Featured in today's briefing:
- The case for a personal DEI assessment.
- Remote work can boost the number of women in leadership.
- The best way to use your Fridays.
The Macro Context
- The US gained 311,000 new jobs last month, according to Labor Department data, a higher number than had been anticipated. Wages increased by 0.2% from a month earlier, the smallest increase in a year.
- Some 3.88 million workers quit their jobs in January, the fewest since May 2021.
- New research estimates that independent contractors comprise 15% of all US workers, significantly more than the 7% estimate of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Focus on How Individual Workers Can Use Data to Improve Diversity
“Organizations are composed of people, and if the people do not change, the organization does not change,” says Dr. Randal Pinkett, CEO of the diversity, equity, and inclusion consultancy BCT Partners.
That sentiment is a key tenet of Pinkett’s forthcoming book Data-Driven DEI, which, as the name suggests, offers a framework for workplaces and workers alike to measure their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. With many employers now slashing their DEI programs and staff amid layoffs and budget cuts, the question has taken on new urgency: How can individual employees push themselves to change, and how can they do so in a way that moves their organizations forward? Here are excerpts from our conversation with Pinkett about just that, lightly edited for length and clarity.
You write that people change, not organizations. Can you explain more?
We've done an excellent job of articulating the business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion, why it matters to an organization. We talk about how it impacts the bottom line and how it enhances recruiting and retention, employee engagement, productivity, teamwork, and innovation. The list goes on and on and on. But I don't think we've done as good a job, if any job, of articulating the value to people.
Why should you care about a more diverse, more inclusive, more equitable life? The canonical approach is, ‘Well, my employer cares, so I should care.’ Well, no, you should care whether your employer cares or not. TAnd the reason that's so important and so valuable is because people are the building blocks of any organization. The personal case for diversity, equity, and inclusion—not the business case, but the personal case—is it enhances your life experiences. It expands your worldview. It mitigates your blind spots. It also improves your ability to be a better team member. Your chances for promotions and advancement and even compensation, studies have shown, are enhanced when you are more diverse, more inclusive, and more equitable in your personal and professional life.
What does that data collection look like on the individual level?
There are a growing number of tools that can measure two things that you should care about. The first thing is your preferences. And that's neither right nor wrong, good nor bad, but a preference. You like water with lemon? I like water without lemon. You like it warm? I like it cold. If I think about the Implicit Association Test out of Harvard, it's measuring a range of different preferences—a preference for associating men with being leaders and women with being supporters, a preference for associating men with math and science and women with the arts. And the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument will measure your left-brain or right-brain preference, left logical, right creative. These preferences have implications for my decision-making: By knowing my preference, I mitigate my blind spot. If I associate men with being leaders, I have a blind spot for interviewing women to become leaders. If I have a preference for logical thinking, I need to partner with somebody who's better at creative thinking in order to create a more cohesive team.
The second thing you want to measure is your competences. That is, in some ways, a value judgment. A competence is knowledge, skills and abilities. And the value judgment says, do you have the competence or don't you? Are you good at it? A good example: The Intercultural Development Inventory can measure your intercultural competence, your ability to navigate different cultures. I want to know that, because it's going to tell me if I have areas for improvement, how effectively I can navigate different cultures.
But quantitative tools are not the only game in town. What you can also do is seek feedback from family, friends, and colleagues with what I call a diverse 360. A traditional 360 is where I have a direct report, a peer, someone who I report into. A diverse 360 says I'll get a woman, I'll get a Latina, I'll get an immigrant, I'll get a member of the LGBTQIA community, and I will ask them for feedback. That gives me a diverse set of perspectives on how well I function as a leader, as a manager, as a colleague, as a friend, as a loved one. And that gives me another set of data.
How can organizations encourage their employees a) to collect that data, and b) put it to use?
You want to give people freedom within a framework. If everyone has a different tool, we're not speaking the same language. So we have to say, ‘Okay, for preferences, we're going to use the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument. And for competencies, we're going to use the Intercultural Development Inventory.’ Now having set that framework, give people freedom: How would you like to conduct your journey based on the results that you've received?
I recommend developing a personal DEI mission statement. A DEI mission statement is a more nuanced personal mission statement which says, what do I believe is my calling, my mission, my purpose in a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable world? Is it my calling to be a more inclusive leader in my organization? To create a culture where people feel included? Is my DEI mission to be an example of an ally for women to break down the barriers that prevent them from having equal opportunity? If I don't take the time to reflect and then to write, I don't fully capture and clarify what that personal DEI mission is.
You also argue that organizations should undergo a similar process.
We recommend to our clients to develop what we call a DEI framework of mission, vision, and values. And they say to us, ‘Well, we have a mission and vision and values.’ I say, ‘Well, no, we're talking about a DEI-specific mission, vision, and values. Because that reshapes the identity of your organization. It clarifies how DEI relates or interrelates to who you are as an organization and where it is situated within the overarching context of your organizational identity.’
Mission is purpose. It answers the question, why do we exist? Why do we serve to create more diversity, more inclusion, and more equity? Vision answers, what is the picture of the future we seek to create? So we envision an anti-racist organization in the future. We envision an environment of psychological safety where all voices are honored and heard. Values is, how should we behave in a way that is consistent with our mission along the path to achieving our vision?
Read a full transcript of our conversation, including Pinkett’s five-step framework and how to assess the quality of DEI tools.
