Human Resources and diversity and inclusion expert, Josh Bersin says, “Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers.”

In fact, according to Talentlyft, diverse workplaces experience higher creativity levels, faster problem solving, higher employee engagement, more innovation, and a better company reputation.

Greenhouse reports that diverse workplaces attract better candidates and have higher revenues than their less diverse peers.

While it’s the right thing for every business to do, impactful Diversity and Inclusion practices go beyond recruiting and hiring. Your company must ensure that all employees feel like they’re a part of the team. This month, ON Point tackles diversity and inclusion by sharing some benefits and unique ideas for cultivating an inclusive workplace.

 

  1. Write results-based job descriptions. Men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the job requirements while women only apply when they meet 100% of the requirements. Rather than list out what the requirements are, frame your job descriptions to illustrate the results you expect from the candidate 6 months to a year from their hire date rather than everything they should have going into the job. After all, learning a new job is a growth experience even for the most qualified candidate.
  2. Blind screen resumés. Research shows that people with ethnic-sounding names need to send out more resumes before getting hired and that resumes coming from women tend to rank lower than their male peers during HR review. Have your HR team review resumes without the names attached to avoid bias.
  3. Check your bathroom stock. Go beyond toilet paper and paper towels– make sure you offer tampons and other feminine hygiene products. Provide them at no cost. Include signage that identifies your bathrooms as inclusive – simply add a sign on each bathroom door that says “For those who identify as.”
  4. Put dish duty on rotation. Studies show that women clean up the breakroom more often than their male counterparts. And this task and those like it cut into their productivity. Put breakroom cleaning on rotation and make all employees responsible for keeping the breakroom clean. When someone steps up and goes outside of the rotation to keep it clean, recognize them for their efforts.
  5. Celebrate holidays and events of underrepresented minorities. Offices always have a Holiday Party in December why not celebrate Pride in June? Or Black History Month in February? Invite employees from those communities to incorporate their traditions into the celebration. You’ll learn more about one another and it’ll be fun.
  6. Check your office temperature. Did you know that office thermostats are calibrated to keep men comfortable? Check your thermostat. Is everyone comfortable? Are women running around in heavy “office sweaters” in July? Get input from your employees and find an office temperature that’s suitable for the majority.
  7. Offer company swag in women’s and extended sizes. Whether folks wear swag to trade shows or simply to show their company pride, when it fits well and looks good on them, you look good too.
  8. Start blogging. Invite diverse employees from each department to write about your company from their perspective. You’ll learn how those employees feel about the company and you’ll reach a more diverse market.
  9. Think about work-life balance. Employers who offer flex-time, work-from-home, and flexible PTO have higher employee retention and more productive employees. Trust that your employees will make the right decisions. They’ll prioritize appropriately. Schedule some team-building events during the workday so that employees who have family obligations can attend.
  10. Rethink your meeting style. Distribute meeting agendas and talking points ahead of time to accommodate different working styles. Then, structure those meetings round-robin style to give everyone a chance to talk. Studies show that women who speak up during meetings are more likely to be interrupted than their male counterparts under the traditional model. By restructuring your meetings, you’ll allow for a more diverse input leading to more creativity and innovation.

 

Empathetic leadership is good leadership. But leaders must do some work themselves. Think about who your employees are now and who you’d like them to be in the future. Company diversity is more than a hashtag or a public statement. At ON Point, we’re here to help you do the work you need to do take Diversity and Inclusion to the Next Level.

We expect leaders to lead regardless of circumstances. That’s why they’re leaders – they know how to lead. And now that we find ourselves in uncharted waters – we still expect leaders to lead. So how do we, as leaders, lead our teams through unprecedented crises? What is quarantine teaching us about leadership? And how do we move forward?

Here at ON Point, we know even during crises, the fundamentals of good leadership remain. People look to leaders for consistency in the face of uncertainty. The good news is the leadership skills you’ve been developing throughout your career, you can implement them in a crisis. Here’s what we’ve learned over the past several weeks.

 

Step up your communication.

