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Week 10 Newsletter

April 2, 2019

This week: 

  • It's Equal Pay Day in the U.S., and nothing makes the pay gap personal like a story. We share our (least) favorite stories about first-person encounters with unequal pay.

  • We talk to Professor Shelley Correll of Stanford about how “small wins” in diversity and inclusion can inspire larger organizational change. 

  • Biased talks about how perceptions about difference are formed in the brain and how the best interventions focus on what people can do to recognize and manage bias rather than eliminate it.

  • Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies on their LGBTQ policies, is out. Alphabet is not on it.

  • Drinking at lunch was a factor in the Lloyd’s of London sexual harassment scandal. How should you think about alcohol at work functions in the #MeToo era?

U.S. Equal Pay Day Is Today!

The gender pay gap is not only unfair in economic terms. It’s often personally hurtful to people who experience it. Being paid less than your colleagues can damage a person’s sense of self-worth, not to mention their trust in their peers and employers. Fortune’s Broadsheet has collected some powerful first-person stories about how the pay gap affects women. For a transatlantic view, check out more stories in The Guardian

Today in D&I In Practice

Q&A: When Striving for Big Change, Small Wins Make the Biggest Impact  (D&I Original/Subscribers Only)

Changing corporate culture to be more inclusive can seem like a daunting task. Professor Shelley Correll of Stanford talks about her theory of small wins: Making incremental changes in one area, showing success, and inspiring broader organizational change. Correll talks us through the example of GoDaddy, which has evolved from a company presenting sexist Super Bowl ads to one of the most coveted workplaces for women in tech. One key factor in GoDaddy’s transformation: Revamping the performance review process to ensure men and women were being evaluated fairly.

For more on the GoDaddy performance review transformation, check out this post on LinkedIn describing the step-by-step process the company went through. You can also check out this New York Times article about GoDaddy’s remarkable cultural revolution, which was driven by former CEO Blake Irving.

More in News and Research

1.  How Perception Drives Behavior, and What We Can Do about It, in Biased (Time)

Stanford professor and MacArthur “genius grant” winner Jennifer Eberhardt has been studying bias for two decades, with a focus on race and the criminal justice system. Her new book, Biased, discusses the brain’s need for categorization and how this can create bias that affects our everyday decision making.

She also talks about specific policies that can mitigate bias. Most of them involve creating a procedure for slowing down and letting the conscious brain take over rather than acting on instinct. For example, the Oakland Police Department now requires that when officers chasing a suspect on foot lose sight of the person, they must step back and set up a perimeter. This keeps officers from getting cornered and having to make a quick decision about whether to shoot. After the policy was implemented, the number of officer-related shootings in Oakland went down substantially.

Dr. Eberhardt also applies these insights to business situations. For example, “I did a little informal consulting with Nextdoor.com. Most of the people go to the platform because they’re trying to find a good plumber or to sell something...But then there’s also the ‘suspicious black man’ posting. Nextdoor wanted to reduce that racial profiling...They added friction to the platform. For the crime and safety tab, you can’t just write. There’s a black man, suspicious. You have to identify some behavior that is actually suspicious. And then be specific about what that person looks like so it doesn’t sweep all black people in the same category...By slowing people down, getting them to think about what they were posting, they were able to curb the profiling, they say, by about 75% on the site.”

For more:

  • If you prefer video to text, here’s an interview with Dr. Eberhardt from The Daily Show.

  • Dr.  Eberhardt is co-director of SPARQ, a Stanford University institute that applies social psychology to real-world problems. Among many other wonderful resources, SPARQ offers interactive toolkits on a variety of subjects, including making spaces welcoming to women and people of color, blocking gender bias in STEM, and diversity in higher education.

  • Behavioral psychologist and Harvard professor Iris Bohnet on designing to eliminate bias, published on Melinda Gates’ community Evolve. 

2. Corporate Equality Index 2019 (Human Rights Campaign Foundation)

The Corporate Equality index (CEI) has been ranking the LGBTQ friendliness of businesses since 2002. This year, a record 572 businesses received the top score of 100 for meeting the foundation’s criteria, which fall into three categories: non-discrimination policies across business entities; equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families; supporting an inclusive culture and social responsibility around LGBTQ issues. Check the report’s appendix for a detailed description of each criterion, which is helpful to companies seeking to evaluate their own policies.

This year’s surprise was the exclusion of Google from the rankings. Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, received a 100 rating last year. But this year the rating was withheld because of a controversial “gay conversion therapy” application available on the Google Play app store. Apple, Microsoft and Amazon have already removed the application.

On a bittersweet note, the CEI report opens with a quote from HRC President Chad Griffin. “The top-scoring companies on this year’s CEI are not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the United States, they are applying these policies to their global operations and impacting millions of people beyond our shores.” This in the same week that Brunei’s implementation of Sharia law is bringing back death by stoning as a punishment for sexual “crimes,” including gay sex and adultery. It’s a stark reminder that, in many parts of the world, being gay means risking not just your livelihood but your life.

3.  Lloyd’s Drinking Culture Contributed to Sexual Harassment Problem (Bloomberg)

Lunchtime drinking contributed to Lloyd’s sexual harassment problems, according to Bloomberg. It’s a refreshing look at the role alcohol plays in workplace misconduct. While few companies condone drinking during office hours, booze is still a staple at work dinners, office parties, events and conventions—the very places where sexual harassment claims often spike.

In light of #MeToo, it’s worthwhile to revisit your company’s alcohol policy, as Google recently did. And remember that many people, including many Muslims, members of some Christian denominations, and people in recovery, don’t drink alcohol at all. Having many attractive non-alcoholic options at any event is critical for inclusivity.

We’re Also Reading...

These articles aren’t necessarily directly connected to the workplace, but have interesting insights about diversity and inclusion in society at large. 

Here’s What a Genderless AI Voice Sounds Like, and Consider Why It Matters (Quartz)

This Artist is Bringing Native American Representation to Comic Books (HuffPo)

Starbucks Opens First U.S. Sign Language Store—With Murals, Tech Pads and Finger Spelling (Washington Post)

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