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Fostering Inclusion Drives STEM
Diversity of thought, talent and ideas, and fostering an inclusive workplace, are what drive not only recruitment and retention of STEM talent, but also success and innovation for companies inside and outside the STEM fields seeking said talent.
Fostering an inclusive culture is fundamental to attracting and retaining top talent. And for those who lead diversity efforts, it’s essential to incorporate diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives and programs that benefit both business and employees.
While many companies now recognize the necessity of a diverse workforce - within STEM and other sectors - there’s currently an increased focus on distinguishing between diversity and inclusion.
Despite diversity often being linked with inclusion, the two are not the same. Diversity is measurable and equals representation, but it alone doesn’t drive inclusion. It’s, therefore, vital that those charged with instituting efforts designed to engage individuals who come to the table with different cultures, thoughts, perspectives and backgrounds have the ability to look beyond their own beliefs and ideas, and are wiling to determine policies and initiatives that are the best fit for their particular organizations.
Building diversity of thought, talent and ideas while fostering a workplace that’s inclusive to such diversity is a business imperative today, driving not only recruitment and retention of STEM talent, but also success and innovation for companies inside and outside the STEM fields seeking said talent.
At Lexmark, Avaya, Booz Allen Hamilton and SAP, such persons building such an inclusive culture and strategy for success include Sheri Evans Depp, Faye Tylee, Cheryl Wade and Judith Williams, respectively. Get their unique perspectives on the following pages, and learn what they’re doing at each of their respective companies to achieve this.
Depp: Partnering with Business & Community Leaders to Drive Diversity at Lexmark
As director of global diversity and inclusion at Lexington, KY-headquartered Lexmark, Sheri Evans Depp partners with business and community leaders to drive initiatives that support a diverse workplace where people feel valued.
One of the company’s many existing programs intended to recruit and retain new-in-career talent with a focus on diversity is Lexmark’s Technical Rotation Program. And this particular key diversity initiative focuses on STEM talent.
“We recruit top-of-their-class engineers for three, eight-month rotations beginning after graduation,” says Depp, adding that, at the end of the program, participants are placed into a final post-program role with the goal of retaining them indefinitely. Additionally, engineering and IT college students are enrolled in year-round co-op and summer internship programs.
Lexmark’s recruiting practices are designed to take into consideration the fact that the company operates in, and serves, a multicultural world, and that its customers span many industries, businesses and geographies. Therefore, the more diverse the Lexmark team, the better the company can understand its customers and their unique challenges. Given that, Lexmark consistently seeks individuals who will enhance its multidimensional family.
“That’s also true of the company’s supplier diversity program,” notes Depp.
“Founded on values of mutual respect, corporate citizenship and integrity, the supplier diversity program supports diverse businesses, which benefits Lexmark’s communities and our bottom line.”
The adoption of six values - innovation, excellence, agility, integrity, community and respect – which speak to the honor of both the organization and its employees, helps direct company policies, programs and on-going work. The adoption of these values also helps direct Lexmark’s eight diversity network groups, which represent different employee identities, and which work to increase engagement and retention.
In explaining a new Lexmark program, technical group mentoring, Depp points out that through “using an open enrollment model, interested employees are invited to participate in a five-month group mentoring cycle as part of their career development.”
Exhibiting its core value of community involvement, Lexmark generously supports Lexmark families and the communities in which they live and work. New in 2018, Lexmark partnered with the minor league baseball team, the Lexington Legends, and sponsored the Academies of Lexington, which funds large-scale events or pilot programs focused on students from diverse backgrounds interested in pursuing STEM careers.
Proud of its long-standing partnerships with many outside organizations that involve varying levels of employee and direct company financial involvement, Lexmark further highlights its participation in and support of Women in Engineering Career Day, Engineering Day, Youth Science Summit and Expanding Your Horizons, among others.
