Tuesday November 20, 2018
 

How closing the gender gap improves your bottom line

interview questions

Despite years of high-profile diversity initiatives at corporations across the world, a recent study by consulting giant McKinsey & Co. paints a sobering picture of stalled progress.

According to McKinsey data gathered over four years, women’s representation steadily declines at every level up the ladder. This happens despite more women than men earning college degrees each year, actively pursuing raises and promotions and staying on the job just as long as men.

At the critical first step up the corporate ladder, when workers transition to management positions for the first time, women immediately lose ground compared to their male peers, dropping from 48% of entry-level workers to 38% of managerial staff.  And that trend is even more stark for women of color.

By the time someone works their way up the ranks to take on senior executive responsibilities, women make up just 22% of the total, and women of color hold less than 5% of C-level jobs. And at each stage of the pipeline, women’s representation has barely budged over the last four years.

Gender equality is good for business

This is more than a legal or social justice issue. Other McKinsey data indicates that increased diversity gives employers a competitive edge and correlates to above-average financial results.

McKinsey makes six key recommendations that’ll help companies improve diversity and tap into this under-appreciated source of business-performance fuel:

  1. Get the basics right—targets, reporting, and accountability.
  2. Ensure that hiring and promotions are fair.
  3. Make senior leaders and managers champions of diversity.
  4. Foster an inclusive and respectful culture.
  5. Make the “only experience” — where a worker is the only woman/person of color/LGBTQ/differently-abled person on a team or in a department — rare.
  6. Offer employees the flexibility to fit work into their lives.

McKinsey’s research and other large-scale studies make clear that it’s past time for companies to make hiring and promoting a diverse workforce a top priority. HR pros should work with leaders in all departments to set meaningful targets and make sure management is accountable for making progress, not just for saying the right things.

Gender equality is an important issue of fairness in the workplace, and there’s still a massive amount of work that remains to acheive it. But by taking the right steps, not only do employers help out their employees, they help their own bottom line.

 


 

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7 creative ideas for your out-of-office message

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to liven up your out-of-office email reply. 

Need inspiration? Take a look at the following real auto reply messages, captured by associate editor Kathy Gurchiek on SHRM.org, that people used to amuse (or maybe to confuse?) their recipient:

  • “Hi there! Hate to break it to you, but I’m onsite at an event today. You probably don’t want to hear this, since you’re working yourself, so here’s a cat video to cheer you up …”
  • “I’m on an emergency golf trip and unable to answer any calls or emails.”
  • “I’m away from my desk, drinking mai tais on a Caribbean beach far away from Wi-Fi. It’s likely your message will be swallowed up in the inbox oasis. So, if you require a response, please resend your email after …”
  • “I am unplugged and away from my email until [date]. Right now, I’m either in the spa getting a massage, gazing at the ocean or maybe just messing with you. You decide … If this is an important matter, please reach out again after [date]. If it’s not an important matter, please stop emailing people and go have some fun.”
  • “WHAT ARE YOUUUU doing emailing me on YOUR day off?”
  • “Hey, you just missed me. I wrapped up everything and I’m OOO … If your question can wait, great. If not, send it to the person who will bring satisfaction and meaning to your life [co-worker’s email address]. In case of emergency (e.g. someone needs help with his resume), you can reach me at [phone number].”
  • “I’m not in the office right now, but if it’s important, tweet me using #youareinterruptingmy vacation.”

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Pay equity: Closing the gender gap improves your bottom line

interview questions

Despite years of high-profile diversity initiatives at corporations across the world, a recent study by consulting giant McKinsey & Co. paints a sobering picture of stalled progress.

According to McKinsey data gathered over four years, women’s representation steadily declines at every level up the ladder. This happens despite more women than men earning college degrees each year, actively pursuing raises and promotions and staying on the job just as long as men.

