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.
At HP Inc., where I serve as Chief Diversity Officer, we’re doing it every day. Our goal is to reinvent the standard for diversity and inclusion by embedding it into everything we do and today is no different as we celebrate International Women’s Week. Diversity and inclusion are important every week of the year, and this week reminds us to celebrate
the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
At HP, we have a legacy of diversity and inclusion to maintain and grow. I’ll take a second to share some of what we’ve accomplished so far as a young company, since they differentiate us in an industry with a workforce that’s predominantly white and male.
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 percent. And our executive leadership team is today comprised of 21 percent underrepresented minorities, with executives representing seven different countries of origin.
Women make up more than 55 percent 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. At HP, women represent approximately 20 percent of general and software engineering positions. The tech industry average, CNET reports, hovers at around 16 percent for all women in technical roles.
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.
To be clear, we’re not doing this as a “check the box” exercise. We really are hiring, and talent is our only criteria.
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.
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.
The HP Way – our shorthand for the cultural touchstones that guide the company—is 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.
These efforts, of course, are part of HP’s reinvention story. But they are also part of my own journey. I’ve had remarkable opportunities to grow my skills and my career, starting at Boise State University, where I was an NCAA Scholarship recipient and lettered in women’s basketball.
I believe that my subsequent 20-year career in global marketing, branding and communications goes hand in hand with championing diversity and inclusion at every level of an organization. Nowhere is this more imperative than in tech, an industry that lives and dies on innovation.
At HP, we know that diversity drives innovation, because better ideas come about through give-and-take between diverse stakeholders and constituencies. It drives performance, too. A 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—from Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio’s challenge to agency partners to Head of Global Legal Affairs Kim Rivera’s initiative with our legal partners—have demonstrated the depth of our commitment to affect change.
A great way to dive deeper is by exploring our updated Diversity and Inclusion website. It includes a personal message, where I talk about our efforts and the opportunities for growth at the company for current and potential HP employees.
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.