Diversity and Inclusion Matter, Even During a Pandemic

April 13, 2020 | J'Naia L. Boyd | Sean N. Simensky | Employment & Labor

As we all face these challenging times, it is  more important than ever to remain committed and focused on diversity and inclusion. Many employees, especially those who are underrepresented, may feel increasingly overlooked.

Rivkin Radler remains committed to our Development, Diversity and Inclusion initiative, and as a reminder of the importance of connectivity during these unusual days, the following are some helpful tips:

  1. Be cognizant of who you are assigning work to and why. Gone (for now) are the days of passing each other in the halls or by the coffee nooks, and so too are the days of popping into someone’s office to request or distribute an assignment.  Before delegating an assignment, check to see if someone’s plate is full and if that person is overwhelmed. Try not to make assumptions. Do not only ask questions, but be receptive to an employee’s thoughts and concerns and provide honest answers. For those needing assignments, be proactive, and make sure that your supervisors know your work load. For supervisors, ask yourself, am I being fair with the assignment distribution? Am I choosing someone because it’s more comfortable to just give it to the person I “know” well? Are certain employees receiving the “choice” assignments while others may be getting the less exciting/complex/client focused work? As we all know, these are ways to keep our implicit bias in check (e.g. the tendency to favor one over another based on affinity with that person). This is not designed to shame anyone else or even ourselves, it is about recognizing a fact and adjusting actions accordingly (interrupt the bias!).
  2. Provide clear guidance and expectations for all assignments. This is even more important when you are communicating “virtually.”  For those to whom an assignment is given, do not hesitate to ask for clarification. For those assigning work, recognize that asking for clarification may be more necessary than under normal circumstances. Additionally, ensure you are providing specific feedback to improve performance and, if there are issues due to working remotely, work together to consider ways to improve communication and understanding.  When assignments are turned in, confirm receipt and let your employees know you will provide feedback. Be sure to follow through. Working from home can feel isolating and even more so when it feels as though the communication is not reciprocal.
  3. Stay connected! During this time, it is so important to communicate and to check-in with everyone often. Let your employees know you are thinking about them and that you are available as a resource.  Consider scheduling conference calls or video calls with your group(s) on a regular basis to help monitor workflow.

This is a difficult time for all, but we must remember that we are all in this together.

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