Why women trust their employers less than men do (Harvard Business Review)
Here’s a troubling statistic: Employers overestimate how much employees trust their organizations by approximately 40%. Even more alarming, a recent study of 5,000 employees across job level and industries found significant gender discrepancies in trust levels. Though men and women begin their careers with roughly equal levels of trust in their employers, women’s trust scores trail significantly at the manager and director level.
Why is this the case? The authors attribute the discrepancy to well-intentioned policies (like flexible work and performance-based compensation) that appear gender-neutral but—they claim—tend to benefit men more than women. Over time, these policies erode trust, and ultimately engagement.
Biden’s new executive order could expand access to child care and long-term care (19th News)
Earlier this month, President Biden issued an executive order calling on the executive branch to prioritize both the childcare and long-term care industries, in an effort to ease the financial burden on families. But this is really more of a symbolic step than a permanent answer to a complex problem. Though the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have begun planning ways to redirect funds to support these efforts, real and sustainable change will ultimately only come with legislation.
In related news, Paid Leave for All and Glamour Magazine launched the tongue-in-cheek “Get Your Shit Together, Baby” campaign aimed at pointing out the ridiculousness of America’s lack of a paid leave policy. There’s a link to a petition on their website. I encourage you to sign it.
The catch-22 for working parents (The Atlantic)
I remember reading Mimi Abramovitz’s Regulating the Lives of Women in graduate school. It’s an astute critique of the history of US welfare policy and its impact on controlling women’s lives. Though the book was originally published in 1988, it remains relevant today. In this article, Stephanie Murray points out the continued hypocrisy baked into welfare policy:
America wants to have it both ways: insisting that poor single parents work while shrugging its shoulders about the conditions that can prevent them from doing so. The result is a system both careless and cruel. If we want needy parents to work, then we ought to take steps to ensure that it’s possible for them to both work and parent well. If we’re unwilling to take those steps, then we should find a way to support families regardless of whether they work or not. And if we won’t do either, then we must admit that we aren’t really interested in helping parents at all.
From praise to profits: The business case for recognition at work (Gallup/Workhuman)
What is the lowest cost way to boost employee morale? Specific and meaningful praise. This study by Gallup and Workhuman sought to quantify the tangible business benefit of giving employees praise. They found that employees who reported receiving praise in the past week saw a:
9% improvement in productivity
22% decrease in safety incidents
23% decrease in absenteeism
When was the last time you praised a direct report? Team member? Collaborator? Consider committing to offering genuine praise to someone in your life at least once week.
The case for banning children from social media (The New Yorker)
At this point, the research is pretty conclusive: social media presents unique risks for kids. At the same time, the internet can provide young people—particularly those in marginalized groups—a sense of community and access to needed information. The Utah legislature recently passed two bills trying to limit kids’ access to social media platforms, but this issue is thorny:
How you feel about all this will likely come down to whether you believe that social-media platforms are addictive products—like cigarettes—marketed to kids or that they are vital and intractable parts of the national conversation. If they are just modern cigarettes, they can and should be regulated or even just outright banned for young people. But if they’re a vehicle for expression, then the government should do what it can to protect the free-speech rights of minors. The difficulty, of course, is that these two visions of social media are not mutually exclusive in any way.
This article dives into this issue, considering both the wellness benefits and First Amendment concerns inherent to the concern.
Several years ago, I was asked to lead a huge, department-wide overhaul of our performance review process. One of my biggest take-aways from that process was that the performance review process should be iterative. The vast majority of organizations (if they provide formal feedback at all) do so once a year in an often-intimidating process tied to compensation review.
What was your biggest “win” this week and what did you learn from it?
What was something you struggled with this week? Why do you find it challenging?
Which of your co-workers would you praise this week and why? [Bonus points for this one, since we know from the article above that praise is a powerful tool for engagement!]
What energized you this past month?
What did you find draining in the past month?
I recently finished the book The Good Life by Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz (which I recommend), summarizing 85 years of data from the Harvard Study of Adult Development. The major finding of the study is that good relationships keep us healthier and happier.
One of the tools they recommend using for reflection purposes is an audit of sources of support in your life. In the chart below, Waldinger and Schulz delineate seven key types of support that we gain from various relationships. I invite you to list out the key relationships in your life and add a “+” in the appropriate columns if a relationship provides that kind of support and a “-” if the relationship currently lacks that characteristic. It’s likely that most relationships won’t check every box, and that’s okay.
Now, reflect on the following questions:
Which of these areas of support is most important to you? Do you have enough people providing this kind of support?
Now, consider the flip side. What kinds of support are you offering to the people you listed? Do you think this is the kind of support that is most valuable to them? How can you know?
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That chart from The Good Life is gold.