The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance explains why data collection is so important in the development of a flexible work policy

Are Your Organization’s Flexibility Goals Backed By Data?

There’s no doubt we live in a data-driven world. If you don’t have good data, you may not be making good decisions.

As an organization that collaborates with firms and corporations on diversity and flexibility initiatives, we at the Alliance always advise our members to gather data by tracking, monitoring and assessing their programs to ensure their ongoing success. If you don’t track and quantify, you’ll never know if your policy is meeting the needs of your employees and is successfully improving your bottom line. Success in the area of flexibility really translates to the recruitment and retention of engaged, fulfilled, effective and diverse talent.

We also take our own advice to heart. We couldn’t provide the advice that we do without backing it up with sound data. Over the last five years we’ve been able to advise our members on the challenges, opportunities and future trends in flexibility in the legal industry by surveying top US law firms. Initially, our benchmarking survey revolved around whether firms actually had a written flexibility policy. The survey has evolved to include expanded questions on different types of flexibility and leave policies offered and the types of employees, by race, gender, sexual orientation and position, who actually use the policy. For example, do attorneys on a partnership track feel comfortable telecommuting? Are those returning from caregiver leave provided support, tools and fair compensation? Does the firm use surveys, interviews, evaluations and pilot programs to ensure that the program is meeting the needs of its employees?

In particular, our survey seeks to help firms uncover and remove biases and thereby allows them to offer policies that can truly impact the success of their business. Firms that participate in our survey are able to benchmark themselves against others in the industry and uncover the gaps in their policies and its usage.

We recently released the results of our 2017 Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey. The survey, which is available in full to our members and participant firms, (the Executive Summary is available to everyone else) allows us to take a glimpse at the state of the legal industry and predict the most important trends we see moving forward.

From the data, we’re able to advise law firms on how they can lead the industry in recruitment and retention of top talent. Whether it’s through increasing the types of leave policies and expanding their reach, offering extra compensation and additional support following a leave, or simply creating a more inclusive environment that ensures a culture that embraces flexibility, firms that want to meet the needs of the workforce of the future need to be on top of the current trends.

Our Annual Conference on September 27 will highlight the latest research and trends in flexibility and provide attendees with the key steps to take to truly embrace flexibility and its benefits. Register to join us today.

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