Communication is the cornerstone of good leadership. During uncertain times, teams turn to their leaders to show them how to move forward. Make sure they get all the information they need about organizational changes promptly. And be available for questions. When changes happen as rapidly as they are right now, there are bound to be plenty of questions.

You probably already have some workplace protocols in place for extenuating circumstances. Now’s the time to update those protocols. Meet with fellow leaders, reflect on your new circumstances, update your protocols. Compile a list of resources to share with your employees. Include mental health resources, technology resources, and identify key people within your organization who can assist people as they navigate these new times.

 

Be patient.

Change is stressful. Sudden change is even more stressful. The uncertainty that comes with a situation as fluid as this one is unimaginably stressful. Keep in mind that every person on your team feels the stress – even you. While you can’t expect to eliminate the anxiety, acknowledging the anxiety goes a long way – and patience plays a big role in this.

Everyone has their coping strategies. People will have a hard time managing their feelings, and some folks are overcoming steep learning curves as we move to remote and digital work.

Those leaders who recognize that the changes are affecting everyone, empathize with frustrated team members, and provide resources and solutions when problems arise will be better equipped to move their organizations forward. And it’s always comforting to know that you’re sharing circumstances, don’t be afraid to tell your team that you share their anxieties – without seeming hysterical.

 

Keep building community.

More than anything, people want a sense of connection. Even folks who enjoy working in solitude. When people work together in an office environment, that sense of connection is automatic. Remote work brings with it a new set of challenges.

But, thanks to technology and apps like Zoom, we’re finding new ways to connect – and we’re using them. As a leader, you can continue to facilitate the connections that build great teams. Set up those Zoom calls. Help folks out who struggle with technology and check in with everyone.

 

Don’t forget self-care.

Even if you didn’t expect to lead during a time like this, and who did? Your team will continue to look to you for leadership. If you’re working from home, set a schedule for yourself and boundaries for your family so everyone in your household knows when you’re available and when you’re working. Keep to that schedule. As leaders, it’s tempting to “be there” for your team at all hours. Remote work blurs the lines between work time and family time. Your schedule should honor both times – and you should stick to it.

ON Point Next Level Leaders know that a key characteristic of a strong leader is adaptability. By adapting your leadership skills to fit the changing times, and taking the lessons learned during quarantine, you’ll be able to lead your teams through this new situation.

Remote working isn’t new. It has continued to increase in popularity and statistics each year as it allows more flexibility, better work/life balance, and less time spent commuting. The amount of people who work remotely at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010. (GetApp) As of 2019, more than half of full-time in-office employees want to work remotely. (Owl Labs)

So, why does this feel so hard? Lack of human connection. Even for those who previously worked remotely full-time, they had natural human connections through coffee shops, running errands, visiting friends, going to the gym, and meetings with clients. Those catapulted into full-time remote working not only lost all of those instances of human connection, but also their workplace environment, office culture, and face-to-face interaction with their teammates.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. Whether working remotely is a regular occurrence for you, or a whole new world, staying connected with your team through this time is vital professionally – and personally. Here are our top 8 tips to keep you ON Point and connected:

  1. Mix It Up: Every communication doesn’t have to be an email or a zoom session. Picking up the phone for a call can get you to a resolution more quickly while feeling (almost) like you went over to someone’s desk for a quick chat.
  2. Honor Your Culture: What makes your team or office unique? Why do people enjoy working there? Take your answers and translate them into our virtual world. Do you often eat lunch together? Block off lunch for a team zoom session. Not only will this keep you connected, but it creates a forced break in the day, which often goes by the wayside while working remotely.
  3. Create Space for Encouragement: It isn’t until it’s gone that we realize how many simple words and actions of encouragement happen throughout the day. Start your next zoom meeting with 5 minutes of shout outs. Create a Slack channel for giving praise. Start an email chain where if you receive an email of recognition, you send one.
  4. Use Technology Wisely: There is a bountiful amount of applications for remote project management and team communication. You don’t need to use them all. Using too many tools or springing new processes on your team while adjusting to working remotely can do more harm than good. Pick what works best for your organization and create a training session, clearly defining how you will be using these new tools.
  5. Emphasis on Communication: Don’t let the isolation of working remotely alter your regular communication. Have a question? Communicate. Have an issue? Communicate. Have an idea? Communicate. Have a win? Communicate!
  6. Be Supportive: This unprecedented time isn’t business as usual. People on your team may be juggling kids, homeschooling, grocery delivery to elderly parents, pets, and more – not to mention the general anxiety that comes with a global crisis. Be supportive and be flexible. Everyone is doing the best they can.
  7. Plan It Out: With everyone juggling multiple things every day, it is more important than ever to maintain your team calendar platform. Send out meeting planners in advance so people can coordinate with spouses or plan to set up in a quieter area of the house.
  8. Don’t Forget to Have Fun! Meetings don’t have to be all business all of the time. Taking time to check in with each other will protect your team morale and keep you connected.

