workers, require proof of vaccination to enter public places and imposed penalties like charging unvaccinated workers more for health insurance. A number of unvaccinated people have also now lost jobs as a result of the new mandates, including higher-profile people like Broadway star Laura Osnes, who had to bow out of a recent performance that required vaccinations, and multiple sports coaches who have refused the shot.
Read the full story at Forbes.
There's a festering sense that others are getting a better deal when it comes to pandemic help, a MacArthur Foundation and Harris Poll survey finds. Chicago has the seeds of a crisis. Here's how leaders can nip these problems in the bud.
While the pandemic now seems far from over, the questions it has raised around economic equity must be addressed now to set the city up for a brighter post-pandemic future.
The response to the pandemic—and how area residents evaluate it—gives us an opportunity to examine how fairly Chicago distributes resources as well as the city's direction. The Harris Poll and the MacArthur Foundation recently surveyed roughly 1,000 Chicagoans to better understand residents' perceptions of pandemic-related resource allocation and local response.
While neighborhood-level response to the pandemic has largely been seen as successful, a majority of city residents (54%) believe their neighborhood has been negatively impacted. Our polling can be used as a benchmark for decision-makers as the city enters the next stage of recovery.
Pandemic stresses and veins of disquiet could signal problems down the road. More than 1 in 5 Chicago-area residents (21%), for example, sought emergency food supplies during the pandemic, a level of food insecurity which recently led Mayor Lori Lightfoot to appoint the city's first food equity policy lead. Significant numbers of area residents also sought mortgage or utility assistance (15%) and loan forgiveness or payment pauses (15%).
Many Chicago residents cannot shake the sense that their communities are neglected. More than half (52%) said their neighborhoods are overlooked when government agencies, businesses and other groups make local investments. This sense of inferior treatment is reflected by the fact that Chicagoans believe getting financial help during the pandemic—unemployment benefits or mortgage assistance—took more effort here than other U.S. cities.
Another example: Chicago-area residents believe that the cost of living is rising faster in their communities than in others. And while nearly 4 in 5 Chicago-area residents believe city government ought to be responsible for providing resources to communities, only 47% say their neighborhood receives adequate support—and that figure is lower, 42%, among city residents.
A festering sense that others are getting a better deal can corrode a sense of community. If all politics is local, as the aphorism holds, Chicago has the seeds of a crisis.
These problems remain in early stages, however, and our survey also illuminates three solutions local and state leaders can use to nip these problems in the bud.
First, leaders should meet Chicagoans' where they are, understanding how concerns differ. While the issue most residents say impacts their neighborhoods is public safety (28%), those who live in Chicago are much more likely to cite it (50%) than suburbanites (16%). While city dwellers say safety is the top issue affecting their neighborhood (31%), suburbanites say it's the struggling economy (15%). One area where everyone agrees: 83% say high property taxes hurt the local economy.
Second, local leaders should understand and apply the right solutions. Across the entire region, residents want more job opportunities (34%); affordable housing (34%); well-maintained infrastructure (29%); entertainment options such as movie theaters (29%) and restaurants (28%); and public safety (27%) in their neighborhoods. In all cases, these were slightly bigger priorities in the city than in the suburbs.
Third, Chicago's leadership needs to improve its communication on solutions. When we asked about current programs, such as Invest South/West, Chicago Connected and My Chi My Future, fewer than half of residents (43%) had heard of any of them and only 1 in 5 knew what they do. These major social initiatives reach only a fraction of the Chicago area's population, highlighting an opportunity for local leaders to build trust among residents through civic engagement.
The pandemic has given Chicago a unique moment of self-examination. Now we must act on it.
Read the full story at Crain's Chicago Business.
A majority of U.S. workers—83%—believe they should have access to their earned wages at the end of each workday or shift according to a new poll. Their preference runs counter to the traditional two-to-four week pay cycles that have been in place for decades.
A lot of money is at stake. Ernst & Young estimated every day there is approximately $1 trillion in accrued employer payroll accounts in the U.S. and 36 other developed countries.
The study of U.S. workers was conducted online by The Harris Poll for HR and payroll management company Ceridian in August 2021. Ceridian said the poll, “... reveals clear expectations from millennials through to Generation X employees (between the ages of 18-44) to make payday more flexible.’
For this workplace demographic, the poll also found that:
- 80% would prefer to have their pay automatically streamed into their bank accounts as they earn it.
- 78% said free access to on-demand pay would increase their loyalty to an employer; 79% said it would make them feel more valued as an employee.
- 81% would take a job with an employer that provides access to earned wages on-demand at no cost to them over an employer that does not.
“These results reveal that on-demand pay is not only a differentiator but also a requirement for employees,” said Seth Ross, general manager of Ceridian’s Dayforce Wallet and Consumer Services.
