How Dell Technologies celebrates diversity and promotes inclusion through innovative initiatives
A study by the Boston Consulting Group has shown that companies that practice diversity have 19 percent more revenue.
Research by Deloitte shows that senior executives or managers who exhibit inclusive behavior can make a difference of 70 percentage points in the output of team members who feel highly included as compared to those who do not.
Being more inclusive can help impact more than a company’s bottom line. A study by McKinsey says that increasing women’s participation in the labor force by 10 percentage points could add $700 billion to India’s GDP by 2025.
Fostering a healthy community spirit
At Dell, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a key component of the company’s Diversity and Inclusivity initiatives. These communities are meant for employees to connect on common interests and causes such as gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and backgrounds.
ERGs are open to anyone who wants to join and provide opportunities for personal and professional development through mentoring, volunteerism, networking, leadership development and community involvement.
“We recognize the role of ERGs to foster the culture of inclusion within the company. This also results in positively impacting the business and continuous engagement with our employees. We have a strong commitment towards our Employee Resource Groups, and we will continue to invest, create new chapters and meet the goal of engaging 40 percent of our team members with ERGs by 2020” says Vinita Gera, Senior Director & GM, India COE, Dell Technologies
Nearly 37,000 Dell employees globally are part of 13 ERGs across the world. In India, seven ERGs are active, and one is soon to be launched. Some of them are:
The ERG for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI+) and the Ally community is a great example of Dell’s commitment to create a truly inclusive workplace. The Pride ERG consists of over 2,000 team members in 30 locations across the globe. From advocacy, to community engagement, education and increasing awareness, the PRIDE ERG has been working for several years to empower Dell’s LGBTI+ employees. In India, the PRIDE ERG was launched in September 2018.
Several policies are already in place which include special medical benefits for the community including same sex partners. One can also see the presence of all gender restrooms in some locations. For transgender employees, a toolkit which contains resources and points of contact to ensure a smooth transition into the company is provided.
Women in Action
The Women in Action ERG is an initiative to enable women to grow and thrive in their career at Dell. As part of this, several programs help women build a strong network, get mentoring from experts to learn more and broaden their perspectives, as well opportunities to lead. These programs work to identify key objectives that enable women employees to grow and reach their intended goals successfully.
Sheenam Ohrie, Vice President, Dell Digital, & Chairperson, Women in Action ERG, Dell Technologies, says, “As per a study by Salesforce Research, 80% of the business professionals surveyed believe that companies need to focus on making an impact on the society. Gender diversity is an important element of this. The industry understands the need to have different kinds of talent from across genders or differently-abled people. However, what we as an industry are now moving towards is addressing subconscious bias. The focus is no longer only on women, but also on men and how they need to address any potential bias that may be holding against women. At Dell, we have a powerful intervention called MARC (Many Advocating Real Change) that focuses on the same. In addition, we run several programs like VMinclusion Taara to upskill women IT professionals on a career break”
Dell was among the first companies in the IT industry to take proactive measures in this regard with the Many Advocating Real Change (MARC) program. Founder Michael Dell is a strong proponent of this interactive course for male executives and senior leaders, which also includes women. The program focuses on workplace dynamics – especially related to gender – and seeks to tackle the unconscious bias against women and create a more inclusive environment.
With technology evolving at a rapid pace, it becomes essential for IT professionals to keep themselves updated when it comes to their skills and certification. For women in IT who may have taken a break for personal or familial reasons, this could be a challenge. In 2018, Dell launched its ‘Return to Work’ campaign for women professionals, who want to join the workforce after a hiatus. The supportive, structured program helps accelerate their transition back into the workforce right from coaching through the application process to mentorship and career coaching.
The Dell ecosystem has yet another upskilling program for returning women IT professionals after a career break. VMinclusion Taara is a collaborative initiative by VMWare and Women Who Code, to upskill 15,000 women in India by giving them access to free technical education and certification courses.
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The True Ability ERG at Dell aims to support team members impacted by disability by sensitizing and raising awareness amongst team members. This ERG also focuses on recruiting from this untapped qualified talent pool present in the ecosystem.
Mission 1000 is a flagship initiative under True Ability ERG. It aims to empower and provide a platform to persons with disabilities to earn a livelihood and support their families. The campaign focuses on Inclusive Employment as mandated by the Indian Government’s “Inclusive India” Initiative. As part of the Mission 1000 initiative, people with disabilities are trained and skilled across various domains and given the opportunity to work within the mainstream.
Dell has adopted the Mission 1000 initiative for a duration of 1000 days, and as part of this aims to provide 1,000 employment opportunities to people with disabilities.
“At Dell, diversity is vital to the company’s success. Recognizing individuals for their similarities and differences, and celebrating such things as individuals’ varying skill sets, cultural backgrounds and communication styles. A diverse work environment with a focus on ‘True Ability’ can make a striking difference,” says Vinita.
With a focus on the environment, the Planet ERG undertakes numerous sustainability initiatives. Planet brings together more than 10,000 Dell team members in 62 chapters across various global Dell locations. One of their key initiatives was Shore Up, a litter cleanup campaign along the world’s beaches, waterways and other natural areas, to mobilize the industry to keep plastics out of the ocean. India had the largest Shore Up turnout of any country, with more than 2,000 team members from five cities volunteering over 5,000 hours during their 10 separate events.
The other two ERGs GenNext and Conexus are also seeing increasing team member engagement. GenNext engages with younger talent in the company to help them with career development programs and provide them with opportunities to learn and grow. Connexus is designed for team members at remote locations to make them feel connected and promote inclusivity amongst team members. The seventh ERG ‘Family Balance’ was recently launched in India in October 2019. The goal of this ERG is to provide information and support team members in all aspects of family life like wellbeing, personal safety, caring for elderly & children and much more.