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 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.  

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 recently released 2019 New Partner Report, we celebrated this as the best year yet in terms of the share of women in the new partner classes in major law firms in the United States – 41.3%, an increase of 8.1% since 2012 and a year-over-year increase of 2.4% from 2018. Take a look at our 2019 New Partner Report for further data, trends and insights.

While we should celebrate our achievements, we also need to focus on next steps in order to advance more women to the top levels of leadership by being more systematic with managing their pipeline. By keeping the following three steps in mind, organizations will be able to monitor, maintain, and add to their pipeline of women and continue to close the gender gap in leadership.

Maximize Recruitment: New hire and lateral recruiting efforts need to be done effectively to attract the best talent. Start by putting your best foot forward. Gather data to understand why or why not professionals chose to come to your organization through focus groups, check-in meetings and/or surveys with new hires. Speak with professionals who declined employment offers. Track and assess this data to understand if there were any gender differences, what you should highlight, and what you should consider changing. Were some programs/policies particularly important to women? Were key practices/programs mentioned across the board? By tracking this information, you can objectively understand what policies/programs to highlight, how to prepare your interviewers, and ways to improve your overall recruitment process…

 

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. Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center

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

 

We called this year’s conference Inspire. Innovate. Ignite! because we believe you can learn everything you need to start taking your organization to a new level in one day. Our dynamic speakers and influencers shared their insights and perspectives on creating work environments that meet the needs of today’s employees and ensures everyone is supported and valued. Here are some of the highlights from our speakers to help you ignite change in your organizations.

  • Erica J. Bolden, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Mercedes-Benz USA: D & I isn’t just smoke and mirrors; be intentional about it. Internally we’re reestablishing what our community and culture looks like. Externally, we’re positioning ourselves for greater visibility through more intentional interactions with the community.
  • Stacy Bunck (Flex Success® Honoree), Office Managing Shareholder, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart): Client support is everything; Rafael Medina always made it clear he would support me and that family came first.
  • Sarah Chapman, PhD, Director within Deloitte’s Sustainability & Social Impact Advisory Practice & National Lead, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, Deloitte, Canada & Chile: Look at men’s experiences and their expectations to make them supporters and active participants in gender equality.
  • Jami de Lou, Diversity & Inclusion Director, Boston Consulting Group: Representation within your organization has to match the people you want to recruit. Think about what it means to thrive; our flex programs need to be driven by the talent management teams, not just the D & I teams.
  • Anne Donovan, US People Experience Leader, PwC (Flex Impact Organization): Retention is one of the biggest issues in our industry. We have to teach and convince managers that if staff isn’t delivering, it’s a performance issue and not a flexible work issue. Leaders have to get out of the office and talk about the issues.
  • Jenn Flynn (Flex Leader Honoree), Managing Vice President, Head of Small Business Bank, Capital One: People do their best when they feel valued and included. I made a commitment to be a role model for flex in my career, and I feel I have an obligation to pay it forward for others in my organization.
  • Jo Ann Jenkins (Luminary Honoree), Chief Executive Officer, AARP: Diversity and inclusion is our business strategy. The only way to succeed is to invest in employees. People want to work for an organization with a strong purpose, do work they care about, and at a place they feel they are making a difference.
  • Charlie Johnson, Hiring Partner (DC), Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: Having a diverse workforce for firms is an absolute
  • Danielle Katzir (Flex Success® Honoree) Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (2019 Flex Success® Honoree): Creatively defining flex has made all the difference. We occupy many roles in our lives and nurturing those requires thoughtful investment.
  • Matthew Keen, Managing Shareholder, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart: I want to have an environment where people prosper. Since the firm has embraced flexible work schedules, we’ve retained our talent and reduced our attrition rates.
  • Lea Ann King, General Counsel, Toyota Material Handling, USA, Inc.: We need to look like who we work with – both from the client and consumer sides. We’ve now started hiring for aptitude and attitude over direct experience.
  • Kevyn D. Orr, Partner in Charge (DC), Jones Day: Technology and artificial intelligence are the future, so diversity and flexibility are particularly relevant now. Address disparities now so they don’t become part of the organizational structure.
  • Honorable Tonya Parker, Presiding Judge, 116th Civil District Court, Dallas County, Texas: Some labels are truths, and some are judgments. Words have staying power, and labels don’t fall away easily. People want to be truthfully, completely, and precisely known.
  • Danny Sikka, Senior Counsel, McDonald’s Corp. on behalf of Rafael Medina (in memoriam (Flex Success® Honoree): Rafael used his power and influence to benefit others and champion diversity and family in and out of the office. He went out of his way to ensure new and diverse attorneys would be successful.
  • Dia Simms, CEO, Brn Group: Acknowledge a person’s value no matter what side of the table you’re on – it’s good business and fosters engagement, loyalty, and happiness. If someone says they wish they could find someone like me for the job, I tell them I can connect them to people like me. Let me be the one-person diversity initiative, and let me introduce you to more people like me.
  • Grace E. Speights, Global Leader, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (Flex Impact Organization): Most attorneys are data driven (especially partners), so make your case with data. Outline expectations and guidelines with a new initiative, and use technology, practice support, and knowledge management to your advantage. Sixty percent of our associates said they chose to work here and stay because our of new flexible work policies.
  • Burton White, Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Excella: We need to create communities that we want to see. As leaders, we have to hold ourselves and others accountable to see change happen.
  • Mary Wilson, US Managing Partner, Dentons: D & I is a business imperative, and clients influence this space. Goals can’t be numeric; there has to be a strategic plan in place. We’re placing a Diversity Partner in every practice group to put customized goals together.
  • Lily Zheng, Author, “Gender Ambiguity in the Workplace”: A manager’s attitude is the greatest prediction of the quality of a person’s workplace – not the policies. Managers are the key to incorporating inclusion. Inclusion has to be an integrated and ongoing process.