“With the incredible pace of innovation affecting every industry, we’re entering a new evolution on how people want to be paid. With streaming pay, employers give workers more control over their financial well-being. That means offering people the peace of mind to cover an unexpected expense or the ability to take advantage of investment opportunities they might not otherwise have,’’ according to Ross.
Helping To Build Trust
HR and workforce expert Dr. Kate Tulenko said, “Companies pay employees daily for a number of reasons. One is in low trust industries where the employees don't necessarily trust the employers to pay them. This is especially true in industries that have a history of wage theft or in which many of the employees are undocumented. You also see daily pay in industries where there is a high level of staff turnover or where employees live paycheck to paycheck and have a history of reliance on high interest rate payday loans.”
Relieving Financial Pressures
According to Ernst & Young, “The main use case for on-demand pay is that of everyday financial pressures, which we have found to be widespread: 70% of individuals in the UK and U.S. experience financial stress regularly. Half of these individuals have faced a financial shortfall between pay periods and encounter this issue approximately every four months.
“The negative impacts for individuals are considerable: nearly 75% of those who have experienced financial difficulties have reported material deterioration in their health and wellbeing.”
A Growing Trend
Tulenko observed that, “The daily pay trend is increasing and there are a number of companies that make it easier for employers to pay employees daily. Daily pay has also become popular in sectors in which companies are competing with each other for staff. For example, the restaurant industry is a perfect storm for daily pay: low pay, high numbers of unbanked workers, high turnover, and high staff vacancy rates.
“You also see daily pay in sectors that are extremely dangerous. For example, in the health sector, workers might be paid daily for working during pandemic, such as Covid during which there are staff shortage[s] and high levels of personal risk,” she said.
Advice For Business Leaders
Impact of Daily Transaction Cost
HR expert Tulenko said “The disadvantages to employees of daily pay is the transaction cost of a daily payment. In some cases, this may cost more than late fees, overdraft fees, or credit card advances.
“There is the concern that with some forms of daily [pay] the fees may end up being higher than the cost of overdraft fees or late fees or payday loans.
Faster Cash Flow
“The disadvantage to companies is cash flow,” according to Tulenko. Rather than delaying “employee payday for two weeks or one month, the cash must be available immediately. This will increase the amount of cash a company needs to keep on hand. If a company pays employees only once a month, it has a longer time to accrue the cash for payment; but if a company pays daily, it needs to have a faster cash flow that makes cash available every day.”
She recommended that, “A business must look into the details and the potential impact that it has before it considers this [option] for their employees. The company can also potentially address this problem [instead] by providing emergency advances for employees... or also giving them training and support in budgeting.”
After the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery in early 2020 and the resulting protests against systemic racism and demands for police and political reform, many corporations pledged to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). According to research from Bloomberg, 87 companies made statements on racial justice after Floyd’s murder. Of these, nearly two-thirds pledged to change their hiring practices and half committed to improving diversity among managers and executives. Now corporate America must deliver on those promises.
Whether you’re just now starting this journey or refreshing an existing DEI strategy, pack a bag, download your favorite podcasts, and don’t forget your toothbrush. It’s going to be a long trip.
Ours began in 1994, when Denny’s settled a lawsuit for discrimination in some of our restaurants. We don’t believe in hiding from this shameful part of our history. It is most productive to discuss it openly and honestly. By sharing the steps we’ve taken to rectify past mistakes and become what we hope is a model organization for DEI we can hopefully help others do the same. We’re not perfect, and we never will be, but every day we work to do better in this area and live up to our as aspiration to be “America’s Diner for today’s America.” We’ve learned a lot over two and a half decades of doing the work, and we want to share those lessons.
Building a Diverse Workforce
To be an impactful DEI practitioner in 2021 and beyond, your workforce must be diverse at all levels. For Denny’s, that means representation everywhere from our board of directors to our franchisees to our restaurant teams.
Multicultural groups are represented by two-thirds of our employees, including half of those at restaurant management level. Our board is 55% people of color and 44% women. We can still improve, of course. For example, our officer team of 20 remains mostly white men, comprised of 15% people of color and moving shortly to 20% people of color. But we are building a more robust and diverse pipeline for future promotions to our most senior levels. Several years ago, we set targets to hire 50% women and 40% people of color at the director level and above and have achieved this mark on average for several years in a row. This effort is complemented by annual pay equity checks to ensure equal compensation regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or any other protected basis.
How did we do it? By tackling biases and expanding our search efforts. For example, there is fascinating research on gendered language in job descriptions. When we started looking at our postings through this lens and tweaking them to be more gender-neutral, we opened doors for candidates who otherwise might not have been motivated to pursue those roles.
We also worked to reduce or eliminate affinity bias, the desire to work with someone who looks, thinks and acts like you do — which is often coded as a “culture fit.” One strategy on this front was to diversify our recruiting teams and hiring managers first. We also shared Francesca Gino’s research and insight on the need for “rebel talent” — those who refuse to conform. We helped those in decision-making roles to understand how diversity of experience, background, and thought help a business to innovate and grow.