At the critical first step up the corporate ladder, when workers transition to management positions for the first time, women immediately lose ground compared to their male peers, dropping from 48% of entry-level workers to 38% of managerial staff.  And that trend is even more stark for women of color.

By the time someone works their way up the ranks to take on senior executive responsibilities, women make up just 22% of the total, and women of color hold less than 5% of C-level jobs. And at each stage of the pipeline, women’s representation has barely budged over the last four years.

Gender equality is good for business

This is more than a legal or social justice issue. Other McKinsey data indicates that increased diversity gives employers a competitive edge and correlates to above-average financial results.

McKinsey makes six key recommendations that’ll help companies improve diversity and tap into this under-appreciated source of business-performance fuel:

  1. Get the basics right—targets, reporting, and accountability.
  2. Ensure that hiring and promotions are fair.
  3. Make senior leaders and managers champions of diversity.
  4. Foster an inclusive and respectful culture.
  5. Make the “only experience” — where a worker is the only woman/person of color/LGBTQ/differently-abled person on a team or in a department — rare.
  6. Offer employees the flexibility to fit work into their lives.

McKinsey’s research and other large-scale studies make clear that it’s past time for companies to make hiring and promoting a diverse workforce a top priority. HR pros should work with leaders in all departments to set meaningful targets and make sure management is accountable for making progress, not just for saying the right things.

Gender equality is an important issue of fairness in the workplace, and there’s still a massive amount of work that remains to acheive it. But by taking the right steps, not only do employers help out their employees, they help their own bottom line.

 


 

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EEOC sees retaliation claims rise: How to stay off its radar

The increase in sexual harassment charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have made headlines this fall, but that’s not the only eye-opening statistic coming out of the agency.

Retaliation claims a bigger share of EEOC charges

Retaliation claims and lawsuits now make up almost 50 percent of the EEOC’s workload. According to the most recent stats available from the agency, fiscal year 2017 saw retaliation jump from 46% of all charges filed to 49%, despite a drop in the total number of retaliation claims (from about 42,000 to 41,000). Retaliation claims under Title VII increased from 36% to 38% of filings.

Those figures should be a wake up call for all employers to review what constitutes retaliation under the law and how well policies and training prepare your organization to respond when you’re hit with a claim.

Protected activity

All employees have a clear right to raise concerns about, express their opposition to, or complain if they believe an employers practices or actions are illegal under the various statutes the EEOC is charged with enforcing.

Whether an employee slips a card into a suggestion box, hires a lawyer or contacts the commission, your organization may find itself paying out compensation if you punish, reprimand or take some other “adverse action” against the person who makes such a complaint.

Adverse actions can range from firing a worker after they point out possible safety lapses, demoting someone who claims she is not getting overtime pay despite working extra hours, or passing over an employee for a promotion after they request accommodation for an injury or disability.

While recent court cases make it clear that an employee can’t claim retaliation for action you take after they leave the company (like suing for breach of a non-compete agreement, for example), if the complaint is made while they are still employed, it may not matter if reported violations are unfounded. As long as an employee acts in good faith in making the complaint, taking any action against them can land you in front of a court or paying an expensive settlement to avoid a legal battle.

How to avoid retaliation claims

To protect against tripping retaliation land mines, you need to keep three major factors in mind:

  • timing of any actions
  • consistent disciplinary treatment of all employees, and
  • clear and complete documentation of any and all performance issues.

Try to avoid disciplining or counseling employees immediately after they engage in a protected activity. Of course, if the reason for your action is compelling and unrelated to that activity, you need to move forward regardless.

But if you do have to take action, make sure that your decisions are the same as they would be for any other employee. And, while an objective, detailed and complete record of any performance issue is always important, it becomes absolutely critical if you need to take action soon after a complaint is made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EEOC sees retaliation workload rise: How to stay off its radar

The increase in sexual harassment charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have made headlines this fall, but that’s not the only eye-opening statistic coming out of the agency.

