Action Steps Archives - Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

Action Step –
Easing the Transition
From Leave to Work, Part 2

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

In Part I of this Action Step, we discussed recent developments in on-ramping policies, including full-time pay for professionals working a temporary, reduced hours schedule after returning from a leave of absence. In this second part, we explore resources organizations need to establish to support a smooth on-ramping process, including what needs to take place before a leave of absence starts.

Mobilize Your Flex Management Team: Establishing a point person to manage the on-ramping process is an important first step to implementing a successful gradual return to work from leave policy. This coordinating role is typically fulfilled by a flex program manager or a human resources professional who handles the organization’s flex and leave policies. The on-ramping coordinator should be easy to identify and be listed wherever an organization houses details about the types of leaves of absence that would trigger an on-ramping schedule. This role should be responsible for contacting professionals before they go on leave, just before returning, and again upon returning to work to discuss processes and available resources. The on-ramping coordinator should also track on-ramping usage and monitor experiences of on-ramping professionals to provide a basis for celebrating the program’s success and/or making improvements.

Read More

Action Step –
Easing the Transition
From Leave to Work, Part 1

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

On-ramping policies, also known as gradual return to work from leave policies, continue to serve as a low-cost, high-value bridge between leaves of absence and flexible work. They are simple to implement, effective as a pilot for reduced hours work arrangements, and have a positive impact on retention at a pivotal time in the careers of many professionals. Our Action Step, Tips for Starting an On-Ramping Policy describes how organizations can reap these and other benefits of on-ramping with a well-designed policy. Here, the Alliance builds on these tips to share recent developments and additional best practices in on-ramping in this two-part Action Step series.

As evidence of the value of on-ramping, a growing number of law firms, for example — including some Alliance members — have bolstered their policies to provide full-time pay to individuals on a temporary reduced hours schedule upon return from leave. In addition to a desire to increase on-ramping’s retention benefits, these firms recognize there is a natural ramp-up period when professionals return from an extended leave of absence, and historically, professionals have been paid full-time during that period in the absence of on-ramping policies…

Read More

Action Step –
What’s Your Plan? 7 Steps to Creating
A Leadership Development Strategy

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

 

Organizations are responsible for creating opportunities for their talent to grow professionally and providing equitable access to those paths forward. It is up to individual professionals, however, to be ready to seize those opportunities. Beyond developing technical expertise, being ready starts with getting clear about what one wants for his or her career and having a plan for getting it. Whether one wants to move into formal leadership roles and/or expand her or his knowledge and capabilities, the following seven steps provide a framework to create a leadership development plan that prompts professionals to work on their careers, not just in them.

  1. Create a Vision: Mapping out a leadership development plan starts with envisioning where you want to go. Specifically, look at where you want to be one year from now and three years from now, as research shows that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a one year but underestimate what they can get done in three. Accordingly, focusing on both points in time can bring you to a more realistic view of what you can accomplish. In addition, take the time to define what success means to you, and consider what success looks like for those who have an impact on your career as well as within your organization.

 

Read More

Action Step –
Taking the Pulse of Your Workforce

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

TAKING THE PULSE OF YOUR WORKFORCE

Before launching any initiative to promote or improve diversity or flexibility within an organization, it’s important to ensure you’re solving for the right problem. That is, rather than rushing to apply the latest industry best practice, the initiative should be tailored to address the particular needs of your organization with input from those who will be impacted. In addition to tracking a variety of workforce metrics, the Alliance recommends seeking that input in a systematic and meaningful way by engaging in one or more of the following three information gathering processes.

Surveys: Conducting engagement or climate surveys can provide a rich set of data points to understand the perception of a variety of diversity, flexibility, and/or other cultural issues within an organization, including what’s going well. These surveys typically take the form of an online questionnaire featuring a series of multiple choice questions for quantitative analysis, as well as a few open-ended questions to allow participants to comment about a specific topic or a range of topics covered by the survey. When developing the questionnaire, the organization should limit inquiry to areas it is prepared to address. Surveying without follow-up action can contribute to low participation in future surveys and even increased frustration among employees due to skepticism about the organization’s commitment to addressing the issues about which it asks…

Read More

Action Step –
Feedback Essentials Part 2: How to Get the Feedback You Need

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

FEEDBACK ESSENTIALS PART 2: HOW TO GET THE FEEDBACK YOU NEED

In Part 1 of this Action Step, we focused on delivering feedback effectively, which is one side of what should be a two-way conversation. While it may seem the individual providing the feedback is doing all the work, the recipient has an equally important role to play, including initiating the discussion when needed. Following these steps will help you carry out your responsibility to get feedback and make the most of what you receive.