Earlier this year, football fans around the globe watched the first female and first openly gay person coach an NFL team in the Superbowl. But as Katie Sowars would tell it, she was just doing what she loves to do – and staying true to who she is as a person. When women do that, they make history – that’s ONPoint.

Let’s take a look at three more ONPoint women who made history by doing what they loved and being true to themselves and, in the process, inspire us to do the same.

Caroline Quien, Elena Holbrook, and Ella Harris made history this year at the University of Southern California’s Film School – where they submitted the first-ever undergraduate Film by an all-female cast and crew as their senior project. That wasn’t what they set out to do, at first. But, only one man interviewed to be on the team. Unfortunately, his vision for the production was not in line with the rest of the team. And the ladies had to stay true to their idea. In the end, everyone involved in the production – from the actors, directors, to the set crew was female. That’s a first for USC Film School undergraduates.

Attorney Brittany Barnett heads Girls Embracing Mothers. The non-profit organization works to maintain and strengthen the mother-daughter bond between mothers who are incarcerated and their daughters. Barnett’s mother was incarcerated when she was a child and that experience drove her to study law and work to overhaul the criminal justice system. Instead of chasing money by pursuing a corporate law career, she stayed true to herself and cut her teeth doing pro bono criminal cases for a large firm until she took a position with the non-profit. Barnett’s work with Girls Embracing Mothers made history by expanding visitation for incarcerated mothers so that they can be better parents to their daughters.

Louisa May Alcott loved to write. So she wrote. And made history in the process. Alcott gave us the beloved and timeless Little Women. And she didn’t compromise on her vision for female characters. By staying true to herself, the characters, particularly Jo March, endure as relatable – even today. The story is so timeless that it’s been adapted for film as recently as 2019. New generations continue to love Jo, Amy, Meg, and Beth March's adventures as much as Alcott did when she wrote them.

When you stay true to yourself, you can make history. Simply by being the best at what you do. Keep inspiring – and surround yourself with women who inspire you.

Women ONPoint’s making history by cultivating a community of leadership that embraces diversity and inclusion without compromising growth or excellence. Let’s make history together.

Next Level leaders have great ideas. We hire great talent to help us implement those ideas. And we compensate our teams well. But if the talent doesn’t stay excited about the idea or the team, we’ve lost both.

 

Keeping a team happy and passionate about our idea is no easy task. But it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it sounds. Just share the love.

 

To help leaders do just that, we’re sharing some ideas we’re passionate about here at Women ON Point.

 

Have regular conversations.

Too often leaders and management react at the first sign of a team going downhill. ON Point leaders do things differently. Regular team assessments give help leaders understand how to support the team, where the team strengths lie, and what can improve.

 

Teams who participate in regular check-ins get used to the process. As time goes on, members open up and be more willing to share.

 

Keep the team-building ongoing.

Before bonding as a team individuals have to like one another. And the individuals on your team may have liked one another at one time. You liked them, that’s why you hired them. But as with any relationship, team members must work on their relationships with one another outside of day-to-day tasks.

 

Next Level leaders know that regular team-building exercises help team members work on their relationships with one another. Tackling a challenge that’s different from the norm forces individuals to let go of their past, challenge current assumptions about one another, and building stronger interpersonal relationships.