What Else You Need to Know
Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse sent startups scrambling to recover their cash and access funds to pay employees. Rising interest rates undid the bank’s bet on long-term bonds and the frothy startup investment climate that fueled its growth. Anxious investors and depositors tried to yank $42 billion out on Thursday alone, prompting the government to step in.
- Some 93% of domestic deposits with SVB were not protected by FDIC insurance, which at the very least could mean it will take time to access them. Garry Tan, CEO of YCombinator, estimates that 120,000 jobs are endangered.
- Additionally, service providers such as Rippling were impacted by the SVB meltdown, resulting in delayed payroll processing and other problems.
- Startup companies, whether they banked with SVB or not, should assess any direct or indirect risks and let employees know whether they anticipate disruptions.
Virtual and hybrid mentorship can be just as effective as in-person mentoring. Charter’s newly released survey of 3,005 desk-based workers, conducted in partnership with Qualtrics, found that mentoring relationships were similarly successful if mentor and mentee met remotely, in-person, or a mix of both. Other core aspects of successful mentoring relationships that the survey identified:
- Frequent check-ins between mentors and mentees. Some 51% of very successful mentors meet with their mentees once a week or more often, compared to 37% for somewhat successful mentors. (We defined very successful mentoring relationships as those in which the mentee met at least 81% of their goals during the mentorship period, and somewhat successful as 1-80%).
- Meaningfully recognizing mentors for the time and effort they put in. Mentors in successful relationships are more likely to have this mentorship supported through compensation, recognition in performance reviews, and dedicated time at work to mentor.
- Communication with managers. We see substantively higher success when mentors share progress with their mentees’ managers.
- High-quality training for mentors. Mentors of very successful mentees are more likely to work at organizations that offer mentorship training (63% for very successful mentors, vs. 47% for somewhat successful). Notably, only 45% of organizations across our sample offered this training.
Workplaces are axing employee perks. Tech companies are rolling back benefits like on-site dining and coffee, free dry cleaning, and employee wellness stipends as a way to cut costs.
- Meta, Twilio, and Salesforce are among the employers that have cut perks in recent months, on top of deep job cuts.
- These programs are important tools for rewarding and recognizing workers. Companies that offer at least six of the most popular perks have a 16% higher rate of employees feeling rewarded, according to a Gartner survey.
Corporate boards’ diversity commitments are flagging. Fortune 500 companies appointed fewer women and people of color to their boards in 2022 than 2021, according to a new Heidrick & Struggles report on board composition.
- In 2022, 40% of board appointments went to women, and 34% of seats went to racial or ethnic minorities, compared to 45% and 41% in 2021. Among all racial and ethnic groups, the greatest decrease in board appointments was for Black directors, which fell from 26% in 2021 to 17% in 2022.
Remote work can raise the number of women in leadership. Stellantis, the parent company of Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler, credits its hybrid policy with a rise in the percentage of women in its top ranks, from 24% in 2021 to 27% a year later, including three female CEOs among its 14 car brands.
- The automaker company allows eligible employees to work from home 70% of the time.
- Stellantis has set a goal of 30% of leadership positions occupied by women by 2025.
- In a report last year from Care.com and Mother Honestly, roughly 80% of both men and women said that remote work has made career advancement more attainable across gender lines.
Telemarketer and post-secondary teacher are the jobs most likely to change because of ChatGPT. That’s according to a new paper out of Princeton, Wharton, and NYU, which identified the occupations most “exposed to advances in AI language modeling.” The most exposed industries are legal services and securities, commodities, and investments.
- The researchers, who had previously published a framework to track AI-driven change using updates to job descriptions, also made their most recent data set freely available on GitHub.
Return to workplace speed round:
- Adobe opened a fourth office tower on its San Jose campus, continuing its flexible, hybrid work policies and committing to no new layoffs in 2023.
- The return to office has followed a “flight to quality” trend, as employee attendance at offices in luxury buildings with more amenities, newer finishes, and more desirable locations outpaces attendance at older buildings with fewer amenities.
- In spite of high-profile statements defending wholly in-person work in the financial sector, some 66% of banks surveyed by hybrid-work company Scoop continue to offer flexible or hybrid schedules.
Here are some of the best tips and insights from the past week for managing yourself and your team:
- Front-load your weeks. Shifting more of your difficult or time-consuming tasks to earlier in the week can help you transition into the weekend with less stress and fewer unfinished to-dos hanging over you.
- Use your Fridays to plan the week ahead. By heading into the weekend with a clear picture of what needs to get done when you return, you can both ward off the Sunday scaries and harness your Monday-morning energy more effectively.
- Focus your requests on identity over action. A small but effective rhetorical tweak: Multiple studies have shown that asking someone to be something—like a helper or a voter—is more likely to secure their buy-in than asking them to do something, like help or vote.
The remote-work baby boom may be here. New research notes that for higher-income women, remote work is linked to higher fertility rates.
A return-to-office tale for the ages. In Japan, a YouTuber-turned lawmaker who goes by the name GaaSyy is facing expulsion from the country’s legislature for not showing up to work since being elected.
- After a disciplinary committee ordered him to make an in-person apology, GaaSyy—who is facing fraud allegations in Japan and currently lives in the United Arab Emirates—agreed to return and then backed out, citing fear of arrest.
The newest workplace perk is also a perk for the planet. Some UK employers are offering electric-vehicle charging to make their offices more attractive to employees.