Ask for It: Research shows many lawyers and other professionals feel they receive feedback too infrequently from their supervisors, and find it difficult to improve their performance as a result. While supervisors retain responsibility to provide feedback, professionals can and should be proactive in seeking this information. For example, rather than waiting to hear how things are going in an annual performance review, you can initiate ‘check-ins’ with supervisors at natural intervals, such as when projects are completed…

Read More

Action Step –
Feedback Essentials Part 1: Delivering Feedback Effectively

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

FEEDBACK ESSENTIALS PART 1: DELIVERING FEEDBACK EFFECTIVELY

Feedback is critical to career advancement, but research shows women and other under-represented professionals are much less likely than their majority group counterparts to receive the kind of constructive feedback necessary to improve performance. The reasons for this vary, but common ones include supervisors’ concerns they will be perceived in a negative light and fear that the person receiving feedback will leave. These issues are particularly pronounced when feedback is being provided across differences. This introduces additional challenges to an aspect of managing and leading others that many supervisors would prefer to avoid. Overcoming these challenges, however, is essential to fostering the success of all talent, and applying the following best practices provides supervisors with a framework to successfully meet this responsibility….

Read More

Action Step –
Don’t Overlook Overwork:
Why and How to Compensate Reduced Hours Lawyers for Extra Work

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

DON’T OVERLOOK OVERWORK:
WHY AND HOW TO COMPENSATE REDUCED HOURS LAWYERS FOR EXTRA WORK

It’s becoming increasingly dangerous for legal employers to overlook overwork by reduced hours lawyers. Issues of retention and competition for legal talent, which are always of concern, are taking on greater importance now that more firms are competing in the hot lateral market with effective work-life control programs and “new model” legal services providers are attracting lawyers who want to work fewer hours. A more serious threat looms, however: equal pay claims.

Legal employers have provided extra compensation using a variety of methods. Some examples are…

Read More

Action Step –
Strategically Approaching Women’s Initiatives

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

STRATEGICALLY APPROACHING WOMEN’S INITIATIVES 

Retaining and advancing women where they are underrepresented takes more than hosting a panel discussion, establishing a committee, or more than engaging just the women. Creating a meaningful initiative to increase the representation and inclusion of women up the organizational ladder requires a strategic process reflecting the commitment of leaders and engaging both men and women.  As detailed below, the hallmarks of that strategic process include: 1) assessing the current state; 2) articulating the purpose; and…

Read More

Action Step –
Self Reflection: The Key to Setting Your Individual Goals for Next Year’s Flex Success™

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

SELF REFLECTION:
THE KEY TO SETTING YOUR INDIVIDUAL GOALS FOR NEXT YEAR’S FLEX SUCCESS™

The end of the calendar year is the perfect time for organizations to take stock of their business initiatives and to reflect on both their successes as well as areas of improvement for the coming year. Metrics are an essential part of this equation and help organizations measure past successes to create future goals.

It is also important for individuals to incorporate this type of year-end reflection and goal setting to ensure career objectives and personal goals are balanced and integrated. As with business initiatives, individuals should have a clearly documented, personal, strategic plan as well as a mandate on how to execute that strategy for career success. This is especially critical if you are working a flexible work schedule….

Read More

Action Step –
Implementation Essentials For Flexibility Programs

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

IMPLEMENTATION ESSENTIALS FOR FLEXIBILITY PROGRAMS

Successful business initiatives, including flexibility programs, feature a clearly articulated and documented strategic plan as well as a mandate to execute on that strategy. When it comes to flexible work, many organizations have a plan in the form of a policy but struggle with execution. Whether your organization is launching a flexibility policy for the first time or enhancing an existing policy, a strong implementation process is the key to closing the gap between policy and action. Here are the essential features of successful implementation…

Read More