 

Be a leader that celebrates.

Nothing makes folks feel better than a pat on the back. ON Point leadership recognizes individual and team successes. It doesn’t cost a thing – and the benefits are priceless. Recognition fuels workplace happiness, motivation and gives employees a sense of value and belonging.

 

Give ownership.

ON Point leadership knows that every team member from the entry-level to the most senior member feels like they played a role in every success. And when things don’t go well, they take the time to analyze how each contribution played a role without pointing fingers. Every win is a team win and every loss is a team loss. Next Level leaders foster this team spirit by ensuring that the workload is shared equally to give all team members a sense of ownership.

 

Don’t just lead the team, be part of the team.

Make it clear to your team that as a leader, you are an equal part of the team. And be happy to do so. When the team sees that you are working on the project as hard as they are, rather than ruling from an ivory tower, they’ll keep putting in the extra effort. Your passion is infectious – that’s how you were able to find and convince top talent to be part of your team.

 

Here at Women ON Point, we’re here to help ON Point Next Level leaders build and maintain ON Point Next Level teams. Taking a little extra time with your team ensures that your team continues to feel the love – long after the month of love is over.

Happy new year! At WomenOnPoint, we are always striving to help you improve and build on your successes. If you were with us throughout 2019, you had a front-row seat to all of our new programs and initiatives, and we are immeasurably grateful to have been a part of your growth. As we begin a brand-new decade, we want to help you improve your overall wellbeing in the workplace, and beyond. 2020 is a great year to take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing, and to enjoy all the benefits of a healthier and more successful you.

Develop a practice of gratitude

Taking a moment at the beginning or end of each day to list even just a few things to feel grateful for can lead to a clearer mind and the ability to be more present in the moment. The more specific you can be, the more meaningful the practice will become to you. For example, it’s perfectly fine to list having a job in this uncertain economy as something to be grateful for. However, you will benefit more if you can list something unique to you, e.g., “I am grateful to lead a team of such talented professionals,” or “I am grateful for the challenge and rewards of my work.”

Learn something new

The value of a hobby might not be readily apparent to developing our leadership skills, but studies show that people who spend time on recreational activities tend to be more alert and better equipped to deal with stress. Not to mention the boost of confidence that comes with acquiring and improving on a new skill. As a busy professional, it might seem daunting to try and make time for a new pursuit, but a hobby doesn’t have to claim much time or even effort. There are tons of apps out there to exercise your brain, teach yourself a new language, or learn about everything from medieval history to architecture.

Nurture connections (and make new ones)

Your colleagues are uniquely qualified to understand the challenges you face in your job. Use that to your advantage and build a supportive community of your fellow professionals. Note that we used the word “supportive” – choose to be around people who are positive and focused on growth. Negative people in all areas of life will do little more than suck the life out of you, leaving you vulnerable to stress and depression.

Take care of your body

Taking care of yourself physically will do wonders for your emotional and mental wellbeing.  You don’t have to make drastic changes or even care about a number on a scale to see and feel the positive difference in your daily life. For example, taking a short walk during the workday can stimulate your feel-good hormones and send you back into the office feeling re-energized and refreshed. Walks or other physical activity can even boost your creativity and help you come up with ideas to help your team succeed.

A new decade is a great time to set goals for our development as leaders. Emphasizing your mental and emotional wellness, emotional self-awareness, and wellbeing is one of the smartest investments you can make in your continued professional growth. We hope you’ll join us this year and take advantage of WomenOnPoint as an invaluable resource.

Thanksgiving is a special day to express thanks, gratitude and appreciation…but what about the other 364 days of the year?

As ON Point leaders, it’s critical to recognize and reward your team on a regular basis. Yet, so many leaders struggle with this simple skill, because they often don’t understand why someone should be rewarded for just doing their job.

If this is your mindset, maybe these staggering statistics about the power of positivity can change your mind…

Showing gratitude and appreciate decreases turnover by 22%, reduces frustration by 29%, lowers stress and depression by 28%, 81% of employees say that appreciation motivates them the most and 70% would work harder with more appreciation.

