Why the Crisis Is Putting Companies at Risk of Losing Female Talent. The Covid-19 crisis has reconfigured how we work, parent, and care for ourselves and our communities.
It remains uncertain how a post-pandemic society will function, but already a consensus is emerging that the global pivot to working remotely will likely change how many companies think about face time and rigid work schedules. Might the current revolution in how work gets done benefit women, who traditionally have been more likely to take advantage of flexible work arrangements?
A recent paper by a group of economic experts argues yes, that the current situation will normalize remote and flexible work and will therefore make these arrangements available to a broader segment of working women. While we share the authors’ hope, we aren’t convinced that the sudden expansion of remote work will end up benefiting women.
We believe that many leaders may emerge from the crisis with a long-term talent problem if they don’t incorporate some small but critical steps into their current practices. How Black Women Describe Navigating Race and Gender in the Workplace. Executive Summary Interviews with 10 women of color shed light on some of the common challenges faced by black women in the workplace, how they cope with those challenges, and how those coping mechanisms affect their chances of long-term success.
Many of the women talked about having to code-switch, or embrace the dominant culture at work. Another pattern was what one of the women called “dimming my light,” or dampening aspects of their personality to avoid making colleagues uncomfortable. Zero of the women interviewed regularly worked with other women of color. A few years ago I started attending classes for my part-time MBA. In September, Ellen McGirt published an article in Fortune exploring why there are zero African-American women running Fortune 500 companies.
Here are the highlights of what I learned about their experiences at work in corporate America: Women of Color Get Less Support at Work. Here’s How Managers Can Change That. Gender Equality Is Within Our Reach. Even at “Inclusive” Companies, Women of Color Don’t Feel Supported. Last fall, we began a conversation on an episode of HBR’s “Women at Work” podcast about an important, though difficult, topic: how to forge deep and meaningful relationships at work between women of varying races or ethnicities, with the goal of collective advancement in the workplace.
This idea of shared sisterhood “allows us to share struggles together, realize that we’re not alone, that the pain we’re going through is something bigger than us,” said one of us (Dr. Tina Opie). It involves designing strategies, dismantling structures that prevent advancement, or even just offering mutual support so everyone can cope together. But there’s still a lot we don’t know about what might precipitate these relationships in the workplace. And we don’t have a fully clear picture of what shared sisterhood actually looks like. Understanding High-Quality Connections and Inclusive Workplaces The first is individual relationships. Second is the organizational level. Our Research The Results. Nondiscrimination against LGBT individuals isn't just the law – it helps organizations succeed. The Supreme Court ruled on June 15 that an employer who fires an individual for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In other words, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals is now forbidden under federal law. As someone who supports LGBT rights, I believe it’s a big step forward, one that I hope compels companies that continue to discriminate to change their ways. But, as research by myself and others shows, there was already a powerful reason to do so: More inclusive workplaces tend to perform better than those that aren’t. Creating inclusiveness How can organizations be more inclusive? Based on my research in diversity in sports organizations, which spans 20 years, I believe a good start is putting strong policies in place that make it clear that discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation is always inappropriate.
A path to success Equally important was what we did not find. Inclusion beyond sport.
Training programs that serve diverse leaders. Leadership skills relevant to underrepresented. Virtual Workforce and Inclusion.