Where do CEOs stand when it comes to engaging on social issues? That’s just one of the questions that Clyde Group CEO and founder Alex Slater discusses with Doug Simon on the latest “PR’s Top Pros Talk” video interview.

The bottom line is that CEOs “stand very much like the country,” Slater tells Simon. “They're divided 50-50.”

Slater says that “according to a recent survey, 40 percent of the C Suite thinks diversity and equity is a waste of time and resources in their companies.” He adds that “thirty-four percent of their staffers agree.”

But Slater definitely does not agree. “Calling diversity, equity and inclusion and communication around it a waste of time for a CEO,” he says “shows a lack of business acumen. Multiple studies show that investing in diversity, equity and inclusion actually increases employee engagement, profitability, creativity.”

For those companies that choose to engage with social issues. Slater says that “authenticity, believability and concrete action are the guidelines, with action standing the first.” He warns against what he calls “diversity washing” and says that initiatives around these issues should start “with the fundamentals of being able to create a plan that is real and that you can report on.”

The importance of workplace culture is also addressed in the conversation. Slater says that the Clyde Group’s goal is “to create a really clear, inspirational culture.”

When it comes to how companies should handle the return of employees to the workplace, Slater says that the strict policies set by such companies as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are likely not the way to go. “I think one of the things that struck me in their internal communications around that was the rigidity with which they proposed these rules,” Slater says. He tells Simon that a company needs to “adapt policies and outlook as it goes along.”

Another key point Slater talks about is the importance of “a culture of relentless and obvious feedback. Up, down and across the organization. I try to ask for feedback on a regular basis, at least every couple of days, and that's a lot to enact.”

He also stresses an emphasis on “outcomes” rather than “outputs.” “It is really easy for us in the communications industry to start to get caught up in our production of paper, press release here, Op-ed there, LinkedIn post here,” Slater tells Simon. “It doesn't come together as a strategy and most importantly, achieve an outcome for the client.”

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Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]

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