Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Matters, and it is Achievable

by Lesley Slaton Brown, Chief Diversity Officer, HP
Mar 17, 2017 8:05 AM ET

When technology companies use the word “disruption,” they often apply big-idea hype to a new product or service promising to shake up the status quo.

Rarely does the industry turn the notion of disruption inward and apply it to its own biases and operating systems, especially when it comes to gender parity in technology.

Still, some companies are making a big difference. For example, HP is counted among the top tech companies with women and underrepresented minorities in executive positions, where 27 percent of HP executives, director, and above are women. After the company separated in late 2015, HP increased its women executive ranks by 4%. And our executive leadership team is today comprised of 21% underrepresented minorities, with executives representing seven different countries of origin.

Women make up more than 55% of broader employee functions, including Legal, Finance, HR, and Marketing. That’s compared to industry averages that top out at around 30 percent, according to a recent CNET report. And women represent approximately 20% of general and software engineering positions. The tech industry average, CNET reports, hovers at around 16% for all women in technical roles.

Changing the Industry
I don’t trot out these statistics so that HP can rest on its laurels, but rather to show how much work there is to do. HP’s culture and our values dictate that we must demonstrate the change we want to see in industry and beyond.

These changes start with recruiting outreach and hiring efforts. We’re casting a wider net in our search while continuing to educate our talent acquisition teams about unconscious bias and cultural competence. We’re implementing aggressive strategies that ensure we have more diverse talent pools to choose from when hiring at the executive leadership level and in succession planning. 

It doesn’t end there. Once hired, we want to send a strong message to everyone who works for HP around the globe: You belong here. This should be the standard for every company. 

By nurturing inclusion and mutual respect, we all can win at our jobs, and in the marketplace. HP’s unique culture not only drives innovation in our businesses, but it also shapes how employees feel about the work that they do each day. It affects their level of commitment to HP’s mission and how empowered they are to innovate and take risks.

HP has a recipe for developing well-rounded employees who aren’t just employees. We want our people to come to work and fully be who they are and bring their unique perspective to the conversation.

Diversity Drives Business Success
McKinsey report on diversity highlighted that companies in the top quartile in terms of ethnic and racial diversity are 35 percent more likely to outperform those who do not.

The fostering of openness, courageous conversation, and trust helps level the playing field so we can get down to business and drive results.

As one of Silicon Valley’s storied founding companies, HP is well qualified to lead the way toward reinventing mindsets. We have the most diverse board of directors of any tech company in the country. And our leadership has demonstrated the depth of our commitment to affect change.  

We are proud of the impact we have been able to have so far, and now is the time for us to continue to make HP a place where women and underrepresented groups can fully be themselves and do their best work. We hope HP can become a beacon for change as we aim to foster inclusion, compassion and understanding around the world.

Let’s get started.