For Women and Minorities to Get Ahead, Managers Must Assign Work Fairly

From Harvard Business Review authored by Joan C. Williams and Marina Multhaup:

“Organizations have been trying to improve diversity in the workplace for decades — with little success. The most common techniques, such as one-time sensitivity trainings, haven’t worked. The numbers of women and people of color in leadership roles are still staggeringly low across industries. Also well documented are the high rates of turnover for women, especially women of color.

We need to try some new techniques, starting with making systemic changes to the ways businesses are run. These don’t have to be big changes — in fact, even small tweaks to your basic systems (hiring, promotions, compensation) can lead to big changes. For many companies, the focus so far has been on making small adjustments to how performance evaluations are done. This is important but insufficient, because evaluations are inherently backward-looking: They can measure only the assignments someone has already gotten.

And not all assignments are equal. In every organization, in every field, there are multiple types. Some can set you up for promotion and skyrocket you to the top of your company — we call them glamour work. Other assignments are necessary but unsung. We call them office housework. Some are actual housework — getting the coffee for the morning stand-up, or cleaning up after a lunch meeting — and some are the unsung operational or administrative work that keeps the company rolling along.”

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