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Newsletter Week 32

September 18, 2019

How do we make family leave inclusive of all kinds of families and caregiving needs? Also, new research finds that people think diversity is good...but for your team, not mine. Investors do care about gender diversity, and reward a company through a stock bump, says a new study from Stanford. Tips for getting access to academic databases for free. Finally, an executive-ready article about why inclusion is as important as diversity, if not more so.

Expanding Our Thinking about Paid Family Leave

Beyond Working Mothers: How to Make Family Leave Inclusive (D&I Original)

US companies are waking up to the importance of paid family leave for new parents, which is a big step forward. But, as Dr. Kathy Lin points out, parents also often need leave later, when school demands increase or schedules change. And many family leave policies don’t include other kinds of caregiving—for people with disabilities, or aging parents, for example.

Dr Lin discusses how we can think more broadly about family leave, and offers practical tips for making family leave more inclusive at your company.


This Week in News and Research

1. Heterogeneity in the Workplace: Diversity Is Very Important to Us--But Not In My Team (Science Daily)

People tend to prefer to work with people like themselves, despite years of evidence that diverse teams can improve performance. The authors of this study offer a possible fix: have someone not on the team make decisions about team staffing. You’re more likely to end up with a team that’s actually diverse. From the article:

...doubts about the practicability of diversity have a greater weight if a person is directly affected. In other words, when a person's own work group is involved, they tend to prefer team members who are similar to themselves, whereas when people make decisions for other people, these reservations play a lesser role.

The trick is how to actually put this finding into practice. People rightly want input on who is going to be on their team. But perhaps this suggests a stronger role for leaders that care about D&I, in pointing out when teams (especially high-profile teams, or those on valuable assignments) are not diverse. Or in advocating for ways to structurally improve diversity at the team level, such as team rotation policies.


2.  Do Investors Really Care About Gender Diversity? (Insights by Stanford Business)

New research from the Stanford Graduate School of Business suggests yes. The study authors looked at how gender diversity announcements affected stock price at public US tech and finance companies, and found that the stock price rose when companies announced higher gender diversity numbers. From the article:

“It’s hard to know if having more women on a board leads to better performance, or whether companies that perform better can hire more women...With a stock price reaction, it’s clear which way the causal arrow goes.”


3. 7 Ways Journalists Can Access Academic Resources for Free (Journalist’s Resource)
If you’re trying to keep up with academic research about diversity and inclusion on a shoestring, these ideas will help. Some are not as applicable to company employees (I doubt that academic databases are going to give you access for free, sadly.) But many of these tips can be used by anyone.


And I’ll add one that was not on the list: if you went to university, check out your alumni association benefits. As a Stanford alumni association member, I get access to many of the online journals and publications that Stanford subscribes to, as well as a certain number of library days per year. 


4.  The Dangers of Mistaking Diversity for Inclusion in the Workplace (Forbes)

After last week’s misstep, I wasn’t expecting much from Forbes for a while. But I found this article to be a good read that is both based in research and accessible to a broad audience. If you’re building the case for inclusion at your workplace, this one’s for you.


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