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COQUAL RELEASES NEW FINDINGS FROM ITS BLACK EQUITY INDEX, A TOOL FOR COMPANIES TO MEASURE & ADVANCE RACIAL EQUITY IN THE WORKPLACE

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NEW YORK /PRNewswire/ — Coqual, a leading global think tank, today released a new white paper with the results of its second annual Black Equity Index (BEI), a benchmarking tool created for companies to drive measurable change, track true progress, and demonstrate their commitment to racial equity in the workplace.


New Black Equity Index logo

Coqual finds most (86%) companies that participated in the BEI are concerned about the outcome of the US Supreme Court Affirmative Action case, and its implications for workplaces. Compared with last year, companies’ involvement in the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion conversation is diminishing from the public eye—with its risk of public and legal scrutiny—and some are shrinking their investment in DE&I teams.

“Despite the recent attacks on DE&I initiatives nationwide, companies have maintained ongoing efforts to improve equity in the workplace,” said Coqual CEO Lanaya Irvin. “Participating companies are committed to driving racial equity, transparency, and are dedicated to making meaningful strides in the workplace.” 

Established in 2022, the BEI harnesses the power of data to create opportunity for Black professionals and measures an organization’s efforts in six domains: accountability, advancement, representation, investment, sustainability, and public engagement. Informed by Coqual’s decades of research and DE&I expertise, the white paper presents actions within each domain that companies can take in the complex pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

More than 40 companies participated in Coqual’s second annual BEI survey, representing a diverse group of the corporate sector — both small and large public and private companies from industries such as healthcare, tech, banking, and retail. The number of participating companies nearly doubled from the BEI’s inaugural year, indicating that corporate America is working hard to improve their DE&I efforts.

BEI KEY DATA & FINDINGS: 

Representation: Building Black representation at every level of an organization is critical to moving DE&I efforts forward. Representation continues to lag and ranks as one of two BEI domains most in need of improvement.

  • Fewer than 2 in 5 BEI participating companies have 10% or greater Black representation in their workforce.
  • Only 7% of people managers—and only 3% of executives—are Black.
  • Black professionals are more likely to be represented in HR and support functions. On average, 13% of support professionals and 12% of HR employees are Black.
  • Half of BEI participating companies have surpassed 10% Black representation at the Board of Directors’ level. Yet one in eight companies (13%) still do not have a single Black board member.

Accountability: Companies must hold their leaders accountable for the state of DE&I as they do for other business priorities. Transparency is transformative—and Coqual finds opportunities within the accountability domain for companies to be more vocal about the great equity work they are already undertaking.

  • Nearly 7 in 10 (67%) participating companies include a DE&I-related focus in C-suite performance evaluations.
  • Fewer companies (58%) hold leaders to this level of accountability by considering workforce diversity in performance evaluations.
  • Even fewer still (44%) tie C-suite pay to progress on diversity metrics.

Investment: Companies must back their commitments with tangible resources. Deepening and sustaining investment in DE&I is integral to rooting out inequity and ensuring that inclusion is a top priority throughout the organization.

  • Nearly all respondents (81%) have an organization-wide DE&I task force, council, or working group that is separate from their DE&I team.
  • Of companies that provide anti-bias training, 5 out of 10 companies (55%) make it mandatory for senior leaders.

The full findings for the report can be found here.

Coqual’s 2023 BEI results indicate great progress, as well as great opportunity for increased investment. This is not the time to slow down. Coqual suggests the following data-based actions for leaders to use moving forward. As always, Coqual’s corporate guidance is backed by decades of intersectional, deep-dive research and advisory work and thought leadership on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Recommendations include:

