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Newsletter Week 26

August 7, 2019

LGBT employees find work-life balance hard to achieve. An IPO can actually create barriers for women in a high-growth company. And how to make sure that your diversity program doesn't die when your D&I champion leaves.

This week: 

  • LGB employees often have trouble achieving work-life balance because of fears about sharing too much about their family life.

  • An IPO may be a company’s dream, but it’s not always great for women employees.

  • Diversity programs often die when the D&I champion leaves. Some ideas on how to keep that from happening to you.

  • Canada expands mandatory diversity reporting for companies.

From Our Archives

While we’re revamping the site over the summer, check out our archives! Here are some of my favorite pieces from the past six months: 

This service is for you, and we want to make sure we’re bringing you the insights that really help you in your work. Please look for a survey in the next few weeks to provide feedback on how we’re doing so far, and what you would like to see in the fall! Or write me anytime at

This Week in News and Research

1. How Companies Make it Harder for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Employees to Achieve Work-Life Balance (Harvard Business Review)

If employees perceive that their type of family is less valued by the company or fellow employees, it’s more difficult for them to speak up about their needs. Even though most of the LGB respondents in the study were out at work, they still often found it difficult to talk openly about their family, or any work-family conflict they were experiencing. From the article:

We found that, although LGB employees experience many of the same work-family conflicts that their heterosexual colleagues do — for example, work time interfering with family time, or feeling unable to separate from work at home — they experience a range of additional conflicts related to their stigmatized family identity. These include a sense of tension over whether to take advantage of family-related benefits for fear of revealing their same-sex relationship, feeling conflicted over whether to bring spouses to work events, and feeling uneasy about discussing with a supervisor the family-related challenges that impact their work life.

2. What Happens to Women When Their Company Goes Public (Gender and Society)

A fascinating and, in some ways, counter-intuitive look at how one company changed through the IPO process, and what that meant for women and men as employees.

The pre-IPO company had a “brogrammer” culture, which research shows is not particularly welcoming to women. But the bro-dom went along with a high level of informality and speed, which women at the company said made it easier to prove their capabilities, stand out and ultimately advance. 

After the IPO, as processes became more formal, the company’s women felt they had less of a chance to distinguish themselves, and more chance of being pigeon-holed in traditionally “female” roles like HR or marketing, where their advancement stalled.

The counter-intuitive part: academic research usually points to lack of process as a way to counteract bias, and recommends formalizing and standardizing HR processes—especially performance reviews—as a way of reducing bias. But in a post-IPO environment, creating more formality actually worked the other way. 

3. How to Save Your Diversity Program from an Untimely Demise (Behavioral Scientist)

Would your diversity program die if your D&I lead left? Frequent contributor Dr. Alison Wynn of Stanford studied two companies whose D&I initiatives were disrupted when the change agent in charge departed. One initiative collapsed, the other emerged stronger than ever. Read the article for why...

4. Canada is First Jurisdiction Worldwide to Require Diversity Reporting Beyond Gender (Osler blog)

I have not seen a lot of mainstream coverage about this, but Canadian law firm blogs are lighting up with the news. As of January 1, 2020, Canadian firms regulated by the CBCA will be required to report not only on the representation of women, but also the representation of:

“...Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities... including identifying the number and percentage of members of each such designated group on the board and in senior management, any target level of representation adopted for that group and, if no target has been adopted for a particular group an explanation of why not”

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.

And finally, my personal favorite--a manifesto against the gospel of constant innovation and growth, at the expense of care, maintenance and appreciation of what exists.

How to Do Nothing (Medium)

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