Here are 10 Ways to Say Thank You in Honor of Thanksgiving.

  1. Simply Say Thank You – never underestimate the power of those two little words, and never miss an opportunity to say thank you, especially when it’s said in a hand-written note.
  2. Optimize Occasions – birthdays, work anniversaries, kids’ graduations or a new certification are all reasons to take a beat and not just gloss over and get back to work.
  3. Celebrate Wins – start your daily huddle or team meeting with wins, both personally and professionally, to set a positive tone and encourage high-fives and congratulations.
  4. Cheers from Peers – encourage brag buddies to share successes, good news, extra efforts and gratitude between peers.
  5. Gift of Giving – find out their favorite coffee shop, retail store or spa service and show your appreciation with a personalized and thoughtful gift card.
  6. Time Out – time is our most valuable commodity and a great way to show gratitude with extra PTO, a customized flex-time schedule or a spontaneous invitation to leave work early.
  7. Invest in Development – reward your top performers with an opportunity to get even better by sending them to a leadership development summit like Women ON Point.
  8. Build & Bond – arrange a special offsite team building and bonding event to have fun, play hooky from work and show your team how much they mean to you.
  9. Ask Don’t Assume – appreciate and gratitude is not a one-size fits all so if you don’t know, then simply ask so you can honor them in a way that’s meaningful to them.
  10. Awards & Trophies – public displays of awards, certificates, ribbons, trophies and funny trinkets can lift your teams’ spirits, keep them motivated and recognize their accomplishments and hard word.

Thanksgiving is a special day to reflect on all the wonderful things you are grateful for…friends, family, good food, good health, a fulfilling career, a home, lots of love and more. To take your leadership skills to the Next Level, and to become an ON Point leader, it’s about turning that special day into an everyday practice.

We know you. You’re driven, motivated and wired to succeed. You move at lightning speed and are on the fast track to bigger and better things. And we couldn’t be more excited or more proud of our Women ON Point alumni and all their success.

We also know there is a big difference between doing things right and doing the right things. Are you focused on the “right things” that will catapult your career?

Pam, Sara and I have had the incredible privilege of working with a team of 30 dynamic, executive women and guiding them through our 12-month leadership academy. These women are leaders and at the top of their game. Superstars when we met them on day one.

But like everyone else, there was still room to grow…and did they ever!

Knowing that soft skills account for 85% of overall success, we administered the Emotional Intelligence assessment at the beginning and then again at the end of the leadership academy. Not surprising this group of Rockstar, over-achievers increased their overall scores by almost 300 points collectively. But how?

The age-old adage…How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

As you can imagine, these go-getters wanted to dive in and tackle all 15 EQ sub-scales at one time. But that is not how you eat an EQ elephant…and that is not how you move the needle and make improvements. Rome was not built in a day, and neither were you.

3 Ways to Focus Your Attention and Find Success

Less is More

When it comes to personal and professional growth and development, it’s impossible to improve everything at once. Don’t try to eat the entire elephant in one sitting. Focus on two or three areas that need your attention, narrow down a few specific behaviors that could use a little TLC and identify a couple of actions that could be better.

Create Accountability

One of the greatest benefits of having an executive coach is accountability. A coach helps you hyper-focus on the top priorities and holds you accountable for implementing change. However, you can also create accountability with a friend, colleague, mentor or team. Accountability helps turn your focus into results.

Celebrate Success

By breaking down your elephant into manageable, bite-sized pieces, it allows you to closely track the progress and celebrate the success. Whether it’s crossing the finish line or crossing something meaningful off your to-do list, it’s critical to acknowledge and recognize your successes. Remember, small wins quickly add up to significant successes.

We know that what you focus on grows. If you’re interested in growing your success, then it’s time to focus on doing the “right things” in the right way. And, we are here to help and to happily announce our Women ON Point: Next Level Leadership signature summits for 2020!

We have good news and bad news. The good news is that our Women ON Point alumni are going gangbusters with more than a 70% success rate when it comes to promotions, raises, new career opportunities, board seats, and awards and recognitions.

Congratulations to everyone!

