Why Diversity and Inclusivity Are Crucial in the Workplace

This article was written by Lesley Slaton Brown, Chief Diversity Officer, HP.

At HP, we believe in the power and promise of committing to a more diverse and inclusive workplace. And we’re proud of the progress we’ve made, with the most diverse board of directors of any technology company, among other things, and the awards and recognition we’ve won because of it.

But we are far from satisfied.

That’s why we’re continuing our efforts and literally reinventing the standard for diversity and inclusion at HP. We are not merely correcting the underrepresentation of women, people of color, and other minorities in our workforce and among our partners and suppliers, we are creating models of behavior—and role models.

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We call this new journey “Reinvent Mindsets” because we want to make it clear that just as our business reinvents how our customers live, work, and play; we are also reinventing how we think about diversity and inclusion. Reinvent Mindsets comprises ongoing internal training, new measurement tools, and other efforts, but focuses on two areas we think haven’t gotten the attention they deserve.

Tackling Unconscious Bias

First, we’ve come to see that a major barrier to attracting and retaining a diverse team is what’s called unconscious bias—those split-second impressions made by our brains about race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, and many other characteristics that impact how we view and respond to people. At times, people are not even aware they’ve made an assumption about another person, let alone how these perceptions drive behavior and decisions. The good news is, that once we’re made aware of these biases, we can take concrete steps to reverse them.

We want to bring attention to unconscious bias at HP, especially among our leaders, hiring managers, and talent acquisition team. It’s one of the reasons why the Reinvent Mindsets campaign includes a provocative video series that shines a light on how minorities and others can become casualties of unconscious biasThe first is here. We hope you’ll share it far and wide to advance the conversation about these human biases and their toll.

Second, to make sure that as we contemplate our next generation of talent that we are reaching new places to find them. It’s why we’re partnering with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in a unique business school competition to provide promising students hands-on experience with us. We are excited about investing in the future.

Embedding Reinvent Mindsets into Our DNA

Here’s what Reinvent Mindsets is not: an initiative that’s here today, gone tomorrow. Instead, it is an idea and endeavor that will be embedded throughout HP, woven into the very fabric of who we are, into our DNA.

It is what will allow our team members to be their authentic selves. And, crucially, it is what will allow HP to become an authentically global, authentically fair, open-minded, and welcoming place that not only embraces divergent opinions and ways of doing things, but eagerly seeks them out. Only then—by ensuring a diverse workforce whose members feel they belong, that they are an equal part of something big and are integral to our success—will we be able to remain an industry leader in technology. The results of this kind of thinking will be more creativity, more ingenuity, more curiosity, more inventiveness, