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Harvard Business Review: What Organizations Can Do to Retain Asian American Talent

Part of WiFi (What I Find Interesting) Wednesday.


Harvard Business Review: What Organizations Can Do to Retain Asian American Talent

Harvard Business Review: What Organizations Can Do to Retain Asian American Talent

Read What Organizations Can Do to Retain Asian American Talent by Eddie Yoon, Christopher Lochhead, and Nicolas Cole, from Harvard Business Review, May 18, 2021

As I was reading this article, a startling statistic was shared by the authors:

 “…The data shows a pattern. Asians make up 15 to 25% of the enrollment in elite MBA programs. Yet a 2017 study by McKinsey shows that while Asians make up 13% of the U.S. professional workforce, they are only 7% of leadership in the Fortune 100 and only 3% of CEOs of the Fortune 500.

If these well-credentialed Asian Americans are not making it to the top of the largest companies, where are they going? Some leave to become executives at smaller, high-growth companies. Eight of the Fortune 100 fastest growing company CEOs are Asian American — a proportion that’s three times higher than the Fortune 500.”

Eddie Yoon, Christopher Lochhead, and Nicolas Cole, from Harvard Business Review, May 18, 2021

The authors offer five suggestions that can be adapted to a variety of workplaces. Which one will you adopt in your own organization?

Stop managing diversity as risk management vs. opportunity

Too many companies think of diversity and inclusion as risk management. They do the bare minimum to avoid getting into trouble. Executives and leaders need to shift their mindset. Instead of worrying about being called out for not having enough Asian Americans in senior positions, they should focus on what might result if they spent more time listening to this group of innovators.

Switch from a binary to a spectrum mindset when it comes to bias

Most people think of racism or sexism as binary — either I am a racist or I’m not. As NYU professor Dolly Chugh notes, being a good person (binary) is the main thing that prevents people from becoming better people (spectrum).

Reassess and recalibrate subjective leadership potential metrics

A decade ago, one of us (Eddie, who is Asian American) gave a speech at the global leadership meeting of the top executives of a large company. Afterward, the global head of HR gave him a backhanded compliment: “Wow, I can’t believe how great of a speaker you are. When I saw you go up on stage, I thought you weren’t going to do well.” Eddie had spoken just after a tall, white executive — someone out of central casting. He regarded the HR chief’s remark as a subtle reminder that as an Asian American, Eddie doesn’t look like the average large company executive.

This kind of slight is common. Virtually every Asian American executive we’ve spoken to has said their performance reviews have contained some version of “Does not have ‘leadership presence,” which too often is based on appearance or accent versus aptitude or achievement. Subjective metrics create a big back door for bias to leak in. Measuring leadership potential is very difficult. The ability to accurately measure talent should itself be measured, calibrated, and compensated against.

Colleges and MBA programs must better address bias

MBA programs and colleges preparing students for business need to do a better job of teaching on race and bias, which right now is mostly taught in humanities and history departments. This education would be more impactful if the past was blended with the practical and taught in the context of business classes, far beyond just managerial or human resource classes. When rooting out bias and racism are seen as an area of business opportunity, then it matters to every class — from investing and innovation, entrepreneurship and executive management, strategy and supply chain, customer and investor management.

Asian Americans need to confront their own biases.

Few cultures worship higher education more than Asian Americans. But the most successful folks in business come from all types of educational backgrounds. Asian Americans need to realize education is great at opening the first door— but it doesn’t necessarily open the last one.

Continue What Organizations Can Do to Retain Asian American Talent by Eddie Yoon, Christopher Lochhead, and Nicolas Cole, from Harvard Business Review, May 18, 2021


Student Affairs Now Podcast: Racial Healing and Liberation on Campus

Listen to Racial Healing and Liberation on Campus from Student Affairs NOW!, May 19, 2021

With host Raechele Pope:

In higher education, we have been engaging in incomplete and short-sighted conversations about race and racism for decades. Many campuses have been discussing how to combat racism as if that is the final goal or destination. Never do we discuss what happens next or how to center racial healing or liberation in our work. According to Anneliese Singh, “If we really want to change the world, we must dig deep into our own healing from oppression and injustice. Only then can we begin to interrogate systems and structures that maintain these inequities.”

