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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

 

Many organizations are instituting a hybrid work environment post-pandemic, in which employees will spend some time working in the office and some time working from home. The pandemic has forced organizations that never considered remote work to allow for more flexibility. While hybrid work is definitely a silver lining from the pandemic, organizations will need to develop the right infrastructure and employees need to understand and implement new work behaviors in order to succeed in this new environment.

We created a number of action steps focused on ways organizations should create infrastructure in order to lead to successful hybrid work environments, including: Creating a Successful Onboarding and Integration Program, Building Your Training Program to Support Your Post-Pandemic Hybrid Work Environment, Maintaining Mentoring & Connection in a Hybrid Environment, and Overcoming the Myth of the Loss of 5Cs By Building the Right Flex Infrastructure. Now we want to focus on ways employees can take control of their careers and succeed in a hybrid work environment as the rules of engagement will be different. Here are the Alliance’s recommendations:

 

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

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more contact Manar Morales.

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility. Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

 

As organizations revamp their workplace flexibility policies, they should include more employees in these policies.  Prior to the pandemic, many organizations offered vastly different flexibility policies to employees based on seniority/tenure, job responsibilities and/or employment status.  For example, law firms commonly provided much better workplace flexibility options to attorneys compared to professional staff prior to the pandemic.  However, during the pandemic, employers needed to provide remote work options to many employees who never had that option in the past.  Many of these employees greatly valued and thrived with this newfound flexibility, autonomy and trust. As organizations redesign their workplace flexibility policies, it is important to make these policies more widely available and equitable amongst a broad range of employees.  Some action steps to consider include:

 

  1. Audit Roles & Responsibilities: The first step when revamping your flexibility policy is to audit all roles to see who can participate. When doing so, it is important to only focus on the job function – i.e. can an employee perform their job function effectively while working flexibly?  Performance issues must be addressed individually so that opportunities for an entire group of employees in that function do not suffer.

 

  1. Think Creatively: Next, think creatively regarding your audit. Which employee roles were deemed unable to perform effectively while working flexibly?  Are there ways you can make structural/organizational changes so that flexibility can be offered?  For example, while some law firms voiced concerns regarding legal secretaries working remotely due to the fact that some tasks are more efficient in the office (i.e. compiling binders; mailing; printing), others have developed creative solutions to allow assistants to partake in remote work policies, including forming secretarial pools/teams. Changes in the way that individuals contribute to their teams may provide new opportunities for growth and professional development. They may also require additional expectation setting, team integration and training for managers and employees to make the most of new ways to collaborate.

 

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

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more contact Manar Morales.

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility. Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

 

Organizational leaders often mention that workplace flexibility policies must be iterative.  We could not agree more – workplace flexibility policies and practices improve over time from lessons learned.  However, for workplace flexibility policies to be truly iterative, organizations must be intentional and systematic.  Iterative improvement does not occur without processes and systems in place to understand, measure and implement changes to combat challenges and replicate successes.  Here is the Alliance’s 5-Step Process to make sure your workplace flexibility policies/practices are iterative:

  1. Create a Committee on the Future of Work: Many organizations have created a Task Force on the Future of Work, charged with rolling out and implementing new workplace flexibility policies as the pandemic has greatly transformed the landscape on how we work and how we want to work. However, we urge organizations to create this committee to operate for the long-term, meaning at least five years, as opposed to dissolving after the short-term goal of rolling out a new flexibility policy.  An important role of this committee should be to continuously develop and revamp workplace flexibility, by rolling out a new policy, systematically gathering and implementing feedback, and changing necessary infrastructure to make workplace flexibility succeed at the organization.  We also recommend that this committee be diverse, consisting of professionals of different functions, levels and demographics, and also including powerful leadership who can (and will) champion change.

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

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more contact Manar Morales.

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility. Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

As we emerge from the pandemic, the Great Resignation has been taking hold and impacting organizations around the globe.  Many employees have faced stress and burn-out over the past year, trying to balance personal, family and work obligations around the clock without necessary support structures in place.  Simultaneously, many employees gained more work-life control than they ever had during the pandemic, experiencing more regular dinners with family, being able to live in new places and have new adventures while working remotely, and spending more time with children and aging parents than ever before.  These seemingly dichotomous experiences, stress/burn-out and increased work-life autonomy, has led many workers to leave their jobs, which has been coined the Great Resignation.  However, every coin has two sides – resignations at one organization will lead to retention/recruiting benefits at another.  To have the upper hand, organizations need to focus now more than ever on talent development, diversity, inclusion and flexibility.  Here are the Alliance’s recommendations:

  1. Offer More Flexibility: Recent research studies during the pandemic have shown that employees have an increased desire for flexibility. A study in Harvard Business Review[1] sheds light on the desire for flexibility and autonomy – 59% indicated that flexibility is more important than salary/benefits and mentioned that they would not work for a company requiring them to be full-time onsite.  Organizations need to revamp workplace flexibility policies and programs in order to recruit and retain the best talent.

[1] Reisinger, Holger and Fetterer, Dane, “Forget Flexibility.  Your Employees Want Autonomy,” Harvard Business Review, 2021.

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

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more contact Manar Morales.

