The People's weekly wrap-up newsletter 30.09.22
Virgin Atlantic' s new gender inclusive uniform policy
Virgin Atlantic has changed its workwear policy to allow staff to choose the uniform they feel best represents their gender identity. The airline industry has historically marked gender with uniforms that further amplified gender normativity.
The recognition of non-binary people and the LGBTQ+ community in such a clear way feels like a progressive step forward. Virgin Atlantic is leading the way towards this more inclusive policy in the airline industry. More interestingly, Virgin isn’t changing the uniforms – but giving staff the choice and letting them be their full self at work. This has huge benefits for employees in terms of well-being. In addition, Virgin will also provide the crew with optional pronoun tags and let customers choose option X in the booking process instead of just male and female. The move is an example of how small changes in design can make a big difference in underserved communities feeling included.
“It’s become apparent nobody wants to work in these hard times.” Statements like these have become symbolic around the Great Resignation and the pandemic, but they are much older than we think.
The global pandemic has forced companies to adapt and employees to find a healthier work/life balance and now many don’t want to go back. During the last couple of years, workers quit en masse, refused to return to offices and embraced self-employment for the most in more than a decade. Many businesses are struggling with painful staffing shortages. Labour shortages happen when employees don’t feel seen, heard or valued. Employers have an opportunity to rethink their relationship with their people. Next time when someone says: “No one wants to work anymore” – we should follow it up with asking why?
Unilever CEO Alan Jope, will retire at the end of 2023 after spending 5 years in the role at the consumer goods giant. Unilever, Jope and his leadership team have been championing brand purpose. But eventually came under attack from investors.
Terry Smith of Fundsmith Equity Fund (which has £1 billion invested in Unilever) started the troubles in January: “The Hellmann’s brand has existed since 1913 so we would guess that by now consumers have figured out its purpose (spoiler alert – salads and sandwiches).” There seems to be a clash of values between leaders like Alan Jope who want to deliver more than profit and shareholders looking to deprioritise brand purpose. On the flip side, Unilever has been battling its own brand Ben & Jerry’s after the brand pulled all its sales and distribution from the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. An example of how brand purpose can leave companies between a rock and a hard place. But as the old adage goes: “It’s not a principle until it costs you something."
Lockdown was hard on all of us… lucky for Lewis Capaldi, his bond with sourdough got him through… and it's honestly something to be jealous of. The musical genius and TikTok star has just announced he’s found his true calling, and guess what? It’s Pizza.
The witty songwriter is on to his next venture and it’s brilliant. ‘Lewis Capaldi’s BIG SEXY PIZZA’ is a new range of frozen pizza created for Tesco and Iceland, and they even have their own microsite bigsexypizza.com. Lewis’s hilarious way with words and don’t give a s**t attitude in his content has got him a long way, not only in music but now in commerce. Lewis is the perfect example of personal branding done right; it’s so honest, funny, and relatable that he feels like someone you met down the pub... you almost forget it's a brand. If the pizza is half as good as the microsite images of him making it, it's for sure his brand will have those £5 pizzas will be flying off the shelves.