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 pandemic has changed the perception of flexibility from “a nice to have” to a business imperative. Prior to March 2020, some organizational leaders did not buy into workplace flexibility. Fast forward to 2021 and the conversations around flex are very different. Rather than asking why we need flex, more leaders are now focusing on how we can make flex as effective as possible. Organizations across all industries must think strategically about workplace flexibility in order to reap recruiting, retention, and business productivity benefits. To help you reboot your workplace flexibility policy, the Alliance has the following recommendations:

  1. Reflect, Reassess & Reimagine. We urge all organizations to look back and carefully reflect on the past year. How has your mission, values, products/services and/or business operations changed? In what ways can flexibility help with these changes? What were the positive impacts of flexibility in terms of productivity, satisfaction/engagement and recruiting/retention? We recommend that organizations create a task force of diverse leaders on the future of work, and collect data on employee productivity/satisfaction now to understand what worked and what didn’t. This will help revamp your flex policy post-pandemic, implement it effectively and create necessary infrastructure support. See our action step, Paving the Way for Flexible Work After the Pandemic Now, for ideas on how to monitor/measure employee experiences.

Members: continue reading this Action Step in the Member Resource Center

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more 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 pandemic has forever broadened the scope of flexible work. Many employees have learned to effectively work flexibly and/or remotely during the COVID-19 crisis and have experienced the benefits of flexible work. Organizational leaders are now considering how/what types of flexible work to offer after the pandemic. The Alliance has a number of recommendations for flexible work policies post-pandemic, so these initiatives can reap the greatest benefits in terms of work productivity, and recruitment/retention of top talent:

  1. Holistic Flexible Work – We strongly recommend implementing holistic flexible work policies, including reduced hours, telecommuting, flextime, compressed work week, asynchronous hours and job sharing options, as employees have individual flex needs. Additionally, by providing holistic flexible work options, employees who may not be able to utilize certain forms of flex due to their job function can still use other types of flex (i.e. a receptionist may not be able to telecommute due to his/her function but may be able to work reduced hours, flextime or compressed work week).

Members: continue reading this Action Step in the Member Resource Center

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more 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 concerning results of our recently released 2020 New Partner Report, combined with the recent studies showing that women will be forced to leave the workforce due to the pandemic, could signal a step backwards for gender parity at top leadership levels. Our report shows that the share of women among new partners dropped slightly this year (40.9% in 2020 vs. 41.3% in 2019) and is only the second time over the last nine years when there was a year over year drop. Furthermore, according to NALP, the share of women minority partners at 3.45% is significantly lower than the share of total women partners (24.17%), indicating that cautionary trends uncovered from our 2020 New Partner Report would impact this group even more drastically. Organizations need to double down efforts now to increase the gender and ethnic parity at the top.

  1. Hiring with Intentionality. In our 2020 New Partner Report, we discussed the need to focus on strategically recruiting mid-level and senior level women attorneys through lateral hiring efforts, and we recommend organizations do the same for women of color. The representation of these groups at the associate level (46.77% women and 14.48% women of color)[1] is similar to the shares of these groups in terms of law school enrollment (54% women and 18.6% minority women),[2] but the representation of these groups greatly decrease at the partnership level (24.17% women and 3.45% women of color).[3] Organizations need to intentionally focus on increasing their women of color lateral recruiting pool by tapping into internal networks (i.e. women/diversity affinity group contacts; community contacts; client contacts), utilizing recruiters focused on diversity hiring, and setting diversity/gender goals regarding lateral recruiting based upon pipeline. Simultaneously, organizations need to make sure to attract top women of color through these hiring efforts. Conduct focus groups, check-in meetings and surveys to understand why women of color at the mid-level/senior level ranks chose your organization so you can publicize these policies/practices during interviews. Educate interviewers on diversity programs so they can raise them during interviews. Include a diverse interview panel, tapping into your women’s affinity group and diversity affinity group to secure interviewers.

[1] See “2019 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms” NALP, December 2019. https://www.nalp.org/uploads/2019_DiversityReport.pdf

[2] See “Enrollment Data 2017-2019,” American Bar Association, 2019. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/statistics/

[3] See “2019 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms” NALP, December 2019. https://www.nalp.org/uploads/2019_DiversityReport.pdf

Members: continue reading this Action Step in the Member Resource Center

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To further discuss your flexible working initiative 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

One long-lasting effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the future of work will be different. Organizations needed to adjust overnight and offer flexible work to all employees, and many saw employee productivity and satisfaction go up during this time. Organizational leaders are now thinking through how to continue offering flexible work post pandemic and create a successful flexible work environment. What additional skills, experiences, and resources do employees need? What types of flexible work should we consider?

Flexible work is clearly now a business need to retain and acquire top talent, as well as an important way to foster employee productivity and satisfaction. However, organizations need to be intentional in how they lay the groundwork for flexibility in order to reap the full benefits. We recommend your organization’s pandemic task force use our 4Es Discussion Framework to discuss building or revamping your flexible work initiatives post-pandemic.

Continue Reading in the Member Resource Center

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To further discuss your flexible working initiative 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

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 offer holistic flexible working options to all employees, 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.