Another #SHRM18 Report

by Michael Haberman on June 26, 2018 · 0 comments


Sandberg and Grant take the stage to talk about women in the workplace.

The final day of the #SHRM18 conference started with a presentation and question and answer session by and between Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. For those of you not familiar with Sandberg, she is the chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of Leanin.org. She is an outspoken advocate for women in the workplace and has written Lean-In and Option B (with Adam Grant.)

More work needed

I wish I could capture her entire presentation and reprint it here, but I can’t. So I searched through the Twitter feed and captured some of her quotes. Here you will get a flavor of her presentation:

  • ..it’s critical for HR, managers, and employees to talk openly about the biases that are preventing women—and especially women of color—from having the same opportunities as men to land good jobs and be paid equally.
  • As men get more successful they are better liked. As women get more successful, they are LESS liked, by both men and women.
  • When women advocate for diversity they get looked at as being self-serving. When men do it they get praise and recognized for doing the right thing
  • For biases to be addressed, we must allow everyone to talk about these biases and not just those who are affected by such biases.
  • [When asked about personal brands by Adam Grant] No…people are not packaged and neat. People are messy. We have good days and bad days. And it’s ok. People need to be authentic and know its allowed to have strengths and weaknesses. Be yourself. Bring your whole self to work.
  • I hate the term “personal brand” … it’s so fake. People do not have brands.  We are not packaged, neat or structured.  We are messy.  Acknowledging that is important and honest
  • We are the only developed nation in the world that does not offer paid leave.
  • Extending paid family leave to your workforce is so important. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.

Advocating for women

With 15,000 or more women in the audience, Sandberg’s talk was very well received. But not just by the women in the audience. Most men in HR also see the need for better policies and better programs to help all employees in the workplace. When Sandburg said that bereavement time in this country is woefully inadequate, I identified with that statement. I was the prime one that dealt with my mother’s death. She had a simple estate, but I was absent from my workplace for over 20 days. A policy that gives 3 days off to deal with the death of a family member just doesn’t work.

In this mixed-up world, women are denied opportunities. People of color are denied opportunities. People over the age of 50 are denied opportunities. Biases are the cause of many problems and HR is in a good position to try to eliminate those biases. That was the message of much of what the keynote speakers addressed. We should listen.

In my next posts this week, I will mention some of the speakers I heard, vendors I met, and some of the sights and sounds of Chicago.


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