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Washington, DC – July 10, 2020 – Today the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance released highlights from its Pulse Poll: COVID-19 and Re-Entry that emphasized the need for continued focus on inclusion for all employees in office re-entry practices.

The poll was developed to uncover important data and trends related to the approach law firms and corporations are taking during this initial office re-opening phase and to provide advice on best practices. The poll’s questions were related to office re-opening task forces, guidelines regarding which employees could continue to work remotely once states re-open, and the types of resources and training provided to employees.

“While many firms and corporations have pledged their commitment to diversity and inclusion in recent years, their actions as they re-open their offices during the COVID-19 crisis will demonstrate their sincerity and have a meaningful impact on all employees,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “While I am pleased to see that a significant number of firms and corporations are focusing on inclusion during office re-openings, I hope that more organizations will follow suit. It’s critical that firms and corporations incorporate D&I professionals in their Office Reopening Task Force, allow requests to continue to work remotely to be “reason-neutral,” and provide necessary virtual trainings,” she added.

The Pulse Poll revealed several noteworthy highlights, including:

  • The vast majority of participants (85.3%) have a task force focused on re-entry and nearly two-thirds of these task forces include a Diversity & Inclusion professional.
  • A significant share of participant organizations will allow all of their employees to work remotely (35.3%) and will use a “reason-neutral” process to determine who can work remotely  (44.1%). However, too many organizations are still limiting which employees can work remotely based upon their function and/or their risk level.
  • A significant share are planning on launching the following trainings: Best Practices for Working Remotely (38.2%, or 13 of 34), Best Practices for Leading Remote Teams (32.4%, or 11 of 34), and Unconscious Bias (23.5%, or 8 of 34).  Only a small number (3 of 34, or 8.8%) indicated they will have no trainings to support re-entry.

The Pulse Poll: COVID-19 AND Re-Entry consisted of responses from 34 law firms and corporations between May 14 and June 5, 2020. The complete report will be available exclusively to members of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance as well as poll participants.

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible work policies that promote inclusive work cultures and help to advance more women into leadership positions. The Alliance provides practical research-based solutions, training workshops, and strategic advisory services that increase organizational effectiveness through diversity and flexibility.

Contact Manar Morales at manar@dfalliance.com for information on membership in the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance or for guidance on fostering flexibility and inclusion in your organization during this crisis and beyond.

 

Contact: Manar Morales

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

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

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. 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

 

In 2019, we will be sharing diversity and flexibility Bright Spots – those small or large successes that impact your organization in a positive way. We believe that important diversity and flexibility initiatives can truly impact your organization’s bottom line, recruitment and retention capabilities and employee satisfaction. 

BRIGHT SPOT

A Bright Spot at national law firm, Wilson Elser is its WAVE (Women Attorneys Valued & Empowered) subcommittee within its Diversity & Inclusion Committee. The WAVE subcommittee focuses on the needs of and issues facing women attorneys by overseeing programming at the national and regional levels, including:

– WAVE Makers, which highlights and celebrates the many professional achievements of the firm’s women attorneys;

– Pathway to Success, which provides a forum for committee members and others to share information with women attorneys on compensation and advancement within the firm;

– Leadership Development, which includes a speaker series with subject-matter experts discussing challenges women face in the work place;

– A Mentoring Program that matches women associates with senior attorneys who can provide valuable information and insights on strengthening client service and enhancing their practices. To date, 89 matches have been made in the mentoring program.

IMPACT

The Diversity & Inclusion Committee and its WAVE subcommittee have empowered the women at Wilson Elser and have led to more women taking leadership roles within the firm — in the Chair’s Office, on the Executive Committee, as Practice Group leaders, and as Regional Managing Partners of offices. Attorneys at all levels are participating in the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and its WAVE subcommittee and the programming, addressing issues such as racial and gender bias and wage discrimination, has been very well received.

Additionally, the firm’s most recent class of partner promotions speaks to the strength of its diversity & inclusion efforts and to the strength of the women within the firm. In January of this year, the firm promoted 10 attorneys to equity partner, seven of whom were women, and 19 attorneys to non-equity partner, eight of whom were women. These strong numbers of women promoted outweigh the industry averages of women who occupy these ranks in the top 200 US law firms.

We encourage you to take a moment now to reflect on your diversity and flexibility successes and celebrate your Bright Spots. Please share your Diversity & Flexibility Bright Spots with us by downloading and filling out THIS SHORT FORM and emailing it to Jane Caldeira at jane@dfalliance.com.

 

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 part of the year-end strategic planning process, organizational leaders should reflect back on their Diversity & Inclusion goals, programs, and policies to make sure they are achieving the desired results. Decision-makers should also reflect on industry trends and obstacles and develop ways to effectively advance change. By reflecting and regrouping, you gain valuable information to revamp your strategic plan and shape it into a forward-thinking D & I program.

– Assess Current Programs & Policies: Look at your current D & I programs and policies, and review the metrics to see if they’re achieving the intended goals. In order to assess these programs, review usage, data correlations to retention, advancement and satisfaction, perceptions, and general feedback. You can obtain this information through annual surveys, pilot program evaluations, human resources data, check-in meetings, insight interviews, and focus groups. Once you review this data, you can determine if programs are meeting their stated goals or if they need to be revamped.

– Consider Additional Programs & Policies to Fill Gaps: After assessing current programs and policies, think about what additional programs may be necessary to fill gaps and meet broader D & I goals. It’s important to gain an understanding of current industry trends by reviewing relevant D & I studies and industry research reports. You’ll have a clearer understanding as to what types of new programs and policies peer organizations are implementing. Consider adding these types of programs at your organization in order to stay forward-thinking, especially when they correspond with your broader D & I goals. For example, if one of your D & I goals is to advance more women into leadership positions, then consider adding mentoring and sponsorship programs, an on-ramping (gradual return to work from leave) program, and a gender-neutral leave policy…

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