And when asked about the most important advice she has for HR and diversity leaders, Depp remarks: “While leadership support is vital to the success of D&I initiatives, the most successful programs start with employees.”
By embracing employee-led, grassroots efforts, she strongly believes that D&I efforts that are suggested and sought by employees are far more likely to be successful.
For more information about Lexmark, visit lexmark.com, lexmark.com/en_us/careers, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Tylee: Building a People-First, Inclusive Culture at Avaya
At Santa Clara, CA-headquartered Avaya, Faye Tylee finds diversity and inclusion (D&I) playing a significant role in business, and ensuring the amalgamation of thousands of employees.
And as head of global HR, Tylee finds herself in a unique position. Responsible for helping to build a people-first company that fosters a culture of compassion, inclusiveness and continuous learning, she leads initiatives that leverage and increase the diversity of Avaya’s global workforce.
In noting that the company recently embarked on a refresh of D&I programs designed to ensure that D&I programs have a solid foundation, Tylee further mentions the launch of some exciting new internal and external initiatives. For instance, Avaya Devices for Diversity uses donations from product sales to promote education for girls while Day of Understanding encourages managers to come together to listen to each other’s viewpoints in an effort to better understand diversity within the company.
With more launches of diversity programs on the horizon, Avaya remains committed to creating an environment where the strength of diversity is valued.
“Commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion is manifested by opening a dialogue designed to mitigate unconscious bias, support inclusive employee communities, encourage on-going dialogue, and celebrate variety within the company, industry, and communities,” says Tylee.
Tylee stresses the fact that many employees have a connection to core STEM skills at Avaya, a technology company with a 100-year legacy of enabling organizations around the world to communicate and collaborate.
“Employees are empowered to stretch their roles to innovate to enable the workplaces of tomorrow,” she states, noting that current initiatives include enterprise-wide, live and web-based education, a partnership with the CEO Action initiative, various employee resource groups and open discussions regarding unconscious biases.
The company’s newly instituted Talent Exchange program encourages eligible employees to apply to perform their jobs in other parts of the world as a way to foster the cultural intelligence (CQ) of Avaya’s diverse employees.
Given today’s competitive global market, as well as the need to improve communication and collaboration across geographies, the first Talent Exchange program involves employees working for up to six months in varying locations around the world.
“While exchange and rotational programs have long supported Avaya’s diversity and inclusion strategies, the Talent Exchange program further prepares high-potential leaders for broader impact,” notes Tylee.
Based on the success of the Avaya Devices for Diversity program, the newer Avaya for Communities will be introduced in Spring 2019, with the intent to expand and provide sponsorship to small, disadvantaged women-owned businesses, according to Tylee.
“The company recognizes that some diverse communities need a hand up, rather than a hand out,” she states, underscoring the impetus for and importance of this new sponsorship initiative.
Further recognizing the need to continuously evolve, and embrace the best ways to recruit and retain a global workforce to meet the needs of customers, Tylee emphasizes the importance of individuals with the ability to spread critical STEM skills and solutions across regions, generations and communities.
“Recruiting efforts must expand beyond personal networks to identify the innovators of tomorrow,” she states.
With an advantage of already having a diverse workforce, and its own technology, Avaya can offer its employees the chance to work almost anywhere in the world. Tylee cautions, however, that as part of the company’s refresh of D&I programs, the attention must focus on exploring new partners to support recruiting efforts, and the company must look internally at how best to support existing diverse technology employees.
Tylee’s advice to those starting their careers, as well as to those already engaged in their professions, is to do what you love.
“Always be in the moment and take every opportunity to travel. Traveling will teach you more than any classroom or job, as well as provide perspective on being a global citizen that can influence the D&I agenda in any environment,” she states.
Certain that D&I can be achieved, Tylee also stresses that companies must continue to change – they must grow, adapt to new market dynamics, come up with new innovations and present new opportunities.
