Adobe For All Inspires, Embraces, and Empowers Every Voice

by Suzanne Steele

posted on 10-01-2019

Adobe is an incredible place to work — and, while I may be a bit biased, I know I’m not alone. For seven consecutive years, Adobe Australia has been named a Best Place to Work by the Great Place to Work Institute Australia. This year, we ranked number 6 alongside some of the most innovative organisations in the world.

While I see daily the impact of our employee-first initiatives, attending the Adobe for All Summit in San Jose, California reminded me of why this is such a special place for me and for thousands of diverse doers and dreamers.

Despite living, breathing, and sharing our Adobe for All message consistently, I was struck by the candour and the power of the event, and I was deeply moved by what’s long been our foundation: “Empowering everyone to tell their story,” as our CEO Shantanu Narayen says. Which is exactly what we do with Adobe for All and our Empower Every Voice initiative.

At the Adobe for All Summit, this theme was omnipresent, as were the ways we empower people to share their stories. And, again, while I experience this message daily, here’s what I took away — and what I was reminded of.

#1. We all deserve to be our truest selves

The surest path to creativity, innovation, and success is inclusion. When people feel appreciated for who they are and the contributions they uniquely bring to the table, they’re more likely to speak up and be heard. And when those voices are truly heard, contributors excel. Over and over that message was loud and clear at the summit.

And that inclusion isn’t just good business, it’s good for business. When people feel included, morale increases and, with it, employee satisfaction and empowerment. Empowered employees are creative, engaged, and loyal.

#2. We all have a voice — and those voices can innovate and accelerate

Good ideas don’t only emerge from corner offices and established incubators. As we’ve seen over and over, good ideas can come from everywhere and everyone.

By empowering professionals at all stages of their careers to express themselves through creativity and technology, we become a better business. By focusing not just on established offices or regions but, instead, welcoming people from all cultures, religions, and backgrounds, we power innovation and economic growth and success today and tomorrow.

#3. We’re different — and different delivers

Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have above average returns. Those with gender diversity saw returns 15% higher than the mean.

Diversity alters group dynamics in a powerful, palpable way. Diverse teams are also more likely to stay objective and vigilant.

By welcoming this diversity, then, Adobe is not just opening the doors for more innovators in all corners of the business — and the globe. We’re empowering them and leveraging those differences to make us all better. It’s the ultimate win-win.

#4. We need to put employees first (and we do)

This past year, Adobe doubled down on its employee-first focus. From achieving global pay parity to launching the Adobe Learning Fund to promote employee education, to expanding the ANZ parental leave program to ensure non-primary caregivers get 16 weeks of paid time off, and most recently declaring our plan to pursue opportunity parity, we launched and reimagined initiatives that enable our employees to strike that critical work-life balance — and, with it, live their best, most fulfilling lives.

This employee focus also benefits the organisation. Happy employees are 12% more productive — and unhappy employees are 10% less productive — than the average. They’re also more loyal, more collaborative, and more creative, all traits central to Adobe’s success.

#5. Together, we can change the world

While we’re just one company, I believe Adobe is a powerful voice in the global landscape and the inclusion conversation. In Australia, we recently partnered with Microsoft and the Centre for Inclusive Design to take an important message to the marketplace.

Research shows products and services designed with a focus on people experiencing poverty, disability, and/or the impact of aging can reach up to four times their intended customer base, while driving increased engagement and ROI.

Within education alone, inclusive design could drive an additional 228,000 tertiary qualifications earned in Australia, ultimately driving salaries up by $4.5 billion per year. In retail, there is a $4 billion potential revenue upswing in this country alone by simply incorporating inclusive design.

More importantly, though, the inclusion side would be game-changing — and that’s what we’re all about. Five million Australians — seniors and people living with disabilities plus those lacking resources and proximity — aren’t able to access certain products and services because of non-inclusive design.

Together with Microsoft and the Centre for Inclusive Design, we’ll be working to raise awareness not just at Adobe but in every corner of every industry. We want businesses to understand and integrate the diverse perspectives and voices in their own teams so they can better reflect the diversity in the Australian — and global — population.

That’s the next step and I’m confident we can achieve it together. As I’ve recognized since day one, Adobe for All, Empower Every Voice, and the work we do at home and around the world is very authentic, very dynamic, and very powerful.

Attending the Adobe for All Summit was a powerful reminder of how diverse the organisation is and how resilient our people truly are. That’s something I’m proud to support, promote, and deepen in my own work and through my diverse teams around the region.

Topics: Diversity & Inclusion, APAC