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility. Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

 

Many organizations are in the process of designing hybrid work environments. While different organizations will need different hybrid work structures to support their unique needs, all organizations need to consider new ways to effectively onboard new employees and make them feel a part of their new organization. Based on our numerous conversations with leaders and employees, we have heard feedback regarding difficulty with integrating new employees during the pandemic. Therefore, organizations need to make sure to carefully think through their pre-arrival and onboarding processes, as well as modifications and additional infrastructure to support successful onboarding and intentional integration.

 

  1. Pre-Arrival and Orientation – Outreach to new hires prior to their arrival to let them know the timing of orientation and what to expect makes for a more comfortable introduction to the firm. Organizations should provide all new employees with an orientation (in-person, virtual, or a combination) on their first day. At a minimum, this orientation should include a message from the CEO/Chair, messages from group leaders, introduction and contacts from all support departments (i.e. IT; Human Resources; Word Processing; Marketing), and any specific organizational processes/procedures (i.e. billing codes; necessary contacts). Subsequently, each new employee should have a lunch/coffee (in-person or virtual) set up with a department leader/supervisor and peer employee.

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

 

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more contact Manar Morales.

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility. Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

 

Many organizations are rethinking their work environment post-pandemic. We learned a great deal during the pandemic regarding workplace flexibility and business continuity, leading many firms and companies to consider hybrid workplaces after the pandemic. While organizations will structure these hybrid work environments differently based upon their unique needs, all organizations will need to carefully think through different support structures and systems that will be needed for the new way of working. The Recommit stage of our Flex Recalibrated Framework discusses these additional support structures that will be needed to make your hybrid work environment succeed, including training. Organizations will need to train employees in order to arm them with new skills to make sure they can succeed in a hybrid world:

 

  1. Individual Strategies for Remote Work Success. Employees who will be working remotely, even part of the time, will need to learn best practices and strategies for being successful in a hybrid/remote work environment. These trainings should include real life examples to make the training more impactful. Teach employees effective ways to maintain connection and receive training in this new environment (i.e. intentionally reaching our/scheduling time with supervisors/colleagues; coming into the office when supervisors/clients come in; proactively asking to debrief after client meetings; maintaining visibility when coming into the office). Trainings should also discuss effective ways to handle challenges, such as communication/responsiveness difficulties, workload allocation challenges, maintaining and building connections, and creating effective boundaries.

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

 

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more contact Manar Morales.

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility. Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

The pandemic has changed how we can work – individuals are rethinking how and where they want to work and organizations are looking at ways to change their flexibility policies and practices to attract, retain and engage top talent. However, in order to reap the many benefits of a more flexible work environment, including improved productivity, satisfaction, work-life control, business continuity and recruiting/retention, organizations need to ensure that controls are in place to identify and overcome stigma associated with flex. These biases, both conscious and unconscious, can derail an organization’s flexible work policies and practices if measures are not instituted to recognize and address them. As organizations revamp their flexible work policies using our Flex Recalibrated Framework, it is important to implement systems and processes to combat stigma (see the Reinforce stage of the framework.) Some measures that we recommend incorporating include:

 

  1. Training. When rolling out a flexible work policy, every organization should incorporate an ongoing training component to its implementation, consisting of best practices for flexible work success, effectively managing flexible teams, and addressing unconscious bias. This unconscious bias training should address the common stigma associated with flexible work, how to make your workforce aware of these biases, as well as effective ways to interrupt biases on your own behalf or on behalf of others.

 

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

 

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more contact Manar Morales.

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility. Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

Many organizations are reimagining their work environment after the pandemic, with flexible work at the heart of the discussion. A number of organizations are planning on instituting a hybrid work environment post-pandemic, based on positive productivity during the pandemic, employee feedback and desire to scale back real estate. A hybrid work environment involves employees working some of the time in the office and some of the time remotely. Organizations considering hybrid work models reap many benefits, but must make sure mentoring and connectivity are embedded in their culture and continuously fostered in order to thrive. To ensure that mentoring and connectivity are preserved within a hybrid workforce, organization should focus on these eight strategies:

 

  1. Training. Organizations should offer trainings on ways to develop mentoring relationships and maintain connections in a hybrid work environment. These skills are not always innate and organizations that provide such trainings will help foster these necessary relationships. Employee trainings should focus on effective ways to proactively build relationships, the need to be prepared and share specific goals, the importance of showing appreciation, and the benefits of developing relationships with many senior professionals. Supervisor trainings should cover the need to be receptive, ways to guide meetings/relationships with junior professionals, guidance on effectively helping with career development, and ways to be creative with mentoring in a hybrid environment.

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

 

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more contact Manar Morales.

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility. Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

 

There is little doubt that flex is here to stay post-pandemic, given employees’ strong desire for it to continue, along with the business benefits of flex, including employee productivity/engagement, business continuity and retention/recruiting which became even more apparent during COVID-19. Our Pulse Poll: Future of Work shows that more than two-thirds of respondents plan on creating/updating their remote work policies post-pandemic.

Despite the fact that more organizations will be expanding flexible work, we have heard resistance to flex from a number of leaders through our conversations, insight interviews and focus groups with many organizations. Interestingly, the opposition to flex can be summed up as the fear of the loss of 5 Cs – loss of control, culture, collaboration, contribution and connection. While the loss of the 5 Cs can most certainly occur without proper flex infrastructure and support, organizations can prevent the loss of the 5Cs and also counter arguments against flex by building proper structures and processes. For flex to be successful, we need to gain leadership support, and we can win leaders over by pointing to infrastructure that prevents the loss of the 5 Cs.

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

 

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To learn more contact Manar Morales.