Retaliation claims a bigger share of EEOC charges

Retaliation claims and lawsuits now make up almost 50 percent of the EEOC’s workload. According to the most recent stats available from the agency, fiscal year 2017 saw retaliation jump from 46% of all charges filed to 49%, despite a drop in the total number of retaliation claims (from about 42,000 to 41,000). Retaliation claims under Title VII increased from 36% to 38% of filings.

Those figures should be a wake up call for all employers to review what constitutes retaliation under the law and how well policies and training prepare your organization to respond when you’re hit with a claim.

Protected activity

All employees have a clear right to raise concerns about, express their opposition to, or complain if they believe an employers practices or actions are illegal under the various statutes the EEOC is charged with enforcing.

Whether an employee slips a card into a suggestion box, hires a lawyer or contacts the commission, your organization may find itself paying out compensation if you punish, reprimand or take some other “adverse action” against the person who makes such a complaint.

Adverse actions can range from firing a worker after they point out possible safety lapses, demoting someone who claims she is not getting overtime pay despite working extra hours, or passing over an employee for a promotion after they request accommodation for an injury or disability.

While recent court cases make it clear that an employee can’t claim retaliation for action you take after they leave the company (like suing for breach of a non-compete agreement, for example), if the complaint is made while they are still employed, it may not matter if reported violations are unfounded. As long as an employee acts in good faith in making the complaint, taking any action against them can land you in front of a court or paying an expensive settlement to avoid a legal battle.

How to avoid retaliation claims

To protect against tripping retaliation land mines, you need to keep three major factors in mind

  • Timing of any actions
  • consistent disciplinary treatment of all employees, and
  • clear and complete documentation of any and all performance issues.

Try to avoid disciplining or counseling employees immediately after they engage in a protected activity. Of course, if the reason for your action is compelling and unrelated to that activity, you need to move forward regardless.

But if you do have to take action, make sure that your decisions are the same as they would be for any other employee. And, while an objective, detailed and complete record of any performance issue is always important, it becomes absolutely critical if you need to take action soon after a complaint is made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gaming company’s ‘bro culture’ sparks gender discrimination lawsuit

Two women are suing “League of Legends” video game developer Riot Games for discrimination, harassment, and violation of the California Equal Pay Act.

In McCracken v. Riot Games, one current and one former employee of the company seek class action status for the suit, alleging that Riot denies women equal pay and limits their career advancement due specifically to their gender. The proposed class includes hundreds of current and former female Riot Games employees located across California.

The ex-employee claims she was not compensated for taking on extra work after her supervisor left the company. And, she says, when the company went looking for a replacement for her former boss, they interviewed three men but never gave her a chance to interview.

The current employee alleges illegal discrimination against women, saying her supervisor would only consider woman for junior positions, because he was uncomfortable with men having to do those jobs. When he took over as head of her new department after she’d transferred out of her original job, she says she was told she “had a target on her back,” and should look for another transfer or be fired.

Toxic “bro” culture

The women believe that the “bro culture” at Riot Games arises out of its focus on hiring hardcore gamers, many of whom are teenage boys. That focus, the plaintiffs say, translates into an unwritten policy and practice of discriminating against women. As a result 80% of Riot’s 2,500 employees are male.

The legal battle was launched following an investigative report into Riot’s “toxic culture” by gaming news and review site Kontaku. Following the report, the company issued a public apology and pledged to improve its efforts to ensure an environment of “Inclusivity, diversity, respect, and equality.”

The suit says the company continues to permit sexual harassment, misconduct and bias that create a negative work environment for women and continues to retaliate against women who report misconduct.

The lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles seeks all “underpaid” wages due to the plaintiffs and punitive damages.

Time for self-assessment

The tech industry’s workforce has been dominated by men from the beginning and has recently been especially hard hit by claims of sexism. But every employer needs to take “Inclusivity, diversity, respect, and equality” very seriously and look hard at its own culture for signs of toxicity.

