IBM is recognized as a leader in Diversity & Inclusion and Business Resource Groups (BRGs) – volunteer employee-led groups. In order to advance diversity, we consistently demonstrate our best practices by sharing our expertise with other companies and organizations in all parts of the world. In this article, Astrid Frydensberg, Global Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager for IBM, shares her insight into a recent diversity event organized by IBM Slovakia.
By Astrid Frydensberg
We invited 50 colleagues from multinational companies such as AT&T, PwC, Lenovo, and Microsoft as well as local organizations like the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs & Family to IBM’s head office in Bratislava, Slovakia where we discussed diversity strategies and exchanged experiences. Topics included “Women in IT” and “Business Resource Groups as Driver of Diversity”.
Business leaders from IBM presented both general observations about how a company benefits from having a diverse workforce and gave examples of how IBM’s employee-led Business Resource Groups (BRGs) help support our diversity and inclusion priorities.
Ivana Medveďová, IBM Director for Global Bill to Cash Applications and IT Services in Europe, talked about the importance of supporting women to pursue a job in the IT industry, which is typically male-dominated. She also spoke about how the women’s BRG in Slovakia has organized events to help engage high school females to learn more about technology and potential careers.
Barbora Paulovič Deckerová, IBM Director for Sales Transaction Support Operations Europe & MEA, pointed out that diversity encourages higher performance and innovation. Because of that, you’ll see a diverse set of skills, experiences, opinions and cultural backgrounds within one team that leads a diversity of thought. According to her, people are loyal to a company where they feel they can relate to their peers and feel a sense of camaraderie. Again the BRGs were mentioned as playing a crucial role in motivating and retaining employees.
To elaborate on how IBM’s BRGs help attract, advance, and retain diverse talent; Jana Lancíková, Leader of the Women in Slovakia group, shared details on organizing 33 events with over 800 participants last year, which were “designed by women but applicable to everybody”. She talked about their efforts in an initiative to ensure that women on maternity leave stay connected to the company while they are away. The program has resulted in higher retention rates and quicker re-integration back to work.
We are proud to be working in an environment where employees are constantly reinventing the way we work. This allows us to make impactful progress for our culture of inclusion and we are proud to remain an enterprise leader for best practices in diversity around the globe.