The bad is news is that delegation is still an anchor and an obstacle that prevents many from fully embracing that next level of leadership.

Let’s be honest. We are uber-competent when it comes to getting things done, and often believe we can do it faster and better than anyone else one. We also don’t ever want to overload or inconvenience anyone with additional tasks. However, knowing that effective leadership is defined by getting things done through others, mastering the art of delegation is critical to leadership success.

Here are 5 Steps to Delegating with Confidence:

1. Think of Delegation as a Gift

The first step is shifting your mindset. Instead of thinking of delegation as burdening or bothering someone else, think of it as a gift. You are gifting someone with an opportunity to shine, an opportunity to grow, and an opportunity to feel like a valued member of the team.

2. Start Small

Delegation is all about setting someone else up for success. Start with small, more manageable sized tasks and build from there. This allows you to also build trust and confidence in their skills and ability to deliver.

3. Set Clear Expectations

Clearly communicating expectations when delegating responsibilities is the difference between success and failure. Let the person know exactly why you’re asking and/or directing that project to them, what you want them to do, and when you want it done.

4. Check-In

Few people perform at their best with a “dump and dash” type of approach. When initially delegating, the onus is on you to check in routinely for a status update, to address any questions, and to make sure the assignment is on track for a successful outcome.

5. Celebrate

We talk a lot about “wins” at Women ON Point and delegating successfully is certainly something to celebrate. Instead of hastily moving onto the next item on the to-do list, take a moment and recognize that person for stretching their skill set, for expanding their bandwidth, or for going the extra mile. Rewarding a new job well done not only boosts that person’s confidence level, but it also strengthens your confidence in your ability to delegate…and a win-win situations is always worth celebrating!

How did you know this was exactly what I needed to hear and what I need to learn how to do?”

This is what we heard after taking a deep dive into resilience at a Women ON Point leadership academy event in Denver last week for 30 top-level women from a global tech company.

We know resilience is one of the most relevant and critical issues that exist in the workplace today. But WHY?

Because, there is more change, chaos and disruption than ever before. Technology innovation moves at the speed of light, global expansion seems to happen overnight, millennials will dominate the workforce by 2025, mergers and acquisitions can feel like a total blindside and people on average change jobs 12 times during a career.

There are unexpected challenges, struggles, twists, turns and roadblocks that happen every single day, and if your resilience muscle is not in tip-top shape, then you’re not going to make it.

Building resilience doesn’t happen by accident, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Like any muscle, strengthening your resilience muscle requires daily exercise. If you want to be able to go the distance, withstand turbulent times and bounce back from adversity, then resilience is your key to success.

Here are 3 Ways to Strengthen Your Resilience Muscle:

1. Know Your “WHY”

Without a clearly defined passion and sense of purpose, hardships can quickly turn into insurmountable obstacles. Knowing your “why” allows you to focus on the deeper meaning behind what you do and propels you through difficult times. It’s the “eye on the prize” strategy and your “prize” needs to touch your heart, feed your soul and be bigger and more important than any daily drama.

2. Practice Self-Care

Your career is a marathon, not a sprint, and if you don’t care for yourself like an elite athlete, you’ll never make it to the finish line. Plenty of sleep, healthy food and exercise are a given, but there is more to self-care than that. Try unplugging from technology for a weekend, spending more quality time with the important people in your life, reading a book for fun, volunteering in the community or meditating. Discover what fills you up with positive energy and commit to doing more of that.

3. Bend Without Breaking

Resilience is about the ability to bend without breaking. The more you can adapt, pivot, course correct and be flexible, the better equipped you will be to manage, withstand, overcome and rise above any challenging situation. You may have four different managers in a single year, experience unprecedented growth overnight, lose your largest client or be in the middle of a myriad of personal struggles, but it’s your ability to think outside of the box, be open to new ideas and seek alternative solutions that will allow you to win out in the end.

 

Resilience is so much more than the buzz word of the day. It’s a strategy for long-term success. If you want to make sure you’re armed and ready to go the distance, then you need to make sure your resilience muscle is as strong as it can be.