  • Study and champion sponsorship. Get clear on the critical distinctions between mentorship and sponsorship, and work towards building a culture of sponsorship. Sponsorship programs should be monitored for effectiveness and refined accordingly.
  • Recruit from the top down. Pay attention to your board, your executives, your people managers, and other key positions of power within your organization. If Black professionals are concentrated at entry level, and siloed in certain positions, the work is not done.
  • Disaggregate, always. While overall representation numbers may seem positive, Black professionals may be overconcentrated in certain roles and lack access to others, as our BEI results show. Companies should aspire to reflect the regions in which they operate, and in certain parts of the country, Black representation far exceeds 14%.
  • Get high-tech. BEI companies share that they are tapping into technology to help make their recruitment and hiring processes more equitable. Leverage the growing body of technology built to help the mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion—but of course, vet it critically and thoroughly.
  • Connect with Black youth. In addition to college recruitment, invest in and improve representation long-term by partnering with schools, and grassroots and nonprofit programs that serve Black youth.

Companies can sign on to learn more and participate by emailing BEI@coqual.org 

Methodology: The 2023 Black Equity Index is an annual survey that captures information on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts focused on Black professionals. This computer-assisted survey was fielded online between February and May of 2023. A total of 43 companies submitted completed forms. All information was provided by representatives from respective companies and relied on voluntary, self-report data. Activities associated with instrumentation, fielding, and analysis were conducted by Coqual, an independent, nonprofit research organization. Additionally, each company that submitted a completed interview received an individual company scorecard documenting their standing across each of the six BEI domains. Weighted calculations of domain totals were applied for a maximum index score of 180. Response items that were left blank were treated as missing or non-applicable. The findings presented here are descriptive in nature and do not attempt to make any inferences about the programming impact of participating companies, or their related outcomes.

About Coqual: Coqual (formerly Center for Talent Innovation) is a leading global, nonprofit think tank dedicated to helping leaders design diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces where every person belongs. Founded in 2004, Coqual provides in-depth research, thought leadership, and data-driven, actionable solutions for companies to address bias and barriers to inclusion for underrepresented populations in the workplace. Coqual’s cutting-edge research and Advisory Services focus on gender, race, ethnicity, disability, veteran status and LGBTQ identities, and others—as well as the intersections among these groups. For more information, visit www.coqual.org.

SOURCE Coqual

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PickleRage Serves Up Franchise Opportunities for Entrepreneurs Looking to Get in On the Pickleball Craze

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla., Feb. 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — PickleRage, a premier indoor pickleball club, is thrilled to announce it is now offering franchise opportunities. Pickleball’s unprecedented popularity is the driving force behind the club’s expansion, offering entrepreneurs the chance to grow a business around the #1 fastest-growing sport in America.

PickleRage, A Premier Indoor Pickleball Club, is Now Offering Franchise Opportunities Nationwide.

PickleRage stands out as a unique franchise opportunity, backed by a seasoned leadership team of commercial real estate, operations, marketing, and franchising professionals. This group of experts has removed the guesswork associated with finding exceptional, transformable commercial spaces, with the goal of ensuring that franchisees can deliver the ultimate pickleball experience to players of all ages.

“Our leadership team brings a wealth of experience in real estate, operations, marketing, legal, and more to the table—or should we say, to the court?” commented Brad Smith, VP of Franchising at PickleRage. “We’re excited to invite qualified franchisees to join us in growing the PickleRage brand and capitalizing on the tremendous market potential of indoor pickleball.”

The PickeRage family entertainment franchise model includes real estate support, launch support, operational support, technology, comprehensive operating manuals, and marketing support to ensure franchisees have the tools they need to be successful in the growing pickleball market.

The franchise offers a range of investment options, from single-unit opportunities to multi-location ventures. Entrepreneurs can even explore the possibility of converting existing tennis clubs or other athletic facilities into thriving PickleRage establishments.

“We are actively accepting applications from investors, experienced franchise and business owners, and other qualified investor-entrepreneurs who are passionate about fostering active, healthy communities,” said Smith.

