Category Archives: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

How Men Can Be More Inclusive Leaders

Source: David G. Smith, W. Brad Johnson, and Lisen Stromberg, Harvard Business Review, May 12, 2021
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Despite the Covid-19 “Shecession,” which has driven millions of women out of the workforce, women are the majority of the college-educated talent pool. Because of this, male leaders — and men more broadly — must pursue gender inclusion and equity through deliberate allyship with women. There are four inclusive leadership strategies male leaders should follow. First, get comfortable being uncomfortable. Have the humility to know that there’s much you don’t know about others’ experiences. Second, make inclusive leadership personal and visible. Your messaging should come from the heart, and it must be personal and authentic. Third, design transparency into your workplace by being clear about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how you’re progressing. Finally, design accountability into your workplace. Ensure your governance policies align with your inclusion goals, and extend diversity and representation requirements to your suppliers and customers.

4 Lessons for Building Diverse Teams

Source: Naomi Wheeless, Harvard Business Review, May 17, 2021
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Companies often hire the exact same type of employee over and over. The thinking is that if employee X is doing a great job and everyone gets along with them, then the smart thing to do must be to hire more people exactly like them. This mentality leads to hiring managers seeking out candidates that identically mirror their existing workforce. They’ll look for the same educational background and skillsets, source from the same narrow list of companies, and look for similar personality traits during interviews. Before you know it, you end up with an entire staff that looks, thinks, and — to a degree — acts almost exactly the same. Not only does this tend to result in a reduction in diversity of thought (among other aspects of diversity), but it can prevent the company from realizing its true potential. Fresh new perspectives are necessary to bring forth bold new ideas, challenge long-standing internal thinking, and provide a more complete internal representation of the customer base.

Effecting Real Progress in Executive Diversity and Inclusion

Source: Adam Payne and Dana Kaminstein, MIT Sloan Management Review, February 24, 2021
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Why diversity and inclusion efforts often fail to produce the intended changes, and proactive approaches leaders can take.

Well-run companies expect good returns on their spending, and leaders who continue to support initiatives that don’t produce results usually find themselves demoted or fired. So why have the billions of dollars that many organizations have spent on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts produced so little substantive progress toward greater diversity?

Numerous reports indicate that the percentage of Black people in the leadership ranks of large U.S. companies hovers at just above 3%. This percentage remains persistently low despite large investments in diversity and inclusion training, the creation of offices of diversity and inclusion, and other companywide initiatives. Studies now indicate that DEI training rarely improves an organization’s record of hiring or promoting Black people. Companies that bemoan a dearth of qualified Black candidates for leadership roles rarely consider that the hiring process itself may disqualify potential applicants of color.

Aware of the ways in which organizations defend themselves against change that threatens their social structures, philosopher and social theorist Donald Schön noted that organizations will “fight like mad to stay the same.”…

Breaking the Cycle of Bias That Works Against Women Leaders

Source: Maryam Kouchaki, Burak Oc, and Ekaterina Netchaeva, MIT Sloan Management Review, March 31, 2021
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Women are presented job opportunities differently than men — depending on the hiring manager’s political ideology.

It turns out that gender bias in hiring and advancement is more pervasive than we thought.

While progress has certainly been made toward workplace gender parity — some companies, for example, are writing more gender-balanced performance reviews — the reality is that women are still underrepresented in private-sector leadership positions. There are likely multiple drivers of this. Outright discrimination — denying women jobs on the basis of their gender rather than their skill sets — is certainly one. But another, harder-to-detect factor can contribute to the leadership gap: the tendency of some organizational decision makers to subtly dissuade women from pursuing leadership roles….

Related:
It’s a man’s world! The role of political ideology in the early stages of leader recruitment
Source: Burak Oc, Ekaterina Netchaeva, Maryam Kouchaki, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 162, January 2021
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Highlights
• Conservatives describe a leadership position less positively to a female candidate.
• Liberals do not demonstrate such gender bias.
• Conservatives experience greater anxiety when communicating with female candidates.
• Anxious decision makers describe the position less positively to candidates.

Abstract:
Previous research has demonstrated the impact of political ideology on a wide variety of psychological and behavioral processes. Contributing to this research, we examine the effect of organizational decision makers’ political ideology and job candidates’ gender on how the decision makers communicate information about leadership positions to the candidate. In five studies, we demonstrate that decision makers who are more conservative exhibit gender bias by providing a female (versus male) candidate with a less positive description of a leadership position, an effect driven by the decision makers’ felt anxiety. We further show that making information on women’s success in leadership positions salient diminishes the effect of political ideology insofar as both more and less conservative decision makers will exhibit similar levels of positivity when communicating with a prospective female candidate. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.

Why the Rise of Remote Work May Help Companies Become More Diverse — and More Inclusive

Source: Samantha McLaren, LinkedIn Talent Blog, February 3, 2021

For companies that were able to transition predominantly to remote work at the outset of the pandemic, the past year has brought countless new discoveries and realizations. This is reflected in the still-evolving attitudes toward remote work: In December 2020, PwC found that 83% of employers felt the shift was a success, compared to 73% in June. What’s more, 52% of executives now report that employees are more productive than they were before the pandemic, up from 44% in the earlier survey.

A surprise bump in productivity isn’t the only unexpected outcome to emerge from this challenging situation. Some companies are recognizing that remote work could make it easier to attract and hire underrepresented talent that might not be abundant where their office is located. At the same time, many employees from underrepresented groups are hailing work-from-home as a stepping stone to greater inclusivity, helping them to bring their whole selves to work without facing unnecessary obstacles.

As you start to think about what happens after the pandemic, here are a few reasons why adopting a hybrid or fully remote workforce model in the long run could support your diversity, inclusion, and belonging efforts.

Remote work is the next diversity frontier

Source: Paul Estes, Fast Company, March 11, 2020

Organizations that don’t actively support remote work are limiting their capacity to engage with top talent.

…Every company wants to promote diversity and inclusion. In every industry, firms are creating executive-level chief diversity officer roles, and those people are tasked with running diversity and inclusion programs. Yet, those same companies do not yet understand the importance of making remote work a key part of their diversity and inclusion strategy.

Location as an element of diversity is not yet part of the conversation. It really needs to be.

Too much diversity policy is based on a desire for compliance, not on a genuine wish to restructure the way teams function. Did anyone ever do anything truly worthwhile because they wanted to avoid a lawsuit? The system gets in the way of what it’s supposed to accomplish because the underlying imperative is to take risk out of the equation….