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Newsletter Week 20

June 11, 2019

This week: 

  • Our checklist for gender-inclusive recruiting. Feedback encouraged!

  • Sephora closes US stores for diversity training, but will it be effective? And does it matter?

  • A batch of punchy gender statistics from Boston Consulting Group.

  • Why people hide their disabilities at work, even when evidence suggest disclosing will make them happier.

Today in D&I In Practice

Gender-Inclusive On-Campus Recruiting in Technology: A Checklist (D&I Original/Subscribers Only)

In our very first edition, we featured research by Dr. Alison Wynn of Stanford on tech recruiting, and how to make on-campus recruiting more welcoming to women. Since then, Dr. Wynn and I have been working on a checklist based on her research. I’m excited to share that with you today!

We hope this checklist helps you identify where your on-campus recruiting sessions are already welcoming to women...and where you have opportunities to improve. We’re working on a companion research guide, explaining the research basis behind each question in more detail. I’ll share that with you in a future edition. In the meantime, if you have questions about the research, or would like to share your results, please reach out to me at

Our checklist focuses on gender and tech. For more resources around inclusive recruiting more broadly, check out the resources below:

  • Recruiting often revolves around events, from on-campus recruiting sessions to conferences and open houses. Exponential Talent has created a comprehensive guide to inclusive events, a must-have for your recruiting team.

  • Greenhouse has created an e-book outlining various inclusive recruiting strategies your company might want to try. The strategies are high-level, so best if you want an easy-to-read overview to make a business case to executives.

  • For something pithier, check out these 10 Eye-opening Best Practices for Diversity Recruiting practices from Rakuna.

More in News and Research

  1. Why Sephora’s Hour-Long Diversity Training May Have Been a Waste of Time (MarketWatch)

After singer SZA reported being racially profiled in a Sephora store, the company closed over 400 stores across the US for a 60-minute bias training. Sephora says that the program was in the works before the incident, but the timing has put Sepora in the same category as Starbucks and Gucci—companies perceived as doing damage control after a high-profile racist incident.

Do these high-profile closures actually work to reduce racial bias? Not surprisingly, the experts quoted in the article say probably not. First, 60 minutes isn’t enough time to change attitudes. Second, mandatory training (presumably what Sephora is requiring) is, according to some studies, less effective than voluntary training.

However, the very fact of closing stores shows that Sephora—and its parent company LVMH—take the issue seriously. That does matter, both to customers and to employees. The most interesting question is how the company proceeds from here. After Starbucks’ incident, the company did some soul-searching, conducting an in-depth audit of its diversity initiatives. Gucci has established scholarship programs for design students of color across the globe and hired an expert on fashion and race as an in-house “first responder,” among other steps. To have real meaning, Sephora’s response must extend beyond one flashy gesture.

For more:

  • We highlighted this podcast about diversity training from Wharton last week, but it’s worth revisiting. It discusses a field experiment inside an actual company, measuring the effects of a 60-minute online bias training on a worldwide employee population. From the podcast: “My interpretation of our findings is that one hour [of diversity training] probably isn’t sufficient. We can’t expect a one-off diversity training to solve all of your problems relating to bias and stereotyping in the workplace. It could be one part of a multi-pronged solution where you combine diversity training with other changes you are making to processes and structures to reduce instances of bias and stereotyping.”

  • The IAT (Implicit Association Test) is a key feature of much anti-bias training. But many social scientists warn against reading too much into the test, which has not been shown to predict individual behavior. 

2. BCG’s Gender Diversity Research: By the Numbers (Boston Consulting Group)

This one-pager from BCG highlights key statistics from their past few years of work on gender diversity. Click on the arrows for more detail. Some fun facts that I have never seen anywhere else:

  • Men and women often disagree about the underlying obstacles to diversity. For example, 45% of women—but only 21% of men—think that advancement is the biggest challenge.

  • At companies rated poorly on diversity culture by both men and women, there is a 17% ambition gap between men and women aged 30 to 40 – pivotal years in a career.

  • At companies making progress on gender diversity, there is no significant difference in the ambition levels between women who don't have children and those who do.

3. Why People Hide Their Disabilities at Work (Harvard Business Review)

30% of the US professional workforce could be considered to have a disability, under the current US federal guidelines. Yet only 39% of disabled professionals have disclosed their disability to their manager--let alone to their team (24%) or their clients (a whopping 4%). This is according to the Center for Talent Innovation’s recent “Disabilities and Inclusion” report.

It’s a lost opportunity, because the benefits of speaking up are clear. According to the article: 

“Employees with disabilities who disclose to most people they interact with are more than twice as likely to feel regularly happy or content at work than employees with disabilities who have not disclosed to anyone (65% versus 27%). They are also less likely to regularly feel nervous or anxious (18% versus 40%) or isolated (8% versus 37%).”

No one should be pressured to reveal a disability. In addition to the well-founded fears about being stereotyped, people with disabilities have a right to privacy. But companies can take steps to make sure people who do want to reveal their disabilities feel protected and supported. The article suggests a number of concrete steps, including making sure all diversity materials include disability, starting or supporting a disability-focused ERG, and coaching managers and employees on how to be good allies. 

4. The Working Woman’s Handbook (New York Times)

Great information in this compilation: interesting, research-based, useful to know. If you’re a woman in the working world, you’ll find great strategies.  And’s still “fixing the women.” As Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, Executive Director of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford, recently said on LinkedIn: “Let’s fix workplace structures, not try to change people.”

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. 

Man Designs a Beautiful Rainbow Turban for Pride (Mashable)

Google Launches Tools to Help Military Spouses Find Remote Work Opportunities (Fox News)

Instagram Is Trying to Curb Bullying. First It Needs to Define Bullying (New York Times)

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