A recent survey of vegans in the corporate workforce has revealed some surprising insights. The survey was conducted by Vegan Leaders in Corporate Management (veganleaders.com), a non-profit that works to mobilize vegan employees in corporations. The survey already yielded information about more than 100 companies, and it remains open.
Vegan options in corporate dining facilities are still dismal
Of the 70 percent of respondents whose offices provide dining services, only 13 percent reported having adequate vegan options. A manager at a home security company described vegan cafeteria options as being limited to a “grilled vegan vegetable patty that is as bland and unappealing tasting as it sounds.”
Employee groups can be a powerful vehicle for change
While over 60 percent of employers were described as progressive, their well-intentioned efforts apparently miss the mark towards vegans. One cafeteria was described as advocating “humane standards” and “healthy meals” even though their menu included pizza and cheeseburgers.
Companies are showing an increasing willingness to meet the demands of vegan employees; but often they are unaware of the need. While 87.5 percent of vegans indicated they work with other veg or plant-based professionals, no organized groups representing the vegan interests existed in 75 percent of the surveyed companies.
Digging deeper into the data, Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, and Intel are among those companies that have vegan groups with more than 100 members. Predictably, the vegan options at the 13 companies with huge vegan groups ranked the highest among all the companies identified in the survey.
But the real jump in satisfaction happened when a group of just 2 to 10 members was present. Although satisfaction increased as the size of veg groups went up, employers with even the smallest groups showed significant increase in overall employee satisfaction.
The evidence reveals how to bring about meaningful change
There is a misconception that a without a huge representation, nothing will change. “The number of vegans is not significant enough for our employer,” claimed one manager, “to bring vegan offerings for us.” However, this is often not the case. Employee retention is such a pressing matter that companies are often eager to address issues once they are aware of them. Vocalizing a demand for a vegan-friendly workplace can create a business priority. This is especially the case when the demand comes from a large, organized employee group within the company. But, the Vegan Leaders survey shows that even a small group of 2 to 10 members can create change.
“The companies with the largest vegan employee groups — such as Microsoft, Google, Salesforce and Intel — had the most pro-vegan policies. Coincidence?”
The task of educating the decision makers, then, falls to the primary stakeholders—the vegans in the workplace. Forming the employee resource group capable of communicating the demand for a vegan-friendly workplace, along with related issues such as health impacts, environmental action, and animal welfare, will help drive change. Coupling the vegan demand with benefits for all employees (health, wellness, productivity, and mindful living, for example) will drive the company to create an increasingly vegan-friendly workplace.
About the Vegan Workplace Survey
The Vegan Workplace Survey has enabled Vegan Leaders to compile data to benchmark the vegan-friendliness of corporations. The survey remains open as an ongoing research tool. As we collect more responses, we’ll track improvement within the companies and share new findings. We are currently developing a prototype of a scorecard of employers to be released soon. Click here to take the survey.
About Vegan Leaders
Vegan Leaders is a non-profit corporation based in California (federal 501c3 status pending). It serves a global community of vegans working in corporate management and business functions. Our purpose is to demonstrate the pro-vegan trend among business leaders, provide a peer network for corporate vegan influencers, and engage members in valuable discussions and initiatives. Visit www.veganleaders.com for information.