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Washington, DC – October 21, 2020 –The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance will hold its Annual Conference, Moments of Impact: Transforming Organizational Culture at 12:00 noon EST on Thursday, November 5. The event, held virtually this year, will bring together leaders and experts in diversity and flexible working and share cutting-edge strategies critical to the transformation of the future of the workplace. Registration is open to the public and more information is available here.

“In this challenging year, diversity and flexibility are at the forefront of every organization’s priorities. We believe these issues will be essential to reimagining the future of the workplace, now and post pandemic,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “We will provide attendees with the latest trends and best practices in flexible working and leave policies, guidance from diversity experts, and insights from leaders and peers. Anyone passionate about transforming his or her organization’s culture should be part of this conversation,” she added.

Leaders, General Counsel, Diversity Directors, Human Resources executives and Chairs from corporations like Booz Allen Hamilton, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, trade associations, financial services firms, and prominent law firms, will share personal experiences and valuable insights into their visions for the future of work. The Alliance will reveal the latest research and trends in diversity & inclusion and work flexibility, as well as innovative leave policies.

Susan Neely, President & CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) will receive the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s 2020 Luminary Award, which honors a global thought leader who is consistently and uniquely devoted to the advancement of diversity and whose vision is leaving a lasting legacy of inclusivity for future leaders. (See detailed press release here.)

Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40, will present this year’s keynote, Its All About the People, and will share his people-first philosophy that has consistently resulted in 93% employee engagement. Other highlights from diversity and inclusion thought leaders include: How to Make this Time Different presented by Verna Myers, Vice President of Inclusion Strategies, Netflix; and, How to Secure a Seat at the Table featuring Minda Harts, author of The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Do to Secure a Seat at the Table.

Forty-six law firms with 50% or more women in their 2020 new partner class will be recognized with the Tipping the Scales award in recognition of their commitment to the advancement of women.

The Alliance will also present the following awards to individuals, leaders, and organizations that are leading the way in successfully implementing flexible work:

  • The 2020 Flex Leader Award will be presented to Barri Rafferty, Executive Vice President, Head of Communications, Wells Fargo for her extraordinary commitment to flexibility and her personal philosophy that allowing all employees to work on their own flexible schedule creates increased employee empowerment and engagement. (See detailed press release here.)
  • The 2020 Flex Impact Award, which recognizes initiatives that are poised to have a significant impact on the culture of flexibility, will be presented to law firms, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Katten, Muchin Rosenman LLP. (See detailed press release here.)
  • The 2020 Flex Success Award, acknowledges law firm partners who achieve success while working a reduced hours schedule and their clients who have been integral to making their flexibility a success. This year’s honorees are Sharon Newlon, Member, Dickinson Wright and her client Sara von Bernthal, Senior Counsel, Real Estate, Office of the General Counsel, FCA USA LLC; Lucy Bickford, Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP and her client Andrea Coloff, Regional Fiduciary Officer, Bank of America Private Bank; and, Emma Mata, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and her client Suzanne Davies, Vice President, Legal & Corporate Secretary, Ensign Energy Services Inc. (see detailed press release here.)

The Diversity & 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

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Awards to be presented at Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Conference on November 5

Washington, DC – October 21, 2020 — The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance announced today that its 2020 Flex Impact Award Honorees are law firms, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Katten, Muchin Rosenman LLP. The Flex Impact Awards, which recognize initiatives that demonstrate a significant impact on the culture of workplace flexibility, will be presented during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference on Thursday, November 5, 2020. Registration information is available here.

Akin Gump

Akin Gump was selected because of its comprehensive flexible working initiative that is supported by an exceptionally strong and effective infrastructure. Akin Gump’s program is unique in that it includes a high level of accountability, technology, tracking, training, communication and support for employees. Last year, prior to the onset of COVID-19, the firm hired additional technology support staff and upgraded technology capabilities and equipment to better serve those working remotely and traveling. Firm chairperson Kim Koopersmith and Practice Group Managers across the firm routinely track flex usage and productivity, and flexibility is a permanent variable in the firm’s evaluation process. Additionally, since the onset of the pandemic, Ms. Koopersmith has sent regular firm-wide emails offering support and empathy for employees juggling working remotely with caregiving.

