Every company that strives to increase its employee diversity and create a more inclusive culture is doing something commendable. But unlike people, not all approaches to diversity and inclusion (D&I) are created equally.
What makes Verizon’s approach so special? How straightforward it is, for starters. They’ve shown that with outreach, inclusion, and genuine efforts to foster an inclusive community that making a company that accurately represents its customers and the world around it is entirely possible.
Here’s a look at how Verizon’s straightforward approach to diversity and inclusion ended up being so successful.
Business Problems Get Business Solutions
As Verizon Chairman and then CEO Lowell McAdam told members of the Verizon-owned feminist media collective Makers, “You’re not going to win a complex environment that we are in if you don’t have diversity of thought, diversity of opinion, diversity of experience—and that comes by bringing people of color and women to higher levels of the business.”
His main message? It takes a diverse team to produce products and services that will succeed in an increasingly diverse market. If the moral aspect of D&I weren’t already enough to convince someone of its importance, this approach drives home how imperative it is. And seeing as the lack of diverse and inclusive corporate cultures is a business problem, McAdam and the entire Verizon team came back with a business solution.
How It’s Done: Learning, Listening, And Building New Leaders
Verizon educates its employees on not only the importance of diversity but also its business impact. They’ve rolled out unconscious bias training that helps people challenge their subconsciously-held ideas that might interfere with their ability to see from a different perspective or treat someone respectfully. This helps foster a better environment for its people to work (and a better-run business overall).
But it’s not just about creating the right environment; the only way to ensure the business is adaptable enough is to have diverse leadership. That’s why Verizon’s programs are geared toward developing leaders and innovators from all backgrounds. Verizon offers a 12-month mentor program pairing senior executives, people of color, and women to sharpen the critical management and communications skills required of leadership candidates. They also partner with Women in Technology NY to foster and scout female tech talent.
How did these changes come about? Leadership listened to the team. And one of the best ways for people to share their experiences and improve the culture is through Verizon’s Employee Resource Groups. These groups are an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to dive deep into their communities, network with leadership, and learn. The ERGs are centered around identities and serve communities like women, people of color, LGBT+ people, and way more.
ERGs are also an amazing opportunity to develop professionally through networking, project and event management, and dealing directly with senior leaders to implement change.
And It’s All Working—In A Big Way
With the help of these transformative efforts, Verizon has reached 59 percent employee diversity. They’ve also changed the face of leadership: Women and people of color comprise half of Verizon’s Board of Directors. Plus, they’ve hired more than 11,000 veterans to join the “V Team.”
These numbers are just representations of the story of Verizon, a company that takes the same innovative approach to tech as it does toward corporate culture and team building.
If you want to work for a company that celebrates people and advances technology, then be sure to check out opportunities from Verizon on WayUp right now!