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  • VMware's 10-Year DEI Journey Offers Lessons on Long-Term Success, Black Employees are Code Switching Because Their Careers Depend on It, & RTO is Costing Employees the Equivalent of a Monthly Grocery Bill

VMware's 10-Year DEI Journey Offers Lessons on Long-Term Success, Black Employees are Code Switching Because Their Careers Depend on It, & RTO is Costing Employees the Equivalent of a Monthly Grocery Bill

DEI in 5: Biweekly DEI News

Read time: 7 minutes

“The average employee returning to the office spends $561 per month on transportation, additional child and pet care, and domestic assistance. That is comparable to the average two-person household’s grocery bill in the U.S. for the entire month.”

In a recent survey by BetterUp, the shift from remote to in-office work is shown to negatively impact employee well-being, leading to higher stress, burnout, and turnover intentions, along with lower trust in employers, engagement, and productivity. The enforced return is not only a disruption to daily routines but also imposes a significant financial burden, equating to an average monthly expense of $561 on commuting and additional care needs. This expense mirrors the average grocery bill for a two-person household in the U.S. Despite potential benefits of in-person work, such as increased life satisfaction and social connectedness, poorly managed return-to-office mandates are breeding resentment among employees. Read more at Fortune.

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Today’s Top 3 DEI News Bites👇🏾

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Summary: VMware's decade-long DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) journey showcases strategic initiatives that have led to significant and sustained diversity gains within the company. Despite facing economic, political, and legal challenges that have prompted many organizations to scale back DEI efforts, VMware has successfully increased the global percentage of women and underrepresented employees in the U.S., aligning with top decile rates in the tech industry.

The Details:

  • Accountability and Transparency: VMware tied DEI goals to the bonus structure across all organizational levels, starting with top executives. A DEI dashboard provided senior directors and above with access to comprehensive diversity metrics.

  • Inclusive Culture Shift: The company cultivated authentic relationships across different employee levels and backgrounds, recognizing that these connections are crucial for resetting implicit biases.

  • Reverse Mentoring: Executives were paired with less senior employees from diverse backgrounds for mutual learning and growth, leading to improved inclusive leadership and career progression.

  • Empowered Employee Resource Groups: Employee resource groups (ERGs) at VMware, known as Power of Difference communities, contributed strategically to the company's DEI initiatives and enjoyed recognition and compensation for their leadership roles.

  • Dialogue and Storytelling: VMware expanded its dialogue initiatives, including storytelling sessions and cultural exchanges, to enhance empathy and understanding across different employee experiences.

Why is this relevant: VMware's strategies exemplify how systemic changes in company culture can lead to lasting DEI improvements. By prioritizing DEI as a critical aspect of business success rather than an "extra" effort, and fostering relationships that provide mutual value, VMware has managed to embed DEI into its organizational fabric, resulting in consistent growth of diverse representation and engagement. These practices offer a blueprint for other companies looking to achieve similar long-term DEI successes.

Summary: Leaders navigating corporate diversity efforts face a polarized environment intensified by the Supreme Court's 2023 affirmative action ruling. To foster alignment on inclusion, they must adopt a negotiation mindset, treating stakeholders as participants in a complex negotiation on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the organization.

The Details:

  • DEI Expansion: In response to social justice movements, companies increased DEI programs, but chief diversity officers now face backlash amid a political shift against these efforts.

  • Supreme Court Impact: The ruling in the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard case, which banned race as a factor in university admissions, has raised questions about the legality of corporate DEI programs.

  • Opposition and Elections: With the presidential election approaching, politicians are taking clear stances on DEI, influencing corporate strategies.

  • Negotiation Mindset: DEI efforts are seen as multi-party, multi-issue negotiations. Leaders must prioritize cognitive framing and relationship building to counter the "fixed-pie" mindset.

  • Building Support: Leaders should sequence their initiatives, starting with less contentious issues to create momentum and leveraging relationships to gain support for more substantial changes.

Why is this relevant: The article highlights the complexity of implementing DEI initiatives in a corporate setting, especially in a politically charged environment. By viewing DEI efforts through the lens of negotiation, leaders can strategically engage stakeholders, reframe conversations, and build coalitional support, driving more effective and integrative DEI strategies that benefit the entire organization. This approach is crucial for creating inclusive workplaces where diversity is seen as a strength rather than a source of contention.

courtneyk via Getty Images

Summary: A recent survey by Traliant has revealed that concerns about workplace violence are affecting employees' mental health, productivity, and retention, with nearly 1 in 4 workers witnessing violence at work in the past five years. Although 70% of employees have received training on preventing workplace violence, 30% have not, indicating a significant gap that employers must address. The survey also found that while most workers believe their employer has a violence prevention plan, fewer are confident in the employer's ability to execute it effectively.

The Details:

  • Witnessing Workplace Violence: Almost 25% of employees have seen workplace violence directed at another employee within the last five years.

  • Training Gaps: 70% of employees have received workplace violence training, but a significant portion has not.

  • Employer Preparedness: A majority of employees are aware of a workplace violence plan, yet only 60% are confident in their employer's ability to respond to an incident.

Why is this relevant: The increase in workplace violence incidents has led to a rise in legislative action, such as California's new workplace violence law, which mandates that employers implement prevention plans and training by July 1, 2024. With OSHA and state legislatures exerting pressure, employers are legally obligated to create secure work environments. Proactively addressing workplace violence can help mitigate the negative impacts on employees and comply with emerging legal requirements. Moreover, with 90% of surveyed employees in favor of other states adopting similar legislation to California's, it's clear that workplace violence prevention is becoming a critical issue nationwide. Businesses must therefore incorporate violence prevention into their overall safety and health compliance programs to ensure employee well-being and maintain a fair, safe workplace.

A few other developments…👇🏾

Until later,

This newsletter is co-curated by Nico Escobar. Need virtual coordination? Social media management? Content creation? Reach out to her!

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