Action Steps


 

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

The Alliance has always recommended having robust training, education, and support structures around flexible work in place in order to have a truly inclusive flex culture in your organization. However, our 2019 Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Study found pre-pandemic flex support to be too weak – only 6.1% of respondents had a flex affinity group, and two-thirds did not offer flex education. We recommend that organizations invest more resources to ensure flex programs are properly utilized and valued. During the pandemic, our Pulse Poll: COVID-19 & Reentry Study found that significantly less than a majority planned/launched trainings focused on remote work best practices.

While training and flex support is always necessary to make flex successful for both workers and their managers, it’s even more crucial during the pandemic as many employees are first time teleworkers, and many managers are leading remote teams for the first time too. Organizations must allocate resources to this area in order for their workforce to succeed in this new environment.

Continue Reading in the Member Resource Center

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To further discuss training during and after the pandemic, contact Manar Morales.

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

Before the pandemic, organizations offered very different flexible work benefits based on employee status, responsibilities, and seniority. According to our 2019 Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Study, almost half of the firms indicated there was no formal flexible work policy for staff whereas nearly all firms (90%) offered formal flexible work policies for attorneys. During the pandemic, organizations have continued to offer disparate benefits for employees as demonstrated by our Pulse Poll: COVID-19 & Reentry Study; nearly 30% of respondents will determine whether to allow remote work based on an employees’ function.

Our recommendation has always been for organizations to close the gap between employees with respect to flexible work benefits. This is especially true during the pandemic, where everyone is facing exceptional personal and professional stress. During this time, it’s imperative for organizations to offer holistic flex to all employees in order to promote employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Holistic flex reflects the myriad of reasons today’s professionals want and need flexible work and includes both reduced hours and full-time options such as: telecommuting, flexible start/end times, compressed work schedules, and annualized hours.

Continue Reading in the Member Resource Center

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To further discuss ways to collect and use data during the pandemic, contact Manar Morales

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 and employees have faced significant struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one positive that’s developed from the pandemic is that many organizations, even those historically against flexible work, have adjusted to employees working remotely and flexibly. Now is the time to collect data and build a business case for flexible work to continue after the pandemic ends. Monitor experiences and measure employee productivity, satisfaction, and effectiveness to understand what worked and what didn’t in order to pave the way for the future of flexible work:

  1. Survey to Understand Experiences & Needs. Survey employees to collect data around flexible work during the pandemic. The survey should include questions specific to why things worked or why they didn’t so you can make improvements: What types of technology would have made remote work smoother? Did supervisors help balance work and personal obligations? Did managers maintain connections during this time? By gathering this type of data, you can make changes, as necessary, to improve employee productivity and effectiveness. You’ll also have a better understanding of challenges specific to the pandemic so you can address these matters with flexible work skeptics. For example, if an organizational leader states that hours were down in his/her department, you’ll be able to show this was related to less work available in that area due to the pandemic rather than issues with telecommuting. 

Continue Reading in the Member Resource Center

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To further discuss ways to collect and use data during the pandemic, contact Manar Morales

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 planning how/when to reopen their offices as states are easing restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter the hybrid stage (i.e. the phase prior to a vaccine and complete reopening of schools), some employees will return to the office and others will continue to work remotely. This raises complications for many employees, especially caregivers, since several schools, childcare centers, and camps have remained closed. During this time, it’s particularly important for leaders to demonstrate empathy and appreciation for employees, including caregivers, who have been working hard while juggling personal responsibilities. Organizations can help caregivers succeed during this time and reduce their stress in a number of ways:

  1. Survey to Understand Needs. Survey your entire workforce to understand what worked and what didn’t during the pandemic. It should include questions specific to caregiving needs: What was the biggest challenge with managing work and caregiving obligations? Did your supervisor do anything that helped manage work and caregiving obligations? What additional resources would help you manage caregiving needs in the future?
  2. Create a Reason-Neutral Process for Remote Work. We strongly encourage organizations to allow employees to continue working remotely during this hybrid stage on a reason-neutral basis. This shows organizational support for employees during this time of continued uncertainty (lack of childcare/eldercare; vulnerability of elderly relatives; anxiety over getting sick; public transportation exposure, etc.). For caregivers, the ability to work remotely is crucial to maintaining work and personal obligations.

Continue Reading in the Member Resource Center

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about how your organization can demonstrate its support of working parents and caregivers, schedule a call with Manar Morales today. 

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

The Alliance condemns the recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. We stand in solidarity with the black community, and we condemn systemic racism and denounce hate. This is the time to raise our voices and ensure that equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice are foundations in our society. This is the time for firms and organizations to commit to meaningful change through self-reflection, listening, and learning. More importantly, this is the time to take real action to foster an inclusive environment that supports compassion, unity, and equality.

  1. Take a Hard Look at Your Recruiting Process. According to the NALP 2019 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms, African-American/black attorneys only represent 4.76% of associates. Organizations need to commit resources to hire a more diverse workforce by optimizing the recruitment process. Gather data to understand why diverse and attorneys of color chose your organization (or didn’t) so you can make changes accordingly. Take a hard look at your interview questions. Are they biased? Are you including diverse interviewers and asking interview questions that allow candidates to highlight D&I accomplishments? Recruit from schools with a diverse student body and actively participate in diversity job fairs.

