“IBM thinks about diversity the same way we think about innovation. Both are essential to the success of our business. When we innovate, technology becomes smarter for clients and creates new opportunities for growth. When we incorporate diversity into our business, we create even better innovations and outcomes. IBM has embraced diversity, and it gives opportunities for IBMers and our clients to achieve their full potential.” These are the words of IBM’s President and CEO, Ginni Rommetty.
On July 11th 2017, the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (enei) Awards took place at the The Law Society in London. IBM UK was announced as the winner of the Global Diversity Award. In the past, we have won the Flexible Working Award and the Inclusive Supply Chain Awards at enei as well.
In different parts of the world, IBM has always responded to diversity challenges, for example, where women continue to struggle for a safe and harassment free work environment. Where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people lack legal equality and don’t feel like they can bring their whole self to work, and where People with Disabilities lack equal access to employment opportunities due to non-existent accessibility standards or discrimination. Our willingness to take on global issues of equity and fairness have positively distinguished our company and made us a magnet for the smartest and most talented people in the world.
In 1995, IBM commissioned eight task forces for diversity — Women, Asian, Black, Hispanic, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT+), Native American, People with Disabilities, and Veterans. The constituency leaders were asked to look at IBM through the lens of their respective groups and answer these questions:
- What is required for your constituency to feel welcomed and valued at IBM?
- What can IBM do to maximize your productivity?
- What actions can IBM take to influence the buying decisions of your constituency?
- Which external organizations that address the interests of your constituency should IBM have a relationship with?
The result of this work was the implementation of the IBM Global and U.S. Constituency Councils. The answers to these questions continue to serve as an ongoing guide for our diversity structure and priorities. The councils continue to ensure that IBM attracts, retains, and develops the best talent and diversity of thought from their respective constituencies. It creates an inclusive environment enabling people to bring their authentic selves to work and one in which candid cross-constituency dialogue and relationships are the norm.
From there, we established the Diversity Network Groups, defined as volunteer employee groups that enhance IBM’s success through recruiting, teaming, networking, mentoring, and coaching. In addition, the Market Development Group was established and this group is responsible for the growth of IBM products and services in the global Women’s marketplace, LGBT, as well as U.S.-based Hispanic and Black owned businesses. And finally, IBM established relationships with external local and global organizations to expand our Diversity thought leadership.
There are now over 40,000 members for more than 250 BRGs worldwide. This, among other things, is a strong testament of how IBM embraces a culture of inclusiveness and diversity.
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