“At Akin Gump, we have long understood that being an inclusive firm means believing that we can provide seamless and exceptional service to our clients while respecting the need for flexibility in how our work is done,” said Ms. Koopersmith. “We have never been more appreciative of our longstanding commitment to flexibility and support for agile working arrangements than in these challenging times.  We long ago made sure that our employees were well-supported and had access to all of the tools needed to be productive both in and out of the office. That has been a huge advantage and one that has served us well. Not only has it proved successful in meeting our clients’ needs, but our most valuable contributors—our people—have felt the support of a firm that truly cares,” she added. “We are absolutely thrilled to be a recipient of the Flex Impact Award, and will use it to help sustain and further the culture of flexibility and inclusiveness that we’ve worked hard to instill throughout the firm.”

“We selected Akin Gump for its innovative and comprehensive flexible working initiative,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Akin Gump prioritized programs and policies that established flexibility as a tenant of its firm culture. In doing so, the firm serves as an example of how a commitment to a flexible work environment, bolstered by firm-wide infrastructure and leadership buy-in, can lead to increased productivity, client satisfaction, employee retention, and firm morale,” she added.

Katten

Katten was selected for its four-week, paid sabbatical initiative that is offered to all Associates once they have completed their fifth year and met their hours’ requirement two out of the three previous years. This initiative, which has been in place since 2012, has allowed Associates to take a trip, dive into a personal project or extend a family leave. All Associates take advantage of this benefit and many plan for the time off long in advance. Katten has also reinforced its philosophy of flexibility by sharing consistent messaging from leadership, providing wellness information, offering parental coaching and caregiver support, and surveying to identify needs during COVID-19.

“The Associate Sabbatical Program reflects the supportive firm culture and flexible work environment we have developed at Katten. The program is one way we reward our Associates for their dedication, and it is a means of enhancing their work-life balance. By offering them the opportunity to temporarily step away from their daily work responsibilities, we give them a chance to recharge and come back to work re-energized,” said Katten Chief Executive Officer Noah S. Heller.

“We are very honored to receive the Flex Impact Award because it spotlights Katten’s deep commitment to providing policies, programs and resources that let our attorneys know they are valued, assist in their career progression, and ultimately empower them to reach their full potential. These offerings help us recruit and retain top talent and boost morale as well as the productivity and creativity of those serving the legal needs of our clients,” Heller said.

“Katten’s four-week Associate Sabbatical is a testament to the firm’s commitment to its people and their well being,” said Morales.  “We were impressed by the fact that all Associates offered the sabbatical take it, indicating that firm leadership truly supports the benefits of taking time off to reset. This people-first mentality, endorsed by Katten’s leadership, creates a work environment that is flexible, unbiased, creative and empowering.”

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

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Flex Leader Award to be presented During Virtual Conference on November 5

Washington, DC – October 21, 2020 – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance has announced that Barri Rafferty, Executive Vice President, Head of Communications, Wells Fargo will receive its 2020 Flex Leader Award. The Flex Leader Award recognizes an executive who is moving his or her organization toward a more inclusive workplace through holistic flexibility. The Award will be presented on Thursday, November 5, 2020, during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference Moments of Impact: Transforming Organizational Culture. Registration is available here.

Ms. Rafferty was selected because of her extraordinary commitment to flexibility and her personal philosophy that allowing all employees to work on their own flexible schedule creates increased employee empowerment and engagement. In her previous role as Global President & CEO of Ketchum Public Relations, Ms. Rafferty led the development and implementation of an initiative that enabled the entire agency to transition to 100% flexible work schedules. Every team member, in every office worldwide, was offered the opportunity to work when and where he or she chose. Ms. Rafferty ensured that the same level of flexibility was available to employees of all levels and personally confirmed compliance across the board by meeting with senior management, providing annual flexible working trainings and implementing pulse polls to track success. Over four years with the new working structure, the agency saw an increase in productivity, employee satisfaction, engagement, team cohesion, retention and recruitment.

