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

 

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

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 expanding parental leave policies and offering additional resources for new parents. A common challenge, however, is the utilization of the expanded policies. Similarly, employees and new hires often comment about their lack of knowledge of the parental leave policies and resources available to them. Even though more organizations are starting to pay closer attention to their parental leave policies, it’s equally important how they are communicated and publicized. By using our multi-step “EMAIL” communication strategy, you can increase recruiting and retention by highlighting your parental leave policies and resources.

EDUCATE YOUR LEADERS: Leaders at the organizational, office, and practice group levels should be familiar and aware of parental leave policies; this can be done through new leader training and orientation. Enlist champions among your leaders who will host office/organizational meetings that specifically communicate parental leave policies to employees. Not only does this help with communication efforts, it also increases utilization and reduces bias.

To learn more about effectively communicating about your organization’s leave policies 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.

A common barrier to launching new and expanded flexible work programs/policies is convincing organizational leaders of the long-term business benefits with recruiting, retention and productivity. Common questions include: What are peer organizations doing? Do our employees really care about flex? Is the cost really worth the benefit? Is the benefit too tenuous to measure? The Alliance can show you how to make it “RAIN” with your organizational leaders by demonstrating the business benefits of holistic flex.I

REVIEW EXTERNAL TRENDS: Company leaders may ask what peer organizations are doing in the area of flex. It’s important to review detailed industry surveys and current data such as the Alliance’s annual New Partner Report and our Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey, which contains data, trends, and statistics. When reviewing external surveys, look for trends in the types of programs peer organizations are launching. Make note of statistics and data to support your pitch with leaders. It’s also important to look at common challenges in your industry. Is there a glass ceiling for women at top leadership levels? Are employees commonly leaving traditional jobs for more flexible or alternative employers? Are there any niche areas losing traction in your industry? By thinking through common industry challenges and creating policies/programs to address them, you can be a trailblazer and gain recruitment and retention benefits.

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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 utilize affinity groups to build community among employees with shared identities, interests, and/or experiences. While fostering a sense of community is an important element of affinity groups, they can also lead to additional far-reaching organizational benefits. For example, affinity groups can provide training, push for new policies, and serve as a focus group to uncover challenges and bright spots to support the advancement of underrepresented groups. According to our 2017 Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey, one-third of our survey participants have a working parents affinity group and over 20% have a flex affinity group in place. While it’s a step in the right direction for more organizations to utilize affinity groups, it’s important to strategically think through the structure of the group and its roll-out in order to reap the most benefits.

CLARIFY FOCUS: Our action step, It Takes a Community, explains that all affinity groups should focus on three overarching pillars – promoting community, fostering training and development, and monitoring the progress and challenges. Think through the specific goals within each of these pillars you hope to achieve; this way the group will have a targeted mission and clear milestones to measure success. We recommend conducting a quick survey before launching any new group to better understand your employees’ specific interests, needs, and challenges in this area.

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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.

Affinity groups are an effective way to build a community, share best practices, and promote policies and programming in targeted areas. A number of organizations have working parents affinity groups, as it’s a great way for parents to bond and discuss success stories and challenges. According to our 2017 Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey, one-third of our survey participants have a working parents affinity group in place. However, a number of organizations have begun to expand their working parents affinity group to a broader caregivers affinity group. This would include all caregivers, including parents and those caring for elderly and ill family members. By expanding to a caregivers affinity group, organizations become more inclusive and recognize that all caregivers face similar challenges (i.e. billable hours requirement, flexible work needs, implicit bias, etc.). Organizations should keep certain considerations in mind in order for a caregivers affinity group to meet broader goals.

EXPAND GOALS: Think through the desired goals and focus of the new group. Without carefully considering your goals, you run the risk of simply changing your working parents affinity group in name only without any real meaningful transformation. We recommend conducting a survey, focus groups, insight interviews, and/or check-in meetings. This way, you can better understand the needs and interests of any new/expanded affinity group to help you shape the focus and priorities…

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