On June 12 and 13, 2019, the New York Times sponsored the New Rules Summit on women and leadership. Here are some of the tips for how to create an equitable workplace generated during the summit by participants and reported by the New York Times:
- Encourage men to be allies—Companies need to build cultures that bring white men into the conversation about diversity and inclusion. Men should become partners in the conversation about inclusion, and the reward system should incentivize behavior change. “What gets measured gets done,” noted Michael Chamberlain of Catalyst.
- Create immersion experiences—By asking men to walk a mile in women’s shoes, men can begin to understand the challenges women face. For example, have men take only 80 percent of their salaries for six months and donate the other 20 percent to women’s advocacy organizations. Another example of an immersion experience is for teams to identify one man whose ideas will be ignored or talked over for three meetings. Then have the team members create agreements for how they will engage in ensuring all team members are heard and included. As noted by Damien Hooper-Campbell, “Policies alone will only get us so far.”
- Listen to both women and men—Ask men and women what benefits they want from their employers. Here are some of the ones mentioned at the New Rules Summit:
- Make paid family leave truly universal and available for employees at all levels.
- Subsidize childcare and let parents choose what works best for them: a stipend, access to backup childcare memberships, or bulk discounts on care.
- Make sure parental leave does not set off a financial penalty in hidden costs like lost bonuses, stock vestings, billable hours, and commissions.
- Close the gap on the “only” experience—Hire more women at every level, not just a few token women. This can be done by setting targets, mandating diverse slates of candidates for promotion, training to better notice biases, and closely scrutinizing the performance review processes. We have written about recent research on the costs of being an “only” in a previous article.
- Recognize the double outsider—Dalana Brand, vice president of people experience at Twitter, reminds us that the impact of unconscious bias is more pronounced for women of color than for white women. Diversity efforts should not be “one size fits all,” and leaders need training to understand how to be a better ally to women of color and others.
- Women need to build strategic networks differently—Daisy Auger-Dominguez, president and founder of Auger-Dominguez Ventures, points out that men’s networking practices don’t work for women. She advises that women should build an intentional and diverse network of other women, and develop deep connections to each other so they can effectively advocate for and support each other.
- Create an anti-harassment culture—Marianne Cooper, a sociologist at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, notes that “sexual harassment is about the abuse of power, it’s not about sexual desire.” To prevent sexual harassment, organizations need to create cultures where people feel empowered to come forward to report it and are rewarded for doing the right thing. Those accused of sexual harassment need to be consistently held accountable.
What types of strategies are working in your organization to create more inclusive cultures?
Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash