Engaging men, celebrating men who get it & lots more

Published: 06/05/2014

As Catalyst rightly says “Men have a critical role to play in creating inclusive workplaces.” Yet too often men are an untapped resource in gender initiatives.” Catalyst research shows that the more men know about gender inequalities, the more likely they are to lead efforts to close the gender gap.

To learn more about the critical role men—and white men in particular—can play in creating more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces, read Catalyst’s report from July 2012, Calling All White Men: Can Training Help Create Inclusive Workplaces?

In this post I want to share several, articles, videos, blog posts that might help you in your journeys towards diversity and inclusive workplaces.

I’d love to hear about your initiatives, company programmes and individual stories: What worked, what didn’t? Did you succeed? How long did it take? How have the initiatives evolved? Did the programmes have buy-in from employees and/or top management?

Happy reading & viewing, Barbara

P.S. We have a page dedicated to resources and dialogue around engaging men which we update regularly. Link to it here.

Some recent blog posts from MARC (Men Advocating Real Change, a Catalyst initiative) on this topic

5 Minutes with a Skeptic, by Anthony Mitchell

Reflecting on “perspective talking” Noah Prince acknowledges that in order for skeptics to drop their guard, they need validation for who they are. Active listening and open-ended questions are key. “Can you tell me more about your perspective? …I am interested in learning more about why you think and feel this way on this issue.”
Seeking Perspectives, by Noah Prince

Each of us has defining moments that shape who we are as leaders. As an executive in the research and engineering field at a 2014 Catalyst Award company, Pete shares his “a-ha” moment in realizing the importance of advocating for equal opportunities for men and women in the workplace, specifically within the STEM (science, technology, education, and math) field. “It simply is a business and leadership imperative that we recruit, develop, and advance from our entire population.”
Don’t Just Sit There – Advocate!, by Pete Dulcamara

Ever heard of the pro-feminist movement? Reflecting on his recently released book Voice Male, guest blogger Rob Okun highlights how the movement can not only transform conventional ideas about manhood but also provide concrete action to realize it.
Profeminist Men and “The Great Turning”, by Rob Okun

 “Men Who Get It” Videos:

Men Who Get It: Have You Checked Your Blind Spots?
November 15, 2013 — What’s the biggest obstacle working women face, according to Alistair Fraser, Vice President, Health, Shell International Ltd? “I could say the biggest obstacle to women’s advancement in the workplace is men, but that’s being a little bit simplistic, even for a man…”

Watch Dino E. Robusto, Executive VP, The Chubb Corporation and President of Personal Lines and Claims, explain how when women lead, businesses benefit.

Watch Harjiv Singh, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Gutenberg Communications, share the secret to shaping the future of business in India.

Watch Jim Turley, retired Chairman & CEO, Ernst & Young (EY), and Honorary Director and former Chair of Catalyst’s Board of Directors (from 2009–2013), tell how to confront hidden biases.

Watch Anthony Mitchell, Catalyst’s Senior Membership Manager, Atlanta, explain why he’s passionate about gender diversity.

Watch millennial Bryant Daley, a Budget Analyst at Forest Laboratories, Inc., tell how men who “get it” can help break barriers for women.

Watch Joan Buccigrossi, Director of Global Inclusion & Engagement, Rockwell Automation, discuss the importance of dialogue in creating organizations where diverse talent thrives.

Watch Lee Tschanz, Vice President, North American Sales, Rockwell Automation, discuss the company’s culture change.

Watch the video introduction to Catalyst’s new report, Anatomy of Change: How Inclusive Cultures Evolve, and read more about the study.

7 Things Men Should Do At Work To Help Women Get Even

Kunal Modi, Contributor to Business Insider, 29 Aril 2014. Kunal Modi, 29, is a management consultant and contributor to new book “Lean In for Graduates.”
Warren Buffett once famously quipped that part of the reason for his success was that he was only competing with half the population: men. While much progress has been made in the past 50 years, women are still grossly underrepresented in the top ranks of society, comprising less than 20% of boardrooms and Congressional seats.

But there are encouraging signs that the tide may be turning. Research from McKinsey & Company has found that without the productive power of women entering the workforce since 1970, our economy would be 25% smaller than it is today — an amount equal to the combined GDP of Illinois, California, and New York.

Meanwhile, surveys show that millennials — who will comprise nearly half the workforce by 2020 — overwhelmingly support more women in the workplace and greater roles for men at home.

Enabling women to succeed in your workplace is not just the right thing to do — it’s also a competitive advantage. But how do we get there?

You don’t have to be CEO to create a better environment for women in your workplace. Here are seven tips for men to “lean in” at work:

Don’t cast women in supporting roles

During one project in my early career, my team affectionately referred to a female colleague as our “team mom.” We thought of the nickname as a compliment but, in retrospect, the label unfairly boxed her into a narrow role. A majority of women end up in support roles, but it’s the mission-critical roles that more often lead to senior management positions. Encourage women on your team to take on stretch roles — tapping into the skills of a diverse set of colleagues can improve overall performance.

Jump in when women get interrupted

At the next meeting you attend, pay attention to who gets interrupted. If it happens a lot to women in your group, you can help. Be the one who says, “I’d like to hear where she was going with that idea.” It is good for her, contributes to your team, and elevates your leadership.

Make sure women receive fair credit

Women often downplay their accomplishments, while men parade theirs openly. And all of us tend to celebrate men more than women at work. Researchers from New York University found that women get less credit than male counterparts for team accomplishments.

Help set up mentorship programs

In almost every industry, there are not enough women in senior management to mentor all the junior women. Senior men need to jump in and do their part. If your company doesn’t have a formal mentorship program, suggest one. It’s proven that they make a difference.

Ask human resources to provide bias training

Like many, I was raised to believe that women and men are equals. But we each have blind spots. Biases are deeply ingrained from our earliest experiences. We give our boys action figures and our girls princess dolls. As we grow older, those biases persist. We call men who are assertive and direct “straight shooters” while women are called “bossy.” As a result, women tend to face a “likability penalty” during performance evaluations.

Evaluate corporate social events

Social activities at work aim to help teammates bond but can actually do the opposite if they cater to narrow interests. Everyone does not always have to be invited to everything, but a little mindfulness helps create a more welcoming environment.

Talk about families at work

Openly talk to the women and men about the support your company provides for families. A group of fathers in my office recently started a new dads’ initiative. The group created a forum for men in the office to trade tips for navigating early fatherhood while transitioning back to the rhythm of the workplace.

Gender issues are men’s issues too. Undervaluing half our population limits the performance of our economies and companies. Ignoring our own biases and workplace research about half our teams, limits our abilities as managers. It’s time for us to man up and lean in at work.

Kunal Modi, 29, is a management consultant in San Francisco, Calif. This article was adapted from his chapter “Man Up and Lean In” in the newly released book “Lean In for Graduates.” Link to online article

Here’s Why Banning The Word ‘Bossy’ Is Great For Women
Campaign that was launched this month by Rachel Thomas, President of LeanIn.org and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Done in partnership with the Girl Scouts, the campaign aims to raise awareness around how gendered language holds girls and women back from pursuing leadership roles.

Karyn Twaronite Headshot


Karyn Twaronite, Partner of Ernst & Young LLP and the EY Americas Inclusiveness Officer

Article posted 28 April 2014

“What About the Men? They Need Life Outside of Work, Too”

When New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy missed the season’s first two games for the birth of his first child, he and his wife faced something they likely weren’t expecting: A media firestorm that pitted men’s work responsibilities against their family lives. One radio host even proclaimed that Murphy’s wife should have had a C-section, so he wouldn’t miss opening day. The stigma some men face in working flexibly to juggle personal and professional goals suddenly stepped right up to the plate.

Thankfully, EY’s male professionals increasingly speak up about the importance of flexibility, whether they are married or single, with or without children. Many are high achieving, progressive and aspire to have it all. While they have different life demands, they all want a dynamic career and a meaningful life outside of work. Yet, in today’s workplaces, the conversation about flexibility largely centers only on women. So, we need to ask “What about the men?”

