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Newsletter Week 34

October 2, 2019

LinkedIn’s #PlusOnePledge is a small, real step individuals can take to make their networks more open and inclusive. Not a silver bullet, though. Plus, the academic evidence for inclusion and how it translates to workplace practices. As the developed world ages, we must figure out how to effectively engage older workers. Finally, D&I is increasingly part of the curriculum in MBA programs. Leading academics share what works.

LinkedIn’s #PlusOnePledge Is More Than Marketing, But Less Than a Solution (D&I Original)

LinkedIn recently doubled down on its’ #PlusOnePledge, which asks network members to connect with people who might not have the same advantages they have. It’s a small but meaningful step that individuals can take right now. Like all individual actions, it’s not a complete solution.

This Week in News and Research

1. Building Inclusive Workplaces: Assessing the Evidence (

The CIPD has developed this useful review of the academic literature around inclusion, along with practical recommendations for building inclusive culture in the workplace. I particularly like the specific action items for leaders and HR professionals, which include (from the report):

  • Role-model inclusive behaviour in their day-to-day role...

  • Use organisational data, tracked over time, to review policies and practices and inclusive behaviour throughout the organisation…

  • Involve employees at all levels of the business in inclusion; facilitate reflection on what inclusion means to them in their day-to-day role, what their role is in building inclusion, and how this is reflected in organisational values...

  • Work with senior leaders to embed inclusion into the organisation’s way of doing things; highlight the importance of their advocacy and buy-in... 

  • Embed inclusion into wider practices such as talent management, appraisals and skills development….

  • Clearly communicate the policies in place to support diversity and inclusion at work, why they are important and support employees and managers to access and embed these policies.

  • Support line managers to effectively carry out policies and practices….

2.  The Case for Older Workers (Harvard Business Review)

We often don’t talk about age bias in the workplace. In fact, a preference for youth seems inevitable in some industries, like tech (check out Dan Lyons’ 2016 article in the Observer for a reminder of how blatantly discriminatory tech culture can be around age).

However, as most developing societies age, work is going to have to figure out how to not only accept but embrace older workers. This HBR article suggests practical ways to make your workplace more friendly to older employees.

3. Integrating Diversity Into Business Education (INSEAD Knowledge)

Check out this conversation about how to teach diversity and inclusion at business schools. The conclusions about what works in MBA programs can also apply to corporate L&D programs around diversity. Some examples of successful tactics:

  • Asking students to name one pro and one con of a controversial D&I-related action, such as Google’s firing of James Damore.

  • Sharing personal stories about when a person felt out of place or like they didn’t belong.

  • Self-affirmations

  • Limiting the focus on data and numbers to avoid creating too negative of a tone.

  • Role-playing difficult work situations, such as creating a presentation explaining a hypothetical company’s gender pay gap, or what to do if the only woman in the room is asked to take notes.

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