In times of uncertainty and economic upheaval, D&I programs—and the people they support—are often the first to take a hit. We asked Tom O’Neill, LCLD Board Member and Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Exelon Corporation, what three things legal leaders can do today to ensure that their diversity and inclusion objectives continue to grow and thrive.
1. Communicate expectations.
General counsel should communicate to firms that serve them the expectation that D&I matters as much as ever and should not let focus slip or wane.
2. Look for opportunities to support minority- and women-owned firms.
We have a tendency to turn to preferred firms, many of which are sending out newsletters and other resources, but much of the work arising from COVID can perhaps be done by smaller minority- and women-owned firms.
3. Use remote work to promote inclusion within your team and organization.
One irony that some have observed is that remote video work is actually connecting people who are otherwise not connected (particularly geographically) and who otherwise wouldn’t reach out to one another. The advent of video happy hours and other exercises to keep people connected is serving another purpose—it opens up more personal conversations, which by nature are different than typical office talk and can promote inclusion.
Additionally, be aware that new employee onboarding and talent development broadly are at risk in a remote work environment—give those processes extra attention.