A collection of articles on diversity, inclusion, and workforce and talent strategy brought to you by Exponential Talent LLC.
View this email in your browser

September 22, 2015

To advance our knowledge of diversity, inclusion, and workforce and talent strategy, we gather and share relevant articles on a regular basis. For this edition, we have identified the following articles of interest. 

Please tell us what content you most want to see in our Article of Interest Roundup. We invite you to share these articles via e-mail, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Diversity & Inclusion
Photo of two businesswomen
Harvard Business Review: Making Differences Matter: A New Paradigm for Managing Diversity

Two Harvard Business School professors offer an explanation for why diversity efforts are not fulfilling their promise and offer a new paradigm for understanding—and leveraging—diversity. Rather than encouraging women and people of color to blend in, they argue the more successful paradigm involves connecting diversity to work perspectives. They describe companies that have developed an outlook on diversity that enables them to incorporate employees’ perspectives into the main work of the organization. That, in turn, enhances work by rethinking primary tasks and redefining markets, products, strategies, missions, business practices, and even organizational cultures. 

Highlights of preconditions for making the paradigm shift:
  • The leadership must understand that a diverse workforce will embody different perspectives and approaches to work, and must truly value variety of opinion and insight.
  • The leadership must recognize both the learning opportunities and the challenges that the expression of different perspectives presents for an organization.
  • The organizational culture must create an expectation of high standards of performance from everyone.
  • The organization must have a well-articulated and widely understood mission.
  • The organization must have a relatively egalitarian, non-bureaucratic structure.
Washington Post: Time in the Bank: A Stanford Plan to Save Doctors from Burnout

Two Exponential Talent women were instrumental in creating the Stanford Department of Emergency Medicine’s time-banking system: Lead for Organizational Design, Research and Evaluation, Diversity Magali Fassiotto delivered the project with the help of company Co-Leader Caroline Simard. The two-year, $250,000 pilot funded largely by the Sloan Foundation, went beyond providing concierge services – meals, housecleaning, babysitting, elder care, and more. Doctors can “bank” the time they spend doing the often-unappreciated work of mentoring, serving on committees, covering colleagues’ shifts on short notice or deploying in emergencies, and earn credits to use for work or home-related services. The results showed big increases in job satisfaction, work-life balance and collegiality, in addition to a greater number of research grants applied for, and a higher approval rate, than Stanford faculty not in the pilot. The pilot also tended to even the playing field for women.

Highlights of why doctors benefit from having more work-life balance: 
  • On average, they work 10 hours more a week than other professionals, with nearly 40 percent working 60 hours or more
  • 1 in 2 physicians report at least one symptom of burnout
  • They’re twice as dissatisfied with their work-life balance as those in other professions
  • Within 10 years of joining an academic medical faculty, 5 of every 10 doctors leave and 4 leave academic medicine entirely
Washington Post: Silicon Valley Struggles to Hack its Diversity

In the overall U.S. workforce, blacks make up 13 percent of employees and Hispanics 16 percent. As the major Silicon Valley tech firms release their diversity data, with numbers far below that average, some argue that it is a “pipeline problem,” that is, there aren’t enough qualified minorities to hire. However, last year, black students took home 4.1% of the bachelor’s degrees in computer science, information technology and computer engineering – double the average of blacks hired at the biggest tech firms. Hispanics accounted for 7.7% of the degrees. The Washington Post’s graphic clearly shows the disparities in hiring.

Highlights of what tech companies are doing to become more diverse:
  • Facebook expanded its summer internship program for minority computer science majors and started a new internship for minority business majors. It also now requires recruiters to interview minority candidates.
  • Google, Facebook and Apple expanded the number of colleges for recruiting - even, in Google’s case, embedding engineers to teach and mentor students attending historically black colleges.
  • Intel pledged that its workforce would reflect the broader U.S. labor pool by 2020.
Focus on Gender
Photo of two businesswomen
The Atlantic: The Government Thinks That Interview Questions About Salary History Are Holding Women Back

The consequence of asking for salary history in hiring is that it encourages anchoring — the cognitive bias that makes people focus around a number once it’s been stated, with only some small room for adjustment. The head of the federal government’s HR department, the Office of Personnel Management's Beth Cobert, says that the question can perpetuate gender inequality. Last week, she issued a memo advising federal agencies against an over-reliance on salary history for determining compensation. She said, “Reliance on existing salary to set pay could potentially adversely affect a candidate who is returning to the workplace after having taken extended time off from his or her career, or for whom an existing rate of pay is not reflective of the candidate’s current qualifications or existing labor market conditions.”

Highlights of the data behind her decision: 
  • For men, having children increased his earnings by 6 percent but, for women with children, their earnings decreased by 4 percent for each child she had.
  • Last year, OPM found in a study that the starting salaries of female federal employees were 10 percent lower than those of male federal employees.
  • Pay discrimination or disparity at past jobs carries over if salary history is the basis for how much a worker is paid at a new job.

Studies continue to show the adverse effects of unconscious bias for women in and out of venture capital. A 2014 analysis by the Diana Project shows that only 3 percent of $50 billion in venture capital went to companies with female CEOs even though women head 36 percent of all businesses in the United States.
  • A study from a leadership training company found that women who speak forcefully risk losing more economic power (i.e. get lower paychecks) than men who talk with equal assertiveness when addressing subordinates.
  • Another series of experiments at top-flight business schools showed that men are more successful in making venture capital pitches even when women use the same exact words in a very similar presentation.  
Focus Workforce and Talent Strategy
Photo of two businesswomen
New Yorker: The Push Against Performance Reviews

Microsoft and Gap are among several companies that have reformed their evaluation processes in recent years. Recently, the consulting firm Accenture announced that it is getting rid of annual evaluations for its 330,000 employees, replacing the process with a system where managers will give feedback on a more regular basis.

Traditional employee performance reviews are increasingly falling out of favor because businesses find that the cost of performance evaluations, both financial and psychological, is hardly worth the benefit.  In 2013, psychologists at Kansas State University and elsewhere studied how different kinds of people react to negative feedback; even avid learners disliked performance reviews, they just disliked them less. In terms of gender equity, the New Yorker’s James Surowiecki wrote, in a piece about the gender imbalance in Silicon Valley, “In a recent study of almost two hundred and fifty performance reviews … three-quarters of the women were criticized for their personalities—with words like ‘abrasive’—while only two of the men were.”

Highlights of companies changing how they do employee evaluations:
  • Consulting firm Accenture replaced its annual evaluations for its 330,000 employees with a system in which there is frequent feedback from managers.
  • In 2012, Adobe replaced its evaluations after its Senior Vice-President of People and Places, Donna Morris, concluded that employees hated them and they weren’t very useful.
  • Accounting firm Deloitte replaced a laborious annual process with the requirement that, after every project, managers respond to four straightforward statements.
  • General Electric also reformed its evaluation processes.
Like Us on Facebook
Like Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Twitter
Connect with Us on LinkedIn
Connect with Us on LinkedIn
Copyright © 2015 Exponential Talent LLC. All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp