April 2, 2019 / By Amber Boyle, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, VMware
Over the past five years, our journey towards a more diverse and inclusive workplace has evolved from a targeted focus on women to an intersectional program for all employees. While we continue to learn and iterate to provide the best environment for our employees to thrive, we are steadfast in our belief in the power of human difference. In order to harness that power, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) continues to be a critical business priority. We’ve taken an agile approach. We continue to innovate, testing research against practical application, and evolve our programs, tools and policies to drive change both in our organization and across the broader technology industry.
We’ve learned there isn’t a quick fix. Building a more diverse workforce is a journey. We believe we cannot solve this challenge alone and must work together with our industry partners to drive systemic change. We are dedicated to sharing our journey to remain transparent and accountable. In 2016, we made a commitment to share our diversity metrics. In addition to our recent data, we want to share some key learnings.
Learning #1 – Make D&I Part of Our DNA, Starting from the Top
We launched VMinclusion in 2016, our corporate-wide D&I initiative with the sponsorship of our CEO, Pat Gelsinger, and our Chief People Officer, Betsy Sutter, focused on business ownership and accountability. VMinclusion is based on metrics and results. All VPs have diversity and inclusion goals around representation and inclusive actions. We learned that we need to be specific and intentional about our inclusion actions, so we piloted an Inclusion Survey to help leaders identify opportunities and actions within their businesses.
Everyone at VMware plays a role in our D&I journey. Because this is systemic change and we all own our culture, it takes more than leadership commitment. It requires all of us to work together to create an environment where everyone feels heard, respected and valued. To be successful, a diverse and inclusive mindset must become part of how we do business, not an add on. So, we’ve made D&I a key mindset in our Leadership Code, which is our internal “operating system.” Now, we’re weaving this framework across how we evaluate talent, from who we hire to who we reward. This mindset shift is catching on, but it will take time to truly become embedded.
Learning #2 – Enable Open, Safe Ongoing Listening & Learning
We recognize that to make change we must commit to continuing education, listening tours, and finding new opportunities to empower VMware people to lead with inclusive behavior and block unconscious bias. Through five years of Unconscious Bias education, peer mentoring programs and storytelling, we’ve developed a common language and platform for talking about inclusive workplaces. We’re building upon this foundation with our Power of Difference Communities (PODs). PODs are employee-driven groups that enhance VMware’s inclusive culture and harness the power of human difference. We have PODs for site specific locations as well as PODs designed to strengthen networks for women and underrepresented groups. PODs are open to anyone in the company and designed to help participants grow as leaders, engage with different communities, and drive business impact.
Our executives have begun to informally and formally engage our POD members to better understand what is top of mind for their communities, probe on how we are doing (not only the good stuff, but also the uncomfortable conversations around our mistakes) and offer support and guidance. The conversations have resulted in many learning moments, both professional and personal, for our executives and our PODs, and are helping to better align POD strategy to our business.
Learning #3 – Our Culture is Not Inclusive Until Everyone Feels Included
We believe diversity and inclusion is an equation. Diversity plus inclusion equals positive business impact. We have to focus on both to see lasting impact. Diversity without inclusion won’t last long and inclusion without diversity is not true inclusion. This became obvious through our Inclusion Pilot Survey. While we had fairly high scores overall, we found that many of our underrepresented groups experienced our culture differently than our majority groups. We saw that some groups were too small to be represented in the data, we need to continue to build our representation numbers, along with a culture of trust and safety so that everyone feels comfortable sharing honest feedback.
As we honor the power of human difference, we also recognize that there is a journey ahead of us to improve our representation of women and diverse groups across the company. We want to take a moment to celebrate the work we’ve done, while acknowledging that we are not satisfied with where we are. We are doubling down on our accountability efforts and setting higher goals to accelerate our progress. We must hold ourselves accountable and continue to build a collective commitment across VMware, as well as the broader ecosystem to drive lasting change.