Assignments Are Critical Tools to Achieve Workplace Gender Equity | MIT Sloan Management Review

Talent Development

As the effects of the pandemic hinder organizations’ ability to meet their talent needs, work assignmentsassigning work tasks, activities, or projects to internal workers—are an increasingly viable talent strategy. However, firms can inadvertently cause potential disparities in the experiences or perceptions of assignments between worker groups (e.g., women are often overlooked for challenging work assignments because of different reasons, such as biased performance evaluations). This article offers a framework for leaders and managers to identify and strengthen the role of work assignments in meeting DEI goals. For example, one short-term tactic is having managers conduct assignment conversations with workers and ask questions such as What are you currently working on that you see as critical to your career development and advancement? What work do you find especially meaningful? How do these areas overlap? As we return to the office, how can we align your work with your career advancement goals and your sense of fulfillment? Which assignments do you need to get there, and to whom do you need to be visible? These and other suggestions in the article can help firms tap the potential of work assignments in meeting talent needs and enabling DEI priorities.

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