We have found huge value in promoting people from underrepresented groups from within. For outside hires, we expanded our views on the talent pool. Too often we see companies claiming that there are simply not enough qualified candidates of color. This is unequivocally false. For example, Kauffman Fellows put out a great piece of research highlighting the discrepancy between working-age Black and Latinx populations and their representation in startups. At Denny’s, we’ve found that there is tremendous value in forming relationships with higher education institutions and organizations, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), junior colleges, and trade schools.
Creating an Inclusive Business Ecosystem
It’s also important to have a diverse supply chain. Today’s consumers hold companies accountable not just for who they hire but with whom they do business. And partnering with companies owned by multicultural groups, including people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, women and/or members of the LGBTQ community, leads to the same kind of innovation, growth, and outperformance you see from a diverse employee base. In fact, some of our most popular menu items are a direct result of our diverse suppliers introducing us to new products and flavors. These include our classic pancake syrup, our breaded boneless wings, and our Honey Buttermilk Chicken Tender Sandwich. The business case is clear: Hackett Group’s 2017 study showed that companies that don’t have diverse suppliers are more likely to suffer revenue losses.
With an inclusive supply chain, you also create a direct investment pipeline to the communities your DEI strategy is designed to benefit. Your business partners can expand and hire additional staff themselves, creating a virtuous cycle. Denny’s has invested more than $2 billion in underrepresented suppliers since we started our program in 1993 and we routinely hire local, minority-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs as consultants.
Partnering with Others
For every lesson you learn in DEI, there are two you still need to pick up. So, no matter how well you’re doing, you must also acknowledge the gaps. While we strive to be a leader on these issues in the corporate world, we have forged partnerships with organizations focused on racial justice as well as individual civil rights leaders.
When we first partnered with the late Coretta Scott King, we helped raise money for the Reignite the Dream Fund and contributed to the expansion of the National Civil Rights Museum. But she also helped shape the corporate values that Denny’s holds to this day, including our “Non-Negotiable Rules to Live By” which inform our training, customer service, and workplace culture. And she introduced us to partners such as the late NAACP Chairman Julian Bond and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and National Urban League President Hugh Price, among others, to help us identify new franchisees, new suppliers, and best practices on enhancing our workplace culture. We recognize the need to be constant learners if we are to make continued progress. These conversations help shape strategy and turn words into action.
Companies must also use their platforms to help others. Philanthropic efforts improve employee morale, boost recruiting and retention efforts, and communicate to consumers that your organization is interested in leaving society in a better place than you found it. When donating, you should think and act with strategic intention, choosing causes that match your brand purpose and serve diverse communities. Our purpose at Denny’s is feeding people, which includes nourishing bodies, minds, and souls and extends beyond our customers. That is why we work with No Kid Hungry to raise money to help end childhood hunger in America and St. Jude to help find cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases and why we created the Denny’s Hungry for Education™ program to provide academic scholarships through our diverse national partner organizations including HACU, USPAACC, Tom Joyner Foundation, NGLCC, and Partners for Youth with Disabilities.
An Ongoing Journey
DEI is a long trip because the goal is always improvement and forward progress, not to find a comfortable stopping point. Leaders in this space need to be comfortable consistently critiquing themselves and looking for holes in their strategy or its implementation. Just recently, we analyzed our own program and laid out a plan for the next five years to make progress in all the areas we’ve outlined above.
To ensure accountability, we have set specific goals and 10 DEI Council Members along with 10 senior leaders are responsible for delivering against them. They are tasked with reinforcing buy-in from leadership, including the board of directors, building safe and collaborative spaces for employees to have tough conversations, and measuring our success.
Each of the six Business Resource Groups we offer — employee-led, self-directed volunteer groups intended to promote DEI within Denny’s — is chaired by a senior executive or vice president who is either a part of, or has direct access to, our C-suite and board. Without that element, we risk employees feeling like they are shouting into the void — venting rather than using their voices to constructively create change.
We strive to judge progress through data, not anecdotes. Establishing transparent key performance indicators and creating measurable goals like diversity benchmarking and supplier diversity targets creates motivation and accountability at both an individual and organizational level.
The Time to Act is Now
Last year was a wake-up call for the United States, the force of which was felt across the business community. According to the Axios Harris Poll 100, which looks at drivers of corporate reputation, 81% of Americans agree that large companies, with resources, expensive infrastructure, and advanced logistics, are even more vital now to America’s future than before the pandemic. 2021 is no less pivotal a year — especially for diversity, equity and inclusion. Employees, customers, partners, and investors expect organizations to make more and faster progress. It’s time to figure out how your organization can play a bigger role in creating a more equal and just society.
Read the full story at Harvard Business Review.