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Week 6 Newsletter

March 5, 2019

This week: 

  • Daniel Chait, CEO of Greenhouse, talks about building hiring software that promotes diversity—what works, what doesn’t, and what surprised him.

  • New York City’s Commission on Human Rights just passed the country’s first statute that says discrimination based on a person's hair is a form of racial discrimination. How will this change the conversation—and laws—in other parts of the U.S.?

  • A new overview of the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) role is getting a lot of press, but it raises as many questions as it answers.

  • Is your executive team struggling with how to engage with under-represented talent? Try the +1 Pledge. It’s easy to explain, doesn’t take a lot of time, and can drive real impact.

  • From this week’s press coverage, you might think that underpaying men is Google’s biggest problem. Let’s take a closer look at what Google did and didn’t say. 

  • Looking for fun but non-biased standardized interview questions around culture fit? Here are some ideas.

Today in D&I In Practice

Diversity is the Differentiator for Greenhouse (D&I Original/Subscribers Only)

Applicant tracking software company Greenhouse is making a big strategic bet with Greenhouse Inclusion, their new inclusive hiring module. CEO Daniel Chait shares what he’s learned from the Inclusion product beta and talks about his strategic bet on D&I as a differentiator in the market.

Industry Professionals Weigh In On Potential Outcomes of New York Hair Statute (D&I Original/Subscribers Only)

Where New York goes, others might soon follow, so how should you be thinking about professional dress at your company in light of New York City’s new statute regarding hair? Industry professionals suggest how to get ahead of the curve.

More in News and Research

1. D&I from the Chief Diversity Officer’s Perspective: What’s Working and What’s Not (Russell Reynolds)

Executive search consulting firm Russell Reynolds has just released A Leader’s Guide: Finding and Keeping Your Next Chief Diversity Officer, intended to shed more light on the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) role. While the report offers interesting data points, it also raises—and leaves unanswered—a number of deeper questions.

One surprise: Only 27 percent of CDOs say that business strategy is a driver of D&I strategy. This suggests a problem somewhere. Perhaps senior business leaders have not actually bought into the business case for D&I and are therefore marginalizing the D&I function. Or senior diversity leaders lack the experience and business skills to link D&I strategy with a company’s strategic objectives. Either way, the more D&I strategy diverges from underlying business objectives, the more likely it is to fail. Where is this disconnect happening and what can bring the two strategies together?

Another surprise: 63 percent of the CDOs surveyed were hired or promoted in the past three years. The relative inexperience of CDOs might contribute to the strategic disconnect mentioned above. A new CDO might lack the skills or internal credibility to make a business case stick. Or, if the role is new, the company might still be internalizing the need for senior D&I leadership. Finally, if the top diversity role is not new but there is high turnover in the role (which many people anecdotally believe is true for D&I roles), this suggests the company lacks real commitment. 

Finally, 69 percent of CDOs reported that they track employee engagement surveys, but only 28 percent think that formal surveys drive D&I strategy. On the one hand, this makes sense. Most employee engagement surveys are not structured to tease out how experiences differ across demographic groups within a company—although CultureAmp and SurveyMonkey both have D&I-specific surveys. On the other hand, if surveys are not influencing D&I strategy, what metrics are being used and who is creating, collecting and validating them?  Only 35 percent of CDOs surveyed say they are measuring their company’s demographic data as part of their role. 

Fortune’s Ellen McGirt summarizes the Russell Reynolds report as, “Bottom line: who they [Chief Diversity Officers] are is tired, and what they need is more money, power, and respect.” That’s part of the story, but not all of it. Diversity and inclusion is still an emerging field, and the companies and CDOs in this survey are all making it up as they go along. This report reflects the reality of a role that is still defining its own identity. What is clear: Bringing more data and strategic thinking to the table will help CDOs and companies alike.

For more:

2.  “+1” is an Actionable Pledge That Anyone Can Take to Promote Diversity (Quartz)

Equal access to social capital and networks of influence is increasingly recognized as necessary for women and underrepresented minorities to succeed at the highest levels. Meg Garlinghouse, head of social impact at LinkedIn, describes the “+1 Pledge,”a way for people with influential networks to systematically extend that access to others in small yet meaningful ways. The +1 Pledge is smart, easy to explain, and possible for busy people to do without a huge time commitment. As a bonus, those taking the pledge can build a more diverse network themselves and reap the associated benefits.

3. Is Google Really Underpaying Men? What The Company Did and Didn’t Say. (Gizmodo)

Google is back in the headlines around pay equity—this time for a March 4 blog post about its now-annual pay equity review and adjustments. According to the post, men received more than a proportionate share of the $9.7 million in additional compensation the company paid out to equalize compensation. 49 percent of those adjustments came from discrepancies in the salaries of new hires. Is this an indication that companies are “paying up” to hire more women candidates and boost their diversity numbers? 

The rest of the discrepancy came largely from one job class of employees—Level 4 software engineers—where managers were boosting employee pay with discretionary funds, which is allowed per company policy. As Gizmodo reports, however, without more information, it’s impossible to tell why the discretionary funds were awarded. For example, managers might be using those funds to informally compensate women for doing the same work as men who came in at a higher level. Alleged mis-leveling—systematically placing women in a lower job classification than men doing the same work—is at the core of the ongoing Google pay equity lawsuit

Net-net: Without more information, it’s impossible to know why men got most of the adjustments this year. But the headlines are confusing the issue, not illuminating the real complexities of determining pay equity.

4.  The Go-to Interview Questions of Companies Like Warby Parker, Airbnb and More (LinkedIn Talent Blog)

Standardizing interview formats and questions is a core technique for reducing bias (see this article from Harvard professor Iris Bohnet for why.) But does standardizing mean taking all the quirkiness out of the process? With creativity, it’s possible to develop standardized interview questions that offer insight into a candidate’s soft skills and fit with a company’s culture. Here are some offbeat yet insightful interview question ideas from companies ranging from Warby Parker, the hipster eyeglasses company, to venerable housewares manufacturer Tupperware. 

We’re Also Reading...

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

LGBT+ Inclusion is an Economic Imperative for Kenya (Thomas Reuters Foundation News and Open for Business)

See IKEA’s First Collection Celebrating African Design (Fast Company)

Closing the Mobile Phone Gender Gap in Low-income Countries is a $700 Billion Opportunity (Quartz Africa)

The Worst-ever Black History Month Has Come to a Close. I Hope. (Washington Post)

Upcoming Events

Event listings are provided as a courtesy. D&I In Practice is not affiliated with any of these events.

Gender Equality in the Workplace: The Latest From the Field (March 12, live event in London, free)

WT2 Women Transforming Technology conference (April 23, live event in Palo Alto, $175)

Business Disability Forum 2019 conference (April 25, live event in London, £249 plus VAT for members, £311 plus VAT for non-members)

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.