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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

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.  

This article by Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance was published in Law360’s Expert Analysis column on May 14, 2020.

 

A successful team is made up of individuals who perform their responsibilities, support each other, and possess the flexibility to pivot and meet the needs of their coworkers.

While law firms have always functioned in teams, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified this equation and exponentially increased the need for cohesive teamwork at all levels. In order to ensure smooth operations during remote work and navigate the uncertain road ahead, each team member needs to commit to his or her unique role, intensify support for colleagues, and support the idea of flexible flexibility.

The Role of Chairs and Partners

During this pandemic (and beyond), leadership plays a critical role in setting the tone and navigating the course. All staff and attorneys are dealing with heightened stress and anxiety, and in many cases, increased caregiver responsibilities and isolation. Firm leadership should take this opportunity to demonstrate gratitude, empathy and commitment to their teams by:

Sustaining Morale

It’s particularly important for chairs and partners to relay optimism and empathy while remaining realistic during this pivotal time. To sustain employee morale and engagement during remote work, firm leaders should continuously send messages that reinforce the notion of “we’re in this together” to reassure employees and combat feelings of isolation and anxiety.

Continue Reading on LAW360.com here.

In Case You Missed It… Check out this April 27 article in Bloomberg Law by Meghan Tribe Virus Crisis Could Be Test of Law Firms’ Diversity Efforts. The article advises that law firms continue their focus on diversity and inclusion efforts to avoid the “massive lawyer layoffs and de-equitization of firm attorneys during the Great Recession, which saw an estimated 10,000 lawyers lose their jobs, overall representation of women and minority lawyers in law firms declined between 2009 and 2010.”

The article reinforces that firms need to commit to the retention of diverse attorneys through mentorships, sponsorships, training and other support mechanisms during and after the crisis, and includes a quote from Alliance President & CEO, Manar Morales.

“As law firms make personnel decisions ranging from layoffs to pay cuts, there’s “all eyes on them right now given what happened in 2008.”

– 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.