Behavior that has been viewed as “boys being boys” can spill over into discrimination and harassment complaints even if the objectional acts or speech are not specifically aimed at workers of another gender. And, as this case shows, when “bro culture” spills over into hiring and promotion practices, the potential legal and financial consequences can be huge.

Cite: McCracken et al. v. Riot Games et al., Dist. Crt. of CA, C.D.,  No. 18stcv03957, 11/5/17.

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Heads up! Your dress code could be discriminatory

While each company has a different idea of what its employees should wear to work, employers usually have the power to enforce some kind of dress code. 

But with this ability come legal risks if the dress code isn’t applied equally to male and female employees.

Of course, the dress codes for men and women can’t be completely identical. For example, one very common difference is men only being allowed to wear pants, while women are able to wear dresses and skirts as well as pants.

These differences are widely considered reasonable, but things can start crossing into discrimination territory if employers try to force employees to conform to gender stereotypes or violate their religious beliefs.

‘Observe the ladies’

Here’s one recent example of a company trying to get a female employee to dress more femininely.

Chakia Harvell, a salesperson at Wyndham Vacation Ownership in Long Island, NY, claims she was fired for not conforming to female stereotypes in the way she dressed.

When Harvell first started her job, she wore trousers and ties to work. It wasn’t long until she was pulled aside by HR and told to re-examine the dress code. When Harvell didn’t change her clothes, the HR rep told her to “observe the ladies” in the office and mimic their dresses and heels.

Harvell refused, saying the company was trying to turn her into a feminine, stereotypical woman, which she wasn’t. She was eventually fired for lateness, according to Wyndham.

The case is pending, but it represents the great legal risks employers face by forcing gender stereotypes onto employees. Doing this could easily run afoul of laws protecting workers based on sex and gender identity.

Other issues

As well as sex discrimination, employers need to be wary of religious or national origin discrimination in their dress codes as well.

The EEOC says employers can establish a dress code that applies to all employees, but there may be some exceptions. For example, a disabled employee or a religious one may need a reasonable accommodation that violates the typical dress code.

Also, the EEOC says dress codes must be enforced consistently. If an employer allows workers to wear t-shirts and jeans but not traditional ethnic attire, this could lead to a national origin discrimination lawsuit.

 

 

 

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Why it pays to praise: 20 ways to say ‘good job’

You probably realize how powerful your words can be when you’re praising someone for a job well done.

By recognizing that person at just the right time with just the right words, you can impact that person – and your company – in a highly valuable way, say researchers.

Since a compliment’s free to give out and does much for morale and more, it pays to show your team much love. According to a new report from employee engagement firm TINYpulse, employees who receive continuous feedback believe that:

·         Their company is 11% better at taking action on their feedback

·         They feel 11% more valued at work

·         Their work environment is 12% better

·         They are 9% more likely to refer someone to work for their company

The Top 20 Employee Compliments

Recognizing your employees for good work, whether said in person or written on a performance review, starts with having the right words to express your words of appreciation. Here, TINYpulse offers its top 40 compliments that will express your gratitude, appreciation and encouragement:

1.    “Having you on the team makes a huge difference.”

2.    “You always find a way to get it done – and done well.”

3.    “It’s really admirable how you always see projects through from conception to completion.”

4.    “Thank you for always speaking up in team meetings and providing a unique perspective.”

5.    “Your efforts at strengthening our culture have not gone unnoticed.”

6.    “Fantastic work!”

7.    “Even when the going gets tough, you continue to have the best attitude.”

8.    “It’s amazing how you always help new employees get up to speed.”

9.    “Wow! Just when I thought your work couldn’t get any better!”

10. “Your work ethic speaks for itself.”

11. “Thanks for always being willing to lend a hand.”

12. “The pride you take in your work is truly inspiring.”

13. “You’re so great to work with.”

14. “I am continually impressed by the results you produce!”

15. “Thank you for being so flexible.”