 

 

 

To learn more about Alliance events and resources, contact Manar Morales. Members can access all Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

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 organizations become increasingly cost conscious, it’s even more important to understand and leverage existing resources and coordinate efforts across all departments to create a robust talent development and D & I program. Are you aware of all your organizational memberships, benefits, subscriptions, and resources? Do you know of new talent development initiatives across your organization? Do you regularly meet with human resources, recruiting, professional development and D & I professionals to discuss successes and challenges? Thinking through these questions will lead to more thoughtful, comprehensive, and coordinated efforts.

  1. LEVERAGE EXISTING RESOURCES: Know the available resources, memberships and subscriptions at your organization and leverage them. Through conversations from our Insight Interview Study, we learned that some law firms are utilizing benefits through their Employee Assistance Programs, such as coaching and parent resources, in order to make their New Parent Program more comprehensive. A number of our member organizations mentioned that they utilize the DFA Signature Seminar Series to supplement educational offerings around their workplace flexibility program. By using existing resources, D & I and talent professionals can make their initiatives more robust by providing supplemental benefits, services, and programs at no additional cost. They can also use these resources as a pilot to gauge interest and need….

 

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance.  To learn more about launching programs, policies and support structures to promote diversity and inclusion, contact Manar Morales. Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center

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

More organizations are providing support to underrepresented groups and those facing advancement hurdles in order to promote diversity and inclusion efforts. Many organizations have launched affinity groups, coaching initiatives, and other resources for targeted groups in order to enhance diversity at the top levels. A number of organizations are also launching mentoring programs to help underrepresented groups move up the ladder. In particular, organizations are focusing on mentoring initiatives for women, parents, and flex employees.

Mentoring programs are a great way to support employees who are more likely to face explicit and implicit bias, thereby making it harder for them to be leaders within the organization. However, in order to succeed, these mentoring efforts should be structured thoughtfully to achieve maximum results. By following our five step approach, organizations can leverage their targeted mentoring programs for stronger business benefits and enhance diversity and inclusion….

 

To read this entire Action Step and learn more about promoting diversity and inclusion become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. Contact Eliza Musallam, Director of Membership, for more information. Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center

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

More organizations are launching gender-neutral parental leave policies so that the amount of caregiving/bonding leave time is the same regardless of gender. According to our 2017 Law Firm Benchmarking Survey, the vast majority of law firms surveyed provided paid gender-neutral leave to attorneys (89% of respondents) and staff (67% of respondents).

There are strong business benefits when all employees utilize parental leave policies. First, there are recruiting and retention advantages. Employees, especially millennials, have indicated that flexibility, work-life control, and family time are important factors when choosing/staying at a job. Second, workplace engagement, productivity, and loyalty will increase when all employees take parental leave by preventing burnout and undue stress. Third, organizations can also lower family healthcare costs by encouraging all employees to take parental leave; new mothers without support face higher medical/mental health issues.  See our Action Step, Paid Leave Policies, for more details on the business benefits of gender-neutral parental leave…

To read this entire Action Step and learn more about gender-neutral parental leave policies become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. Contact Eliza Musallam, Director of Membership, for more information. Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center

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 July 2019, we are pleased to share this Guest Action Step by Contributing Author Lily Zheng.

Lily Zheng is a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant and executive coach working to create innovative and inclusive workplaces. You can hear more insights from Lily’s book, Gender Ambiguity in the Workforce: Transgender and Gender-Diverse Discrimination, in her presentation at the Alliance’s Annual Conference on November 7, 2019.

Despite the increased visibility of transgender, non-binary, and other gender-expansive communities in media and popular culture, workplaces struggle with creating meaningful inclusion. Thirty percent of trans employees report experiencing workplace discrimination in the form of harassment, mistreatment, denial of opportunities, and even physical and sexual violence. Organizations committed to ending discrimination and creating inclusion must take a multi-pronged approach that creates sustainable, structural change.

Enlist Managers. Companies are only as inclusive as their middle managers, and an inclusive manager can be a powerful champion against discrimination. Because managers establish team culture, model inclusion (or exclusion) by example, and strengthen (or weaken) employee trust in the organization, their presence is the strongest determinant of trans employees’ experiences in the workplace.

To learn more about creating an inclusive culture and becoming a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, contact Eliza Musallam, Director of Membership. Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center

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.

While telecommuting has taken place on an informal and ad hoc basis for years, more organizations are implementing formal, written remote work policies. According to our 2017 Law Firm Benchmarking Survey, 61% of respondents indicated that their formal flexible work policies for attorneys included telecommuting. Remote work is an important job feature for many employees, and a formal telecommuting policy is an effective way to set parameters and expectations around working outside of the office.

However, organizations still struggle with gaining traction with their telecommuting policies. Common issues include: How do we make sure employees know about it? How do we increase usage rates? How do we make sure employees are teleworking in accordance with the firm’s policy? Here are some ways to overcome these issues and gain momentum with your telecommuting policy.

To learn more about effectively communicating about your organization’s telecommuting policy and becoming a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, contact Eliza Musallam, Director of Membership. Members can access the complete Action Step in the Member Resource Center