“Barri’s story is the perfect case study for how to successfully incorporate holistic flexible working options into an organization’s culture,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Barri believes in a flexible workplace that leverages workplace flexibility to meet the needs of all employees.  The Alliance is pleased to honor Barri with our Flex Leader Award, for her exemplary leadership and share her vision for creating a more inclusive culture that values workplace flexibility as a business imperative.”

“At no cost to a company, flexibility can be the highest value perk you can offer to employees,” said Barri Rafferty.  “When employees have control of their schedules to plan work life integration, you increase their productivity, engagement and their work product. Flexibility became both a recruiting and retention tool for us,” she added.

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible working policies that promote inclusive 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

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

Award to be presented at the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Virtual Conference on November 5

Washington, DC – October 21, 2020 – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance will honor Susan K. Neely, President & CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), with its 2020 Luminary Award. This award recognizes a global thought leader who is consistently and uniquely devoted to the advancement of diversity and whose vision is leaving a lasting legacy of inclusivity for future leaders. The Alliance will present the award to Ms. Neely on Thursday, November 5, 2020, during its virtual annual conference Moments of Impact: Transforming Organizational Culture. Registration is available here.

Ms. Neely is being recognized for her significant contributions to the advancement of women and diverse professionals within her industry and beyond. Throughout her career, she has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to volunteering her time and leadership skills to initiatives aimed at impacting gender parity as well as diversity and inclusion. She recently announced the launch of the ACLI Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity initiative aimed at helping all Americans access tools and resources to help them thrive and succeed. In addition, she currently serves on the Steering Committee of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Equality of Opportunity Initiative, which is developing solutions to bridge opportunity gaps to ensure that people of color have greater opportunities to succeed. As President & CEO of ACLI, Ms. Neely also helped lead the first-ever Women & Diversity in Insurance Conference last February, which focused on the economic empowerment of women, the advancement of women in leadership, family medical leave and diversity and inclusion within the industry.

In addition to her impressive career, which includes senior positions in the George W. Bush White House and the first U.S. Homeland Security Department, advising Members of Congress, and more recently at the helm of the American Beverage Association, Ms. Neely has been recognized as the Trade Association CEO of the Year by CEO Update, one of Washingtonian’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business, as well as the first woman president of the Washington Rotary Club and The University Club of Washington.

“The Alliance is thrilled to present Susan with our Luminary Award,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “Susan embodies everything this award represents. In the organizations she has led and the positions she has held, Susan has demonstrated a strong commitment to the economic empowerment of women and to creating a flexible and inclusive workplace that values everyone. Her forward thinking approach to diversity, inclusion and workplace flexibility is an inspiration, and we are honored to name Susan as our 2020 Luminary Award recipient.”

“I’m honored to receive this award from the Alliance and commend their work in support of inclusive work cultures and helping more women advance into leadership positions,” Neely said. “I’m also proud to work for an industry whose leaders are committed to addressing economic and racial inequities that have challenged our nation for far too long. Last week, we reaffirmed this commitment with the launch of our Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity initiative. The kick-off of this work is marked by ACLI’s Board of Directors being among the first association boards to have all its members sign the Pledge for CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion. Together, we will help all Americans build habits and knowledge that lead to financial security.”

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

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

2020 Flex Success® Awards to Be Presented to Dickinson Wright,

Schiff Hardin & Seyfarth Shaw Partners & Clients on November 5

Washington, DC – October 21, 2020 – Today the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance announced that its 2020 Flex Success® Award honorees will be: Sharon Newlon, Member, Dickinson Wright and her client Sara von Bernthal, Senior Counsel, Real Estate, Office of the General Counsel, FCA USA LLC; Lucy Bickford, Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP and her client Andrea Coloff, Regional Fiduciary Officer, Bank of America Private Bank; and, Emma Mata, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and her client Suzanne Davies, Vice President, Legal & Corporate Secretary, Ensign Energy Services Inc.

