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Newsletter Week 25

July 17, 2019

LinkedIn’s new report on corporate learning and development has implications for your D&I education program. Plus, some bite-size best practices for diverse recruiting, and guidance on when to use the word "racist."

This week: 

  • LinkedIn’s new report on corporate learning and development has implications for your D&I education program. One key takeaway: you need to spend more time marketing.

  • Some bite-size best practices for recruiting people from diverse backgrounds, based on interviews with 13 experts.

  • When should you call a statement or an action racist? One of Harvard’s top race scholars offers guidance.

  • From the world of cognitive psychology, musings on how the brain uses prediction to simplify social interactions...and sometimes gets it wrong.


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: 

How to Hack Flexibility. Dr. Alison Wynn shares her research on why people often don’t use flexibility policies at work, even when they have access to them, because they’re afraid of being stigmatized. She also offers tips on how to show employees that the company actually supports flexible work.

Chief Diversity Officers are Making Hard Choices that Compromise Results. What Can Companies Do? Tina Shah Paikeday talks about where Chief Diversity Officers succeed, fail and struggle, with a special focus on how companies can help CDOs make lasting change. The short answer? CDOs need resources, authority and access to top leadership. My favorite quote: “It’s just disappointing, frankly, how low D&I sits in many technology companies.”

Only More Powerful Partners of Color Will Bring Real Diversity to Law Firms.  Don Prophete made a splash in his op-ed for American Lawyer, where he questioned the effectiveness of big companies’ efforts to diversify the law firms they use for outside counsel. In this exclusive interview, Prophete says the only way to increase diversity is to give diverse lawyers equal opportunity from their first day on the job--including access to important cases and client development opportunities. This parallels work being done by academics like Adina Sterling at Stanford, who research how early career experiences make a huge difference to advancement potential later on.

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 terra@diinpractice.com.

Finally, I will be on my annual device-free retreat from July 20-27, so no newsletter next week. Wishing you all a relaxing and equitable summer!


This Week in News and Research

1. 2019 Workplace Learning Report (LinkedIn)

OK, LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report is a little self-serving, given their huge bet on LinkedIn Learning. But they do point out trends in the Learning & Development (L&D) market that are important for D&I professionals to know. Some key insights:

  • L&D budgets are going up, and more is being allocated to online learning. For D&I professionals, this means that integrating D&I education into your company’s L&D program not only reaches people more effectively but can also be a source of funds. One caveat: online training is certainly cheaper and easier to implement for companies. But online training’s effectiveness at driving D&I results is questionable. (Check out this HBR piece for tips on what effective diversity training looks like.)

  • “Talent developers” (L&D personnel) only spend about 15% of their time promoting learning programs to learners. It’s not enough to offer programs, people have to know about them and commit the time to engage. This is especially important for D&I content, as research suggests that voluntary D&I training has better outcomes than mandatory trainings. If you care about D&I, you need to learn how to market your trainings and programs.

  • Companies want their employees to learn soft skills, including creativity, persuasion and collaboration. While D&I doesn’t explicitly make the list, companies won’t get the business benefit they want from these soft skills without building an inclusive culture. It’s up to people who care about D&I to reinforce this message to their L&D teams, and make inclusion a part of every soft skills training. 


2. 13 Experts Share Some Insight On Diversity Recruiting (BuiltIn)

Inclusive recruiting is one of the hottest topics around, with companies competing fiercely for top talent. Yet many organizations are either not attracting enough candidates from diverse backgrounds or are accidentally screening them out during the recruiting process. In this article, 13 experts offer best practices that have worked in their companies.

If you missed it, also check out D&I In Practice’s checklist for gender-inclusive on-campus recruiting. If you’d like to implement this in your organization, reach out to me at terra@diinpractice.com. We are actively seeking places to test this methodology!


3.  Calling Racism What It Is: 8 Questions with Khalil Gibran Mohammed (Journalist’s Resource)

The word “racism” has been on everyone’s lips this week in the US and even around the world. How do we know when to call speech or action racist? This interview with one of the US’s top race scholars offers some guidance.


4. Now You See It: How Our Brain Sculpts Experience in Line with Our Expectation (Aeon)

A quirky academic essay about the predictive powers of the brain, and how we are hard-wired to predict both our own and others’ actions...which can have unexpected consequences. The article only touches on bias tangentially, but it’s an interesting read about how important prediction is to the brain, and how learned experience can shape our social responses whether we want it to or 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. 

We want to hear from you!

D&I In Practice wants your feedback so we can deliver the content you need to move the needle forward on diversity and inclusion. Please send comments, questions and ideas for stories you’d love to see to editor@diinpractice.com.