At the New Rules Summit, hosted by The New York Times, participants working in groups proposed changes to create equitable environments in the workplace. Here are the topics, quotations from group leaders and takeaways.
Men as Allies
Michael Chamberlain, vice president of strategic partnerships at Catalyst
HELP PERSONALIZE men’s involvement in the conversation around diversity and inclusion. As conversations about gender equity in the workplace continue, it’s important to make sure men who have retreated post-#MeToo understand the value of the movement for them. When men ask “Why do I need to care about this?” leaders need to be able to frame the ethical importance and the larger economic benefits of gender parity. The dialogue needs to take place across the organization and be framed as part of larger institutional goals. The goal is to eradicate zero-sum thinking to make it clear: Men don’t lose anything by participating in these initiatives.
CREATE A CULTURE that enables “interruption” and provides incentives for action. For years, businesses have emphasized training that raises awareness, but those programs often turn employees into spectators who are aware of bias issues but feel unmotivated to change them. Leaders should work to develop a culture that encourages employees to turn their awareness into concrete behavior and to speak out and disrupt a problematic workplace culture. Part of the goal is to communicate about these new expectations and bring them into everyday workplace culture.
COMPANIES HAVE HISTORICALLY made it the responsibility of minority groups to help bolster employees in the minority. But they need to build partnerships; men should be more involved in structured mentoring and diversity programs and invited to join conversations in which they have been ignored or rejected. Similarly, create a space to allow men to openly discuss their work in these initiatives, to normalize these efforts for reluctant male employees and to provide incentives for them to engage in similar behavior.