Panelist:

  • Anneliese Singh, PhD, LPC (she/they) is a Professor and Associate Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development and Diversity/Chief Diversity Officer at Tulane University.

“…I have this quote of yours that I thought was just so powerful. ‘If we really want to change the world, if we need to dig into our own healing from oppression and injustice only then can we begin to interrogate the systems and structures that maintain these inequities?’ And that’s exactly what you were just saying, that we need this racial healing and liberation before we can even begin to tear down these structures because we can’t see them.”

Raechele Pope, Racial Healing and Liberation on Campus from Student Affairs NOW!, May 19, 2021

“…There are so many people, and the racial liberation movements, who knew that there was something really important about nourishment, about building trust and about actually healing from racial trauma, so that we’re not continuing to enact the wounds as a white person, you know, acting out of the wounds of numbing and then enacting white supremacy or in being an agent or as a person of color as a BiPOC person acting out of our own internalized racism or, and or the distrust that we can have of our own selves.”

Anneliese Singh, Racial Healing and Liberation on Campus from Student Affairs NOW!, May 19, 2021

Continue Racial Healing and Liberation on Campus from Student Affairs NOW!, May 19, 2021


Inside Higher Ed: Our People Are Not OK

Read Our People Are Not OK by Melissa Richards, from Inside Higher Ed, May 18, 2021

In the pivot to work-from-home protocols and engaging in distance education practices, higher education showed that it could work to meet the needs of the students they serve. But these stresses have continually impacted those who make it happen – faculty and staff. In order to move forward, these groups on college campuses will need to be engaged in how they want to return and the work that will be expected of them when they return to campus.

‘We’ve spent more than a year on extremely task-focused response and planning. While scientifically proven COVID-19 protocols help keep us safe, it’s our people — their attitudes and their actions — that will determine the health of our organizational cultures on the other side of the worst global catastrophe so far in my lifetime. And our people are not all OK.

“[I]t’s clear why around the country many faculty and staff are burned out, frustrated, and tempted by new careers that would allow them to work from home. It’s important to view this moment as a crossroads for employees, and a research-based employee communications strategy is key for continuously engaging, or in some cases re-engaging, employees.”

Melissa Richards, from Inside Higher Ed, May 18, 2021

Authentic Engagement with Faculty and Staff

“An understanding of your institutional culture, or brand identity, in marketing-speak, is central to any internal communications strategy. Whether you define it in sentences or keywords, start with culture. After that, no two internal communications plans should look exactly alike, but the following are some important questions to address for employee communications strategy.”

  • Are your institution’s employee communications, regardless of medium, two-way conversations?
  • What input and listening mechanisms exist or need to be implemented, and what will leadership do with that information?
  • How do employees view their individual identities within the larger organization?
  • What are the smaller segments or relationship connections inside the organization with which they engage, and how can the institution nurture them?
  • What are the major shared experiences at your institution that are important to employees?
  • Can your employees easily define the institution’s values and the institution’s actions that represent them?
  • Most colleges have persistence plans for students, but is there an equivalent for employees?
  • How can current employees be advocates for recruitment and retention of employees?
  • In the event of another national crisis that pulls people away from one another, what resources can your institution and your employees not do without?
  • How engaged are employees with the existing resources that support health, wellness, diversity and inclusion, professional development, and other people-first priorities?
  • What do your institutional data suggest are the most engaging media and formats for employee communications — executive emails, printed letters, email newsletters, print newsletters, in-person forums, virtual forums, videos, podcasts, web stories, etc.? Do the data match what employees say they prefer? (Hint: Just because someone says they prefer digital communications does not mean they read information online as thoroughly as they do printed communications.)
  • How will your institution measure successful employee engagement?

Continue Our People Are Not OK by Melissa Richards, from Inside Higher Ed, May 18, 2021


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Joseph Rios, EdD
leadershipandvaluesinaction@gmail.com
I am Joseph Rios and I believe that leadership is an expression of our values
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