When Doris and Don Fisher opened the first Gap store in San Francisco in 1969, a clash of political and cultural beliefs divided the younger Baby Boomer generation and their parents—sociologists called it a generation gap, and the Fishers ran with it.
Fast-forward to the present and you’ll find the influence of the generation gap embedded in the culture at Gap, ranked No. 181 on this year’s Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies. “I inherited a culture of inclusiveness and equality,” says Art Peck, who became CEO of Gap in 2015.
Peck tells Fortune that communicating social values is not only good for business, but employees and society as well. “The founders believed this was a competitive advantage,” says Peck. For example, the company pays men and women equally for equal work, which Peck feels is necessary to attract the best talent. And when it comes to speaking out in support of equal pay and other social issues, Peck says: “We make it clear that these are issues being discussed relative to our values, and we take a strong stance.”
Inside the company, Peck says that employees are socially active and voice their opinions. It’s about leading with a more cautious approach to close the gap between public outcry and company values. I tell them stand-by,” Peck says, “and then I ask for feedback before saying something.”
Watch the video above for more from Fortune’s interview with Peck.
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