Diversity from the top

Aug 04 2011 Published by under Not Exactly Science

While not necessarily related to science directly, we pay a lot of attention to general issues of diversity in the workplace. So do some of our scientific organizations.

Today, we received the Diversity eBrief from the American Chemical Society, a newsletter with great links to diversity issues in science and the business of science. One of the more interesting articles cited was written for Harvard Business Review by the former CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, Douglas R. Conant.

In his article, How to Make Diversity and Inclusion Real, Conant writes:


I believe that when a CEO visibly stands for openness, diversity, and inclusion, it sends an essential message to the organization. In too many companies, the managerial ranks lack role models for women, people of color, and the LGBT community. But in my company's (Campbell's) case, diversity is about more than breaking glass ceilings — whether color, sexual, or generational. It's about mirroring our consumers, 80% of whom are women from all ethnicities and walks of life. How can we possibly serve them well if the managers in our company don't viscerally understand them?

Conant follows with five steps he took at Campbell beginning with "Face the brutal facts," an approach he took by soliciting an external firm to look at the makeup of the company:

The brutal facts were that our products were on the shelves of virtually every American home, but our workforce was insufficiently representative of the diverse people we were serving. Also, if we maintained a narrow recruiting framework, we would be also be missing out on some terrific talent. We simply had to do better.

Conant opens with an interesting personal story and while relatively short, the article is a good read.

 

Source:

Conant, Douglas R. How to Make Diversity and Inclusion Real. The HBR Blog Network, Harvard Business Review, 28 July 2011. Last accessed 4 August 2011 at:

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/07/how_to_make_diversity_and_incl.html

 

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