The Flex Success® Award recognizes Partners at Diversity & Flexibility Alliance member law firms who have achieved success while working a reduced hours schedule as well as a client who has been integral to making workplace flexibility so successful. The Awards will be presented on November 5, 2020 during the Alliance’s virtual annual conference, Moments of Impact: Transforming Organizational Culture. Registration is available here.

“With support from their firms, these exceptional attorneys honored with our Flex Success® award have risen to Partnership levels and provided excellent client service while working a reduced hours schedule,” said Manar Morales, President and CEO of the Alliance. “The clients we are recognizing have demonstrated their belief that success can be achieved outside the confines of a traditional work schedule. Together, these attorney/client pairs are perfect examples of how leadership, collaboration, and clear flex policies can lead to the achievement of both professional and personal goals.”

Sharon Newlon and Sara von Bernthal

Sharon Newlon, Member and Practice Group Co-Chair for Environmental, Energy & Sustainability in Dickinson Wright’s Detroit office, has been working a reduced hour schedule since the birth of her son twenty-two years ago and currently works a 75% reduced hour schedule. Recognized as a leader in her field by Best Lawyers in America, Sharon was instrumental in creating an initiative that allowed income members the option to become consulting members, with a negotiable billable hour requirement, in an effort to introduce flexibility into their careers. Sharon’s longtime client, Sara von Bernthal, Senior Counsel, Real Estate, Office of the General Counsel, FCA USA LLC, will also be honored for her ongoing support of Sharon and her schedule.

“I’m honored to receive the Flex Success® Award alongside Sara von Bernthal from FCA,” said Sharon Newlon. “Throughout my career, flexibility has been a cornerstone of building a rewarding practice within the legal industry. I’m grateful to Dickinson Wright, my colleagues and clients for being such great partners with me to create relationships that helped us attain our professional and personal goals,” she added.

“I’m honored to receive the Flex Success® Award alongside Sharon,” said Sara von Bernthal. “I’ve worked with Sharon for many years and we both know how important a flexible workplace is to female lawyers, especially working moms. I hope that promoting flexibility within our respective companies will lead to younger generations, especially women, realizing that they can have rewarding, successful careers that achieve their professional and personal goals.”

“Dickinson Wright congratulates Sharon Newlon and Sara von Bernthal on their well-deserved Flex Success® Award,” said Michael C. Hammer, CEO of Dickinson Wright. “Dickinson Wright is committed to working with our lawyers and clients to develop initiatives that promote flexibility within the workplace. We recognize that these important initiatives allow talented lawyers, like Sharon, to do their best work while assisting clients, like Sara, in furthering their diversity objectives while receiving the highest quality legal services. We look forward to working with them to build on their successful partnership.”

Lucy Bickford and Andrea Coloff

Also being honored with the 2020 Flex Success® Award are Lucy Bickford, Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP and her client Andrea Coloff, Regional Fiduciary Officer, Bank of America Private Bank. Lucy has been working a reduced hours schedule for more than seven years and currently works an 85% reduced hours arrangement. Lucy became a partner in January 2019 and credits her advancement to her reduced hours schedule that allowed her to cultivate a sustainable long-term path for her career at Schiff Hardin.

 In 2014, Lucy co-founded Schiff Hardin’s New Moms Group, a go-to network for women returning to work after having a child and advocates on behalf of all attorney parents at the firm, regardless of gender. In 2017, Lucy was chosen as one of the firm’s participants in the LCLD Pathfinder Program, designed for diverse, high-potential, early-career attorneys at LCLD Member organizations.

“Far from being a detriment to my career, my part-time arrangement is the key to having a sustainable long-term path at Schiff,” said Lucy Bickford. “By continuing to strengthen our firm’s flex policies, we will enhance our inclusive culture and solidify realistic and preferable career paths for a broader group of attorneys,” she added. “Andi helps to support my arrangement by setting reasonable and flexible deadlines, even when the matter is time sensitive. Additionally, she is responsive and inclusive in her communications, so our team can rely on her to help us move matters forward efficiently.”