As a franchise owner, individuals will have direct access to PickleRage’s team of experts, each boasting decades of industry experience. New franchisees will also receive comprehensive training, cutting-edge software, detailed manuals, and ongoing support from launch to profit maximization. If you are interested in a franchise opportunity, please visit: www.pickleragefranchise.com

PickleRage is one of America’s fastest growing indoor pickleball clubs that gives novice & advanced players alike a place to play and connect. With world-class social, tournament, and instructional programing, you can see why pickleball players across the US are calling PickleRage clubs “Pickle-rageous!”  And with more than 500 locations planned over the next 5 years, PickleRage is set to take the pickleball-world by storm. For more information, visit: www.picklerage.com.

SOURCE PickleRage

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DREW BREES JOINS THE PICKLR AS AMBASSADOR AND FRANCHISE INVESTOR

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KAYSVILLE, Utah, Jan. 31, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The Picklr, North America’s fastest-growing indoor pickleball facility, announces that 20-year NFL veteran and famed New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has joined The Picklr as an ambassador, investor, and franchise owner. The 2009 Super Bowl Champion combines his passion for pickleball and community development by adding The Picklr to his portfolio of businesses, which already includes ownership in various multi-unit franchises.


As a national brand ambassador, Drew Brees will work closely with The Picklr to promote the brand and its mission to provide state-of-the-art sports facilities for athletes of all ages and skill levels. In addition, Drew will also become an owner of several facilities and act as the Area Developer of thirty Picklr franchises throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. An inductee of Purdue’s Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, Brees will open his first flagship Picklr location in Indianapolis in 2024.

“My mission in business and franchising is to work with top-tier organizations and people to create a best-in-class culture and provide exceptional experiences. I saw that immediately with The Picklr,” said Drew Brees. “We have created a community and environment where everyone can build relationships, compete, develop skills, and have fun while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle through one of the most popular sports in the world. Pickleball is for everyone, and there is no better place to be than The Picklr.”

“Everyone recognizes Drew’s prowess on the football field, but many may not realize that he has built franchising expertise for over a decade,” said Scott Schubiger, Chief Growth Officer of The Picklr. “Getting to know Drew over the last few months has made it abundantly clear that our collective passion and vision for the sport of pickleball are perfectly aligned. We are truly honored and could think of no better person than Drew Brees to join The Picklr family as an investor, brand ambassador, and 30-unit, multi-state franchisee.”

LINK FOR MEDIA ASSETS HERE

ABOUT THE PICKLR:
At The Picklr, pickleball is more than just a sport; it’s a lifestyle that fosters community, competition, and fun. With nearly 175 state-of-the-art clubs, professional coaching, and a vibrant atmosphere, The Picklr offers an unparalleled pickleball experience for players of all skill levels. All locations offer professional-grade outdoor surfacing, best-in-class technology, and access to free leagues, tournaments, and clinics. Follow The Picklr on Instagram, X, LinkedIn, Facebook, and TikTok for news on locations and tournaments, or visit https://thepicklr.com/franchise/to learn more about owning a franchise.

SOURCE The Picklr

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CHIPOTLE INTRODUCES NEW BENEFITS TO HELP ATTRACT AND SUPPORT ITS GROWING GEN Z WORKFORCE

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  • The company’s new benefits prioritize financial and mental health
  • For the first time, Chipotle is offering a Student Loan Retirement Match program and access to a special high-tech Visa card that can build credit for all employees
  • Chipotle is looking to hire 19,000 additional employees for its upcoming “burrito season,” the company’s busiest time of year running from March to May

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Jan. 24, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) announced today that it will be providing additional financial wellness and mental well-being support for more than 110,000 employees through a new Employee Assistance Program and enhanced benefits. The company will hire additional employees over the next couple of months to prepare for its busiest period of the year from March to May, which has been famously coined “burrito season.”

Chipotle’s new benefits will enable eligible employees to:

Chipotle will provide additional financial wellness and mental well-being support for more than 110,000 employees through a new Employee Assistance Program and enhanced benefits.