Consider this:

  • Men’s job demands have climbed, according to a Families and Work Institute study, The New Male Mystique. Perceptions of having to work very fast and hard have increased. Technology has blurred the boundaries between work and non-work. In fact, 41 percent of men say they are contacted at least once a week or more by colleagues outside of normal working hours. This creates a longer workday than ever before and 54 percent of men surveyed indicated they’d prefer to work fewer hours.
  • At the same time, however, job security has declined. According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, median weekly earnings of men age 25 and older employed full-time in both wage and salaried jobs have actually declined slightly, adjusted for inflation. Men are working harder for less take-home money.
  • Additionally, with more dual career households, men are taking on added family responsibilities. Furthermore, a Pew study shows that for men and women of all ages, being a good parent and having a successful marriage continue to rank significantly higher among their priorities than career success.

In short, the workplace is changing and men experience many of the same work-life conflicts as women.

Why is this a problem? Increasingly, if men don’t get the day-to-day flexibility they need, research shows they will walk away from their jobs. And they’re more likely to do so than women, according to EY’s recent Generations survey, which surveyed 1,200 non-EY professionals about the management skills of each generation and the workplace perks they value most. The survey found that Gen X men (40 percent) were most likely to leave if flexibility was not offered, followed by Gen X women (37 percent), Gen Y men (36 percent) and Gen Y women (30 percent).

But here’s the kicker — even when it’s offered, men may not take full advantage of flexibility. Or, if they do, they may not feel comfortable saying so because of a perceived backlash.

Are we asking more of men?

The New Male Mystique argues that American workplaces still favor men who work full-time or overtime, without career interruptions. Men know this, but, when corporate culture discourages men from using either formal (e.g., formalized reduced schedules) or informal (e.g., working remotely periodically) flexibility, they don’t stop being flexible. They just go underground.

The Boston College Center for Work & Family study, The New Dad: A Work (and Life) in Progress, found that more than 60 percent of fathers reported using informal flex-time, compared to just over 10 percent who had a formal arrangement. Similarly, about 50 percent reported working from home informally, while only 10 percent did so officially.

However, we know that formal and informal flexibility arrangements improve career satisfaction for men. And we know flexibility is important to keep everyone — particularly Millennials — engaged and successful. In fact, the EY Generations survey found that flexibility is the top non-cash perk among all generations.

So, what can we do? We still have a business to run!

There are several ways to help change entrenched societal attitudes to foster a culture of flexibility for all:

  • Be transparent. Men need to be open about their need for and use of flexibility, both informal and formal. When you know your colleague is using flexibility, it’s easier to feel comfortable using it yourself. Ensure your organization has appropriate forums representing many demographics where both women and men can talk to one another, compare notes and give support.
  • Model flexibility at all levels, including leadership. Senior male leaders need to be modeling and talking about flexibility. Globalization of companies and the need to work across time zones will continue to expand. Permitted brief interruptions throughout the work day will be necessary for sustainability, as will flexible start and end times to blend life and work.
  • Establish informal and formal coaching, mentoring and parental leave programs. Help people understand that needs are very individualized and managers must become comfortable with encouraging flexibility options for personal and community needs beyond family obligations. Embracing a spirit of trust will help. Companies should also consider providing formal benefits to men, such as paid paternity leave (our men actually take leave!).
  • Use technology. Take advantage of smartphones and mobile broadband, remote access services, and video and audio conferencing to work flexibly. But at the same time, make it clear within your organization that you don’t expect people to be working all the time, everywhere.
  • Encourage each other to share modern ideas about working flexibly.Flexibility isn’t necessarily about working less; it’s about finding smart ways to accomplish personal and professional goals. Earlier in my career I took my vacation on Fridays, rather than in larger blocks of time, to meet my toddler’s needs — and my manager preferred it.

Offering flexibility for women and men is one thing, changing a cultural norm to ensure flexibility gets used, is another. If we can develop a culture that encourages men to leverage flexibility and be more transparent about how they do it, it will create a virtuous circle benefitting men, women and the organization.

Follow Karyn Twaronite on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KTwaronite_EY

Link to story online