“Lucy’s work product and advice are always excellent. As a working parent myself, I appreciate the importance of flexibility and balance, but I was not even aware of Lucy’s flexible work schedule when we first began working together because it is imperceptible to me as a client. I am so glad that Schiff has made this commitment to diversity and inclusion and that I am able to benefit from and support it,” said Andi Coloff.

“Lucy has proven that you can be a great mom and a great lawyer at the same time,” said Marci Eisenstein, Managing Partner, Schiff Hardin, LLP. “I know that over her years of parenting and working, Lucy has juggled her responsibilities and found ways to balance work and home life. She has shown that you can work a flexible schedule and still be fully committed to your clients and the firm.  We are very proud of her,” she added.

Emma Mata and Suzanne Davies

Emma Mata, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and her client Suzanne Davies, Vice President, Legal & Corporate Secretary, Ensign Energy Services Inc. will also be honored with the 2020 Flex Success Award on November 5. Emma has been working a reduced hours arrangement of 10% below the annual requirement since she was an Associate in 2011. While on this reduced hours schedule, Emma has been able to make Partner and develop and grow her book of business to yearly receivables of over $1 million. Emma is the Houston office leader of Seyfarth’s Inclusion and Diversity team, former Houston office leader of the Seyfarth Women’s Network, and co-leader of the Houston office Pro Bono team.

Emma and Suzanne have been working together since 2009 and Suzanne has continuously relied on Emma in legal work for Ensign and its subsidiary and affiliate companies contributing to Emma’s continued success at Seyfarth. “The ability to balance my most important role at home and the legal career that I love so much has made me a better mom, a better lawyer, and a happier person,” said Emma Mata.

“As a mom to 8-year old twin boys, flexibility in my career is essential. It requires planning and no small amount of juggling as well. Partnering with external service providers who understand and support that flexibility, such as Emma, help to make my work flow seamless and manageable,” said Suzanne Davies

“We’re so proud of Emma and the impressive career she has established here at Seyfarth,” said Ellen McLaughlin, chair of Seyfarth Women’s Network. “Her own path exemplifies why supporting flexibility is key to gender advancement and talent development.”

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 for all 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

manar@dfalliance.com

202-957-9650

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 collect and use data during the pandemic, contact Manar Morales

Award to be presented at Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Conference on November 7

Washington, DC – October 1, 2019 – The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance has announced that Jennifer M. Flynn, Managing Vice President, Head of the Small Business Bank (SBB) Division at Capital One, will receive its 2019 Flex Leader Award. The Flex Leader Award recognizes an executive who is moving his or her organization toward a more inclusive workplace through holistic flexibility. The Award will be presented on Thursday, November 7, 2019, at the Alliance’s annual conference Inspire. Innovate. Ignite! in Washington, DC. Registration is available here.

Ms. Flynn was selected for her leadership role in helping to create an organizational culture that focuses on inclusivity, encouraging authenticity, investing in future leaders, embracing differences and promoting flexible working options. As a parent, Ms. Flynn has not only benefitted from her own flexible working schedule, but she is also committed to helping countless other employees find more balance in their professional and personal lives. According to Working Mother’s Best Companies 2018 report, 60 percent of Capital One employees telecommute, and the company’s leaders and managers are trained to consider the work life and flexibility concerns of their associates. Additionally, Capital One is extremely supportive of women (who make up more than 50% of employees) and consistently earns a spot on the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list.

“When I met Jenn, I was struck by her dedication to ensuring that Capital One maintains its truly inclusive culture and that employees have access to a flexible schedule,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “She is passionate about supporting and mentoring her colleagues and by modeling the behaviors the company values, Jenn has been able to help build a culture where people feel engaged and empowered.”

