Diversity & inclusion at Spoiler Alert: our 2018 journey – Ricky Ashenfelter

Ricky Ashenfelter, MBA ’15, Co-Founder and CEO of Spoiler Alert.

From Medium

As we jump into 2019, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on how we’ve grown as a business over the last year. Growth in customer base, product capabilities, and market awareness of food waste as one of the leading contributors to climate change.

As the leader of our company (and by necessity in an early-stage startup: head of people ops, office manager, and employee handbook author), the most rewarding growth for me has been that of our team, having gone from 10 full-time employees (FTEs) at the start of 2018 to 19 FTEs at the start of 2019.

For some added context, we’re a 3-year old, Boston-based technology startup working in the fields of food, supply chain, and sustainability. Impact is one of our core values, and the environmental and social outcomes of our work are key drivers of everything we do. Motivated by a desire to create a stronger and more resilient team, we made a concerted effort in Q1 2018 to do something we find many companies don’t prioritize until much later on in their journeys. That is, to ensure we had the processes and values in place that enable us to attract a more diverse workforce and foster a more inclusive work environment.

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It is not technology that will steal your job – Thomas Kochan

Thomas Kochan, MIT Sloan professor & co-founder, Employment Policy Research Network.

From The Irish Times 

The future of work is in hot debate all over the world. The World Economic Forum, the ILO, the International Confederation of Trade Unions, consulting firms, and universities like MIT have task forces asking what work will look like in the years ahead.

There are two problems with much of these debates. The first is an over-fixation with technology. The second is the view that technology has a trajectory all its own as if there is some iron law of physics that will determine its shape and effects. I challenge both of these premises: Technology will of course be important; it is one of the big “megatrends” that will influence work of the future. But how it, and four other megatrends I will outline below will influence the future depends on the actions we take now. So I want to re-frame discussion in forums about the future of work from one of predicting the consequences of megatrends to one of how to engage the megatrends to produce better work, more inclusive societies, and a broader sharing of future prosperity.

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Why your diversity program may be helping women but not minorities (or vice versa) – Evan Apfelbaum

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Evan Apfelbaum

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Evan Apfelbaum

From Harvard Business Review

When it comes to issues of race, gender, and diversity in organizations, researchers have revealed the problems in ever more detail. We have found a lot less to say about what does work — what organizations can do to create the conditions in which stigmatized groups can reach their potential and succeed. That’s why my collaborators — Nicole Stephens at the Kellogg School of Management and Ray Reagans at MIT Sloan — and I decided to study what organizations can do to increase traditionally stigmatized groups’ performance and persistence, and curb the disproportionately high rates at which they leave jobs. Read More »

There’s a case against diversity in the workplace—but the alternative is even scarier — Evan Apfelbaum

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Evan Apfelbaum

From Quartz

Companies promote diversity in the workplace as a moral imperative with “bottom line benefits.” But research on the value of diversity is mixed. Some studies have found diverse teams—meaning workgroups comprised of employees of different races, genders, and backgrounds—promote creativity, nurture critical thinking, and tend to make better, more thoughtful decisions because they consider a wider range of perspectives. Other studies indicate diverse teams fuel interpersonal conflicts, reduce cohesion, and slow the pace of learning.

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