  • Pay off student debt while saving for retirement: Utilizing SoFi’s Student Loan Verification (SLV) service, once an employee becomes eligible for Chipotle’s 401(k) plan match, the company will match up to 4% of an employee’s salary through contributions to their 401(k) if they make eligible student loan payments. The benefit solution, launched in response to Congress’ approval of the Securing a Strong Retirement Act (SECURE 2.0), allows employees who qualify to no longer have to choose between paying off student debt or saving for retirement – they can do both.
  • Build credit through high-tech banking: Chipotle employees will have access to a premium banking experience from Cred.ai featuring a high-tech Visa card that offers security features, faster access to paychecks, and Cred.ai’s “Credit Optimizer,” which helps build and boost credit scores automatically, even for employees who already have good credit.
  • Manage their financial wellness: Chipotle’s partnership with SoFi will also give employees access to the SoFi at Work Dashboard, a leading financial well-being education platform, which includes an assessment of current financial outlook, followed by suggestions and tools to improve.
  • Access mental health resources: Chipotle’s New Employee Assistance Program (EAP), SupportLinc, powered by CuraLinc Healthcare, focuses on mental and emotional well-being. It includes six free sessions with a licensed counselor or mental health coach, as well as access to tools, resources, and community support for legal, financial, and family matters.

More than 73% of Chipotle’s restaurant employees are Gen Z, and these new benefits cater to the challenges they are facing. It has been widely cited that those born in the late 90s through the early 2000s are experiencing notable financial challenges, including racking up credit card debt faster than previous generations* and being nearly twice as likely as the general population to not feel confident managing their money**.

“Empowering our talent is embedded in our company’s culture,” said Ilene Eskenazi, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chipotle. “As we push toward our long-term goal of operating 7,000 restaurants in North America, it’s crucial that we listen to and adapt to the needs of our team members, so they can grow with us.”

Career Mobility at Chipotle
Crew members at Chipotle can advance to a Restaurateur in as little as three and a half years, with a total potential compensation package of approximately $100,000 while leading a multi-million-dollar business. Nearly 90 percent of current restaurant leadership started as crew members and progressed to management positions. In 2023, Chipotle promoted over 26,000 employees.

“Today we have many examples of crew members rising through the ranks and now holding restaurant leadership roles, which are among the proudest accomplishments of this organization,” said Scott Boatwright, Chief Operating Officer, Chipotle. “With 2024’s ‘burrito season’ approaching, there are more career opportunities than ever at Chipotle.” 

World Class Benefits
Chipotle’s new offerings continue to build on the company’s best-in-class employee benefits, including competitive wages: an all-crew bonus program, which allows its restaurant employees the opportunity to earn up to an extra month’s worth of pay each year; access to mental health care and medical, dental and vision insurance; English as a second language for employees and their families; tuition reimbursement and debt-free college degrees; 401(k) with employer match; paid vacation and sick leave; flexible schedules, free meals and more.

Those interested in joining Chipotle on its mission to Cultivate a Better World can apply here: Chipotle Careers.

*SOURCE: Credit Karma
**SOURCE: Intuit Prosperity Index Study – January 2023

About Chipotle
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG) is cultivating a better world by serving responsibly sourced, classically-cooked, real food with wholesome ingredients without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Chipotle had over 3,300 restaurants as of September 30, 2023, in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants in North America and Europe. Chipotle is ranked on the Fortune 500 and is recognized on the 2023 list for Fortune’s Most Admired Companies and Time Magazine’s Most Influential Companies. With over 110,000 employees passionate about providing a great guest experience, Chipotle is a longtime leader and innovator in the food industry. Chipotle is committed to making its food more accessible to everyone while continuing to be a brand with a demonstrated purpose as it leads the way in digital, technology and sustainable business practices. For more information or to place an order online, visit WWW.CHIPOTLE.COM.

SOURCE Chipotle Mexican Grill

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