“I believe that as leaders, it is our job to create and foster an inclusive and flexible work environment that allows us to attract, retain and develop talent, which, quite simply, results in a happier employee population and better work products,” said Ms. Flynn. “I am fortunate to work for a company that prioritizes its people. Capital One’s emphasis on humanity lays the foundation for building this kind of environment, allowing me to have an extremely rewarding career while holding my daughter as my top priority. Our business is better because of how we work and, as a result, so are our customers. I am incredibly honored to receive the Flex Leader Award and humbled to be surrounded by great leaders who promote a flexible and inclusive work environment and an organization with that same mission.”

Prior to becoming the Business Leader for Capital One’s Small Business Bank Division in June 2018, Ms. Flynn spent 18 months as the Chief Financial Officer for Capital One’s International and Small Business Division. She joined Capital One in 2015 as the Chief Financial Officer for Capital One Healthcare, which was acquired from GE Capital, and played a key leadership role in the integration. Her background also includes finance leadership positions at GE Capital and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Jenn is actively engaged on the Executive Steering Committee for Capital One’s Women’s Business Resource Group and has been named one of Working Mother magazine’s “Working Mothers of the Year.”

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 202-957-9650 or manar@dfalliance.com for more information.

Our Spotlight on Flex showcases professionals from member organizations who exemplify personal and professional success while working a flexible schedule. Their stories illustrate the long-term benefits that flexible schedules offer to both individuals and organizations.

For February 2019, we are pleased to share insights from Andrea BrockwayCounsel, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr (Philadelphia, PA).

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: How have you made flexibility a priority and a success with your career? How has the firm supported this?

Andrea Brockway: I started at the firm as a full-time litigation associate in 2008 after graduating from Temple Law School. In late 2010, I switched to a reduced hours schedule after the birth of my first child. The firm had a formal flex policy in place when I asked to reduce my hours, and my request was approved. Since switching to flex eight years ago, I’m now the proud mother of four children and have maintained a successful litigation practice representing clients in higher education and white collar criminal defense. The firm and my colleagues have always been supportive of my flexible work arrangement because they trust I’m going to complete the work and do it well.As a litigator, my work and deadlines vary day to day, but I try to block off Fridays to focus on my family. Even though the nature of litigation doesn’t always fit that schedule, my flex hours enable me to decline non-essential meetings scheduled on Fridays. My coworkers understand because they know I’ll always attend to my work commitments on time.

When it comes to flex, it’s not just the reduced hours, but it’s also the flexible work environment that’s been helpful for me. The firm has been very supportive of me working remotely where feasible. This locational flexibility allows me to save on commute time and also affords me the ability to work before/after traditional office hours.

I make flex a priority through communication and organization. All of my commitments are calendared – whether it’s a court deadline or bringing Valentine’s Day treats to my pre-schooler’s classroom. Everything is scheduled, and I’m available via my cell phone or email. I recently started using an app called iTimeKeep to help me stay organized and on top of my commitments. It’s been extremely beneficial for my time management and prioritizing tasks throughout the day.

Read more

Tips for Managing a Team When You’re Working a Flexible Schedule

This article by Manar Morales was published on ThriveGlobal.com on November 29, 2018.

It’s one of the most important traits found in good leaders. They lead by example. Never is this more important than when the leader is working a flexible schedule. The fact is there are certain behaviors that are necessary to successfully working a flexible schedule. And, if you’re managing a team while working a flexible schedule, it’s your responsibility to model these behaviors to interrupt flex stigma and unconscious bias, and set the tone for the rest of your team.

 

Laying the Foundation for the Business Case

As a former employment litigator, an adjunct professor and now as the President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, I have advised and coached hundreds of individuals and organizations on flex-related issues during my twenty-plus-year career. In every case, the success or failure of a flexibility initiative has depended on the actions, commitment and support of leadership. Leaders must begin by laying the foundation for the business case for flexibility. It’s essential that they communicate with all employees that the flex initiative is a business imperative and essential for the recruitment and retention of top talent.

