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While our annual conference is virtual this year, one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to bringing an incredible line-up of inspirational speakers to share their expertise and unique insights.

 

Today, we’re honored to introduce you to one of these dynamic and engaging leaders, Jay Selanders, Chair of Kutak Rock. Jay will be joining us this Thursday to share his vision for the future of the workplace and how we can all incorporate diversity and flexibility into our organizational cultures. We’re thrilled to share some of Jay’s personal and career advice:

 

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance: What was the most meaningful piece of leadership advice you have received? 

 

Jay Selanders: Take care of your people.  

 

DFA: Who has had the most influence on your career? 

 

JS: My wife. She is my trusted advisor.

 

DFA: What have you learned during COVID that has changed your perspective?  

 

JS: How resilient people are and how much we miss social interaction with our colleagues.

 

DFA: How do you recharge? Where and when are you most content?  

 

JS: Enjoying our adult children–playing with our 3 year old grandson is the best!

 

DFA: What do you know now that you wish you knew then?    

 

JS: How fast everything changes.

 

DFA: How do you pay it forward?  

 

JS: Presenting opportunities as often as possible.
DFA: What can we be doing to create more inclusive organizations?  

 

JS: An ongoing quest—Real inclusiveness means all, not just some, and creating an environment that encourages civil discussion without judgment.

 

DFA: How has flexibility impacted your life? 

 

JS: Generally speaking, more flexibility is good. It allows improvisation and swift reaction.

 

DFA: How has your experience been with COVID-related remote work? 

 

JS: Thanks to a lot of hard work and planning over the last several years, the Firm has enjoyed a mostly positive experience moving to remote work. Issues still come up but our people are resilient and have responded extremely well.

 

DFA: What book is on your nightstand? 

 

JS: The Person You Mean To Be by Dolly Chugh. Our entire Executive Committee just finished reading and discussing it.

 

Join us this Thursday, November 5 at noon to hear more from
Jay and all of our amazing and inspiring speakers! Register now.

In an effort to inform and inspire our members and friends, we often share diversity and flexibility Bright Spots – those small or large successes that impact an 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

Kutak Rock’s operating procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic are clear Bright Spots that demonstrate its people-first philosophy. Before the COVID-19 National Emergency was declared on March 13, 2020, the firm’s Regional Managing Partner for D.C. and Virginia had begun discussions with firm leadership about operating procedures aimed at keeping people safe at home and working. The procedures, which remain today and apply to all staff and attorneys, allowed for 100% remote working on a “reason-neutral” basis.

Kutak Rock leadership worked with each employee on a case-by-case basis to ensure that everyone continued to be productive and maintain their positions and their employment status while working remotely.  The focus continues to be on keeping all employees and offices safe from COVID (first and foremost) and helping every individual become productive in this unique COVID work environment.

The firm also made it a priority to provide several training sessions focused on remote learning, including:

  1. A weekly set of training options about the logistics of remote work (submitting time, setting up a printer, security, etc.);
  2. A seminar attended by over 90% of the firm’s associates focused on ongoing professional development in a remote work environment;
  3. Annual inclusiveness training with information about creating inclusive working teams in remote and hybrid remote/in-person environments; and,
  4. A session with firm leadership with information about building teams in a remote or hybrid remote/in-person environment.

In addition, the firm created a guide for employees and a guide for leadership with tips for working remotely. All employees were also provided a resource kit with information about inclusiveness and bias in remote environments.

In keeping with its “people-first” mindset, the firm continues to communicate with employees on a regular basis about the performance of the firm in an effort to relieve anxiety and stress caused by COVID-related uncertainty and countless legal industry articles talking about furloughs, lay-offs, and firms with difficult financial situations.  The firm also, repeatedly, reminds employees to take care of their mental and physical health.  The firm sent information about benefits available to all employees related to mental and physical health and has created a Mindfulness Group that has met every Friday since the beginning of April.

Kutak Rock has made it a priority to maintain its commitment to diversity and inclusion during the shut-down. Since March 11, the firm has finished all of the tactics in its three-year inclusiveness, diversity, and engagement strategic plan, developed the goals and tactics for its new three-year strategic plan, and has had the plan approved by the Executive Committee.  In addition, the firm ran its annual training program (by Zoom) with well over half of the firm attending and 80+% of leadership attending.  Affinity groups continue to meet and new initiatives have been added.

IMPACT

While some Kutak Rock offices have allowed employees to return to the office for limited amounts of time and a targeted purpose in recent weeks, almost all employees continue to work remotely. Many employees voiced their appreciation for the firm’s focus on their and their community’s safety.

Over the long-term, the COVID-specific operating procedures will be transformed into a flexible working arrangement policy similar to the current procedures. The primary goals will continue to be focused on allowing flexible working arrangements, on a reason-neutral basis, while also maintaining the function of the team in a way that supports the clients, individuals and firm.

 

Please share your Diversity & Flexibility Bright Spots with us by downloading and completing THIS SHORT FORM and emailing it to Jane Caldeira at jane@dfalliance.com

We are pleased to welcome our newest Advocate Member, Kutak Rock. Welcome to the Alliance, we are looking forward to collaborating with you!

 

 

For more information on membership, contact Eliza Musallam at eliza@dfalliance.com.