16. “It’s incredible how thorough your work is.”

17. “Your work ethic is out of this world!”

18. “You have an extremely healthy perspective.”

19. “You’re one of the most reliable employees I’ve ever had.”

20. “Thank you for setting a great example for your coworkers.”

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Study: What hiring managers want most from resumes, interviews

Every HR pro has a different idea of what constitutes the perfect candidate. 

But according to a Netquote survey of 800 professionals in charge of hiring, there are quite a few common things catching pros’ eyes that are guaranteed to get applicants noticed — in both good ways and bad ways.

Do your preferences match up with everyone else’s?

Keep it simple

It all starts with the resume.

Those surveyed said their opinion of an applicant starts forming the second they look at the resume. The quickest way a candidate can turn off a hiring manager? Including a headshot with their resume.

According to the survey, 42% of HR pros view a resume in a negative light if the applicant has a photo attached to it.

When it comes to the physical appearance of the resume, hiring managers are split on whether they’d prefer a more creative design, or a strictly professional one: 36% don’t want a nontraditional resume, 35% appreciate them and 29% have no preference.

As far as length goes, the more concise, the better. Fifty-one percent consider three pages to be too many (and nearly one-quarter said two pages was too much).

Problem solvers wanted

In the actual interview, the survey revealed hiring managers are focused on candidates who have strong problem-solving skills.

Here’s the top five questions interviewers put the most stock in:

  • Tell me about a time you managed a conflict. (69%)
  • Tell me about a time you learned from a mistake. (68%)
  • Why did you leave your last job? (65%)
  • What are your biggest strengths? (64%)
  • What type of learner are you? (56%)

And the strengths hiring managers are most interested in?

  • problem-solving (42%)
  • communication (32%)
  • time management (30%)
  • honesty (21%), and
  • determination (20%).

But if a candidate says the wrong thing, it can be game over. Here are the most hated buzzwords:

  • “stuff” or “things” (57%)
  • “like” (51%)
  • “low-hanging fruit” (39%)
  • “game-changer” (18%), and
  • “synergy” (18%).

 

 

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Google’s #MeToo Moment: HR Impact Will Be Felt Far Beyond Silicon Valley

Though it’s been a year since the #MeToo movement first began, companies are still experiencing the fallout. And not even tech giant Google is immune.

On the morning of November 1, employees left their desks and filed out of Google’s Singapore office. They were the first of thousands of “Googlers” and Google contract workers that walked off the job to protest a company culture that has allowed a “history of harassment, discrimination, and protecting abusers.”

The organizers of the coordinated action published demands for change at Google. Those demands include:

  • Changes to Google’s process for handling employee complaints, especially harassment and sexual misconduct complaints
  • publication of a comprehensive sexual harassment report
  • pay equity and visibility into pay and promotion, including “transparent data on the gender, race and ethnicity compensation gap,” and
  • clear, uniform and globally inclusive processes for all employees and contract workers to report sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.

Harassment still a major issue

The protest was sparked by news reports that Google paid one of its top executives $90 million in exit payouts after an investigation found that he coerced a fellow Google employee into performing a sexual act. But the larger context is the widespread anger about recent revelations of ongoing sexual harassment and racial discrimination in the tech industry and about similarly lucrative deals for other men who have left companies amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

That anger stoked the #MeToo movement which continues to shine a spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace, as highlighted by EEOC statistics. Those stats show a large spike in harassment claims and lawsuits over the 12 months following the launch of the movement, as well as more harassment rulings and settlements that favor employees.

If the protesters achieve their goals at Google, their demands might well provide a blueprint for changes to harassment policies, reporting procedures, and transparency at companies of all sizes in every industry.

Because of Google’s size and the global ubiquity of its brand and products, the company’s response to the walkout protests are likely to create ripples that accelerate changes to EEOC guidance and force HR departments everywhere to update their policies and procedures immediately.

 

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