“That’s part of a company’s journey and evolution, and, as such, it requires focus, commitment and execution,” she concludes. “Avaya’s transformation is committed to D&I success and to understanding that its business success is linked to D&I success, in addition to recognizing that there’s no finish line.”
For more information about Avaya, visit avaya.com, careers.avaya.com, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Wade: Advancing Booz Allen Hamilton’s Culture of Inclusion & Diverse Talent Pool
At Booz Allen Hamilton, driving strategy and developing programs to attract, retain, develop and advance a culture of inclusion very much involves Cheryl Wade, diversity and inclusion lead.
In fact, Wade is a recognized and appreciated leader at McLean, VA-headquartered Booz Allen Hamilton, having played a significant role in achieving the firm’s designation as a Forbes Best Employers for Diversity, and the launch of its Multicultural Agenda, Inclusive Conversation series and STEM Girls 4 Social Good (SG4SG) initiative.
Engaged in a variety of efforts to ensure fair hiring practices and inclusive business processes across the firm, Booz Allen celebrates advancing its diverse talent pool and support of numerous outreach and STEM recruitment endeavors directed toward women, members of minority groups, veterans and individuals with disabilities. To that end, the company offers 13 internal workforce forums, affinity functional community groups and a Workforce Leadership Council.
Wade works diligently to bring together a top-down and bottoms-up approach to facilitating professional development, learning centered around inclusive behaviors, raising awareness, and driving D&I initiatives both internally and within its local communities.
“More recently at Booz Allen is the decision to join the growing coalition, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion (CEAction.com). In doing so, the firm pledges to advance D&I in the workplace,” says Wade, who further underscores the more than 400 employees already engaged in conversations and activities designed to explore unconscious bias in terms of what it is, how it impacts organizations and individuals, and what changes can be made.
And the latest Booz Allen Hamilton’s Inclusive Conversations series supports the following three tenets of the BE3 Promise: Be you, Be Booz Allen and Be empowered to change the world, she notes. This result was tied to a Day of Understanding, during which participating coalition signatories hosted discussions at each of their respective companies with the goal of further embracing diversity.
According to Wade, “the power of the Inclusive Conversations series fosters open discussions where employees from all levels and backgrounds share perspectives and build understanding regarding issues that impact their lives and sense of belonging in the workplace.”
Recognizing that diverse minds often have the ability to solve the hardest challenges, Booz Allen has developed D&I initiatives and policies to attract, retain and support new hires throughout their careers at the firm.
“These undertakings provide a true opportunity to foster a sense of community and belonging through events such as employee networking, volunteer activities, professional development and other engagement activities,” she states.
To illustrate the firm’s commitment to employee engagement across affinity groups, Booz Allen is a regular sponsor of the Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Global STEM Conference, where diverse STEM employees are recognized for their contributions to STEM in the workplace and in their communities. Most notably at this year’s event, Booz Allen Executive Vice President Tony Mitchell was named as Black Engineer of the Year for 2019, an honor for which more than 10,000 engineers have been nominated, and only 33 have received. Additionally, 10 Booz Allen employees were honored with awards in the Modern Day Technology Leader category.
“Booz Allen utilizes its engagement at BEYA and other strategic, diverse, STEM-affiliated organizations to support its recruitment efforts for diverse STEM talent,” says Wade.
As a diversity and inclusion expert, Wade finds that diversity grows out of the soil of inclusion.
“Forming a network of peers is essential for sharing best practices and insights that lead to empowering a true, inclusive workplace and ecosystem,” she states, emphasizing that with STEM talent now in such high demand, the absence of an inclusive culture would result in a revolving door of talent who move on to other organizations where they feel accepted, valued, and appreciated, and where they can thrive.
For further information about Booz Allen Hamilton, visit bah.com, boozallen.com/careers, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Williams: Putting People at the Center of D&I at SAP
Judith Williams, head of people sustainability and chief diversity and inclusion officer, works toward achieving SAP’s vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.
“At SAP our diversity and inclusion strategy puts people in the center of all that we do,” states Williams.