Continue Reading in the Member Resource Center

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about how your organization can demonstrate its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, schedule a call with Manar Morales today. 

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

As states are gradually reopening, organizations are discussing how/when to start bringing their workforce back to the office. This hybrid stage, lasting at least three to six months when organizations begin to reopen, raises complex issues/logistics including D&I and talent considerations. Through our conversations with leading Talent and D&I professionals, we want to share our guidance on this topic:

  1. Engage D&I Professionals. A number of organizations have created task forces to manage the re-entry process. It is important for D&I professionals to be included in these task forces. Without their input, organizations are missing key employee perspectives including health/mental health challenges, individual concerns, and issues of those disproportionately impacted.
  1. Be Mindful of Language. Employees continue to need regular communication from top leadership to cut down on anxiety and uncertainty. Leaders should be mindful of language used. Messages using “return to office” are more compassionate than “return to work” and also recognize employees’ hard work during the pandemic, since many employees have been working harder than ever during this time. Remember, any memos, e-mails and communications will impact employee morale/loyalty and may be sent to the press. Talent and D&I Professionals can offer invaluable advice regarding these communications.

Continue Reading in the Member Resource Center

Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center. To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about your organization’s strategy to return to the office during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact Manar Morales.  

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

As more physical offices are closed due to government mandates and business continuity plans, remote work is the new normal for many employees. Here’s how everyone can do their part to ensure business continuity and individual success. Organizations need to establish guidelines and support systems to help employees be as safe and productive as possible.

  1. Lead with empathy. First and foremost, show empathy, support, and appreciation with your messaging. Discuss the organization’s current remote work policies; address how long new operating procedures will last, when policies will be revisited, and general expectations.
  2. Communicate the policy. Outline a business continuity plan to employees. What are the remote work expectations and how is this separate from a general remote work policy. Remember to note that teleworking under Covid-19 is a different operating situation all together. Communication from the top should be on-going.
  3. Utilize resources. What are your current technology capabilities to support teleworking? Are there ways to support employees with childcare needs (i.e. stipends)? What coaching or counseling can you offer? Are you offering training on how to successfully telework under these unique circumstances?

Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center. To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about your organization’s transition to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, contact Manar Morales.  

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

The international COVID-19 crisis during the Spring of 2020 will be remembered as one of the most challenging times for individuals, families, governments and businesses worldwide. While individuals attempt to self-isolate, practice social distancing and preserve some sense of normalcy for their families, organizations are struggling to maintain their products and services. The most critical challenge facing all businesses is how to continue to provide quality services and products while most, if not all, employees are working from home.

Here are five strategies critical to organizational success when employees are working remotely during a pandemic or international crisis:

  1. COMMUNICATE

Constant and clear communication from leadership is vital to ensuring employees are mindful of the need to telecommute, understand the guidelines related to time and work commitments, and are aware of the resources and support that are available. Supervisors should clearly communicate the need for check-ins, updates, deadlines and virtual meetings. They should also be providing regular feedback via phone or email. It’s also helpful for the human resources team to communicate with employees to identify and resolve any issues related to telecommuting and to check in since many employees may feel particularly isolated.

Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center. To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about developing and implementing a successful flexible working policy, contact Manar Morales.  

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 our 2019 Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Report, nearly all participating law firms have formal flexibility programs (90%), but the vast majority (66.7%) do not offer education around their flexible work program. Education is vital for flex employees to implement effective work practices and for supervisors to understand how to optimally manage flex employees. When done properly, flex education helps flex employees work more effectively, develop professionally, and advance.

For maximum benefits, organizations can create a solid flex education program by thinking through content, delivery, and audience. With our recommendations below, organizations can implement a best-in-class program which will directly improve the success, utilization, and effectiveness of their flex initiatives.

Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center. To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about developing and implementing a successful flexible working policy, contact Manar Morales.  

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

For many organizations, the beginning of a new year signifies the beginning of new goals and strategies to enhance an organization’s mission. At the Alliance, we hope organizations take the time to reflect on the lessons learned at our 2019 Annual Conference, Inspire. Innovate. Ignite! — it was a day packed with inspirational stories, innovative strategies and expert insights on trends and best practices covering D & I and flexible work strategies.

Here are our top four takeaways that we recommend keeping in mind when planning for the new year:

  1. If you take the time to develop an innovative, holistic flexibility initiative that is sincerely embraced by leadership, you will meet the needs of a more diverse group of employees. In turn, you will create a truly inclusive culture. 

Our Flex Impact Award winners – PwC and Morgan Lewis – are proof of this concept. Morgan Lewis reported that 60% of associates said the firm’s two day a week Remote Working Policy was the reason they chose to work at the firm! The key to Morgan Lewis’s success? Senior leadership personally and genuinely promoted the policy resulting in an authentic shift in organizational culture. PwC also made communication from the top their number one priority when implementing their Flexibility2 program. PwC’s Chairman reached out directly to 3,500 partners worldwide to reinforce the importance of their comprehensive, flexible working program….

Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center.To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about retaining and advancing more women,  contact Manar Morales.