 

Embracing the Cultural Shift

For a flexible work initiative to be successful and to benefit all employees, leaders need to guide a shift in organizational culture to one that sincerely supports and embraces flexibility. Research shows that while many organizations offer a flexible schedule, only a small percentage of the workforce take advantage of the policies. Education and training on flexibility can help close this gap between policy and practice and help to shift the culture of an organization

 

Trust in Your Team is Paramount

While leaders play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the flex initiative, the responsibility should be shared with the entire team and leaders must be able to trust their team. As Dell’s Global Director of Human Resources, Mohammed “Mo” Chahdi, explains, “In a flexible work environment, leaders must make a conscious decision to trust their team members and to hold them accountable for their outcomes, rather than trying to control them on a day to day basis.” Dell has demonstrated a clear commitment to flexibility as a key component of its culture and their leadership team has led the initiative by working remotely and modeling the behaviors that give it legitimacy.

 

Leading By Example

So how can leaders “walk the talk” on flexibility? Once they have laid the foundation for the flexibility initiative, there are five key flexible work behaviors leaders should model:

  1. Maintain Visibility

There is often an assumption that being productive equates with being in the office, despite the fact that there are just as many distractions in the office as there are outside of it. Professionals who work remotely need to take proactive steps to counteract this misperception by maintaining their presence and their visibility. Be strategic and take advantage of the days you are physically present to develop relationships, participate in events and spend one-on-one time with colleagues.

 

  1. Communicate Proactively

Stay in touch with your team members, keep tabs on all projects and respond to emails and phone calls in a timely manner. Keep in mind, however, that being responsive is not enough. Professionals who work remotely have to be especially proactive with their communications. Supervisors must be more intentional about sharing timely feedback (to avoid the “out of sight, out of mind” tendency) and should be sensitive to the method of delivery of feedback.

 

  1. Be Transparent but Seemless

As a leader working a flexible schedule, it’s important to be accessible. Your team should know how to reach you and should feel comfortable contacting you. Clearly communicate your office hours and make sure you are accessible when you say you are. Make sure someone on your team knows where you are and how to reach you at all appropriate times. Be as transparent as possible about your schedule as it provides your team members with affirmation of their own flexible schedules.

 

  1. Leverage Technology

Make sure you are leveraging all available technologies that enable real-time communication such as chat and messaging features. Additionally, video conferencing should be utilized as often as possible to get face-to-face with your team and create “water cooler moments.” Schedule sharing technologies are useful for sharing real-time availability. While these technologies may seem simple, they can make a meaningful difference in communicating with your team.

 

  1. Be Adaptable

We like to call it “flexible flexibility.” It’s important that you are open to shifting your schedule when needed to fit the needs of your team or clients. Being flexible implies some give and take. In the context of working remotely, this includes demonstrating a willingness to adjust when you need to physically be in the office. It does not, however, mean accepting repeated submission of your schedule to false urgencies or stigmatized views of working outside of the office. To avoid rigidity either way, clearly communicate organizational expectations and work priorities.

 

As Mo Chahdi says “You have to be collaborative and efficient with people you can’t see, and as a leader you have to model this effective collaboration.” Clearly, this new way of collaborating is evolving into a new and improved workplace culture that can reap huge benefits for individuals as well as organizations.

 

Contact Manar Morales for more guidance on flexible work initiatives and how to find your own flex success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 order to recruit and retain top talent, organizations need to offer flexible work options to stay competitive. One of these options, telecommuting, has increased in use and popularity, and millennials in particular value, desire, and expect the ability to telecommute. As organizations become more global and more employees need to travel and work off-site, telecommuting has moved from a form of flexible work to being a business operations necessity. Organizations are also utilizing telecommuting as a way to cut real estate and overhead costs. When employers provide resources and support to help telecommuters succeed, they set themselves apart in terms of recruitment, retention, and productivity.

Employers should clearly communicate tactics and provide support to help remote workers succeed, both in terms of fostering effective team and individual productivity, as well as long-term career success. But like all forms of flexibility, successful telecommuting is a two-way street. Telecommuters need to: maintain visibility by having an active presence, foster relationships with key sponsors and mentors, be responsive, communicate their workload, proactively solicit feedback, be flexible about schedules, and maintain a professional workspace in order to reduce distractions and maintain focus…

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