“Together we’re focused on creating a diverse ecosystem, ensuring an inclusive culture, and improving our employees’ career journeys - using technology to help people make the right choices at the point of decision.”
Continuing in that vein, she further notes that intelligence is equally distributed across populations, but opportunity is not. Knowing this, a key focus area at SAP - which has U.S. headquarters in Newtown Square, PA - involves how does the company build a workforce that distributes opportunity equally?
With more than 84,000 employees representing more than 150 nationalities contributing to the success of SAP, the company knows that to perform at its best as a company, all of its employees must feel free and empowered to run at their best, according to Williams.
To leverage inclusion as a competitive advantage, it’s important, contends Williams, to take into account what goes into creating a diverse and inclusive culture, and determining who is responsible for upholding these standards.
Taking a dynamic, top-down approach when it comes to diversity and inclusion efforts is essential. Strong D&I efforts go far beyond building programs and “talking the talk.” To drive change, organizations must “walk the walk” and drive structural, organizational interventions.
“Furthermore, by promoting behavioral changes that lead to inclusion, leaders are able to create clear accountability for everyone with measurable goals,” she states.
For more information about SAP, visit sap.com, sap.com/about/careers.html, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
Top 10 STEM Jobs
Occupation Projected Jobs Median Salary Unemployment Rate
1. Software Developer 255,400 $101,790 1.9%
2. Statistician 12,600 $84,060 .9%
3. Physician Assistant 39,600 $104,860 .8%
4. Dentist 25,700 $151,440 .9%
5. Nurse Anesthetist (Tie) 6,800 $165,120 .4%
6. Orthodontist (Tie) 1,300 $208,000 .9%
7. Nurse Practitioner 56,100 $103,880 1.1%
8. Pediatrician 4,600 $172,650 .5%
9. Mathematician 900 $103,010 .9%
10. Cartographer 2,400 $63,990 .7%
Source: U.S. News & World Report Best Jobs 2019
STEM Majors Projected to Be Class of 2019’s Top Paid
The initial starting salary projections for Class of 2019 bachelor’s degree graduates strongly indicate that those with STEM degrees will continue to earn the highest starting salaries, according to results of Winter 2019 Salary Survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
The top-paid graduates this year are once again expected to earn engineering ($69,188), computer science ($67,539), and math and sciences degrees ($62,177).
Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
U.S. Cities with the Highest Concentrations of STEM Jobs
• With nearly a quarter of its workforce employed in STEM fields, California-Lexington Park, MD emerged as the city with the highest share of high-tech jobs in its local economy in the country. It also boasts the highest median STEM wage in the U.S. at $102,826. It’s close to Washington, DC, and it has a high concentration of major defense contractors such as BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin who rely on workers proficient in science, engineering, and mathematics.
• Unsurprisingly, the San Jose area in California, which includes Silicon Valley, is high up on the list. San Jose/Silicon Valley, CA comes in second with 20% of workers in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro region employed in STEM occupations.
• The top-three is jointly rounded off by Huntsville, AL and Boulder, CO. Both boast a 20.7% share of high-tech employment.
Research backs up the competitive edge companies gain via a diversified workforce. A 2015 McKinsey & Company study shows ethnically diverse firms are 35% more likely to earn above-average revenue, and gender-diverse firms are 15% more likely to earn above-average revenue.
And now more than ever before you see Fortune 500 companies and large government agencies actively and heavily recruit a diversified talent pool that provides cutting-edge innovation, increased productivity and competitive edge in the U.S., and in the global marketplace.
Source: McKinsey & Company
STEM Is Both Now & the Future
“The future of the economy is in STEM,” says James Brown, the executive director of the STEM Education Coalition in Washington, DC. “That’s where the jobs of tomorrow will be.”
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) support that assertion. Employment in occupations related to STEM is projected to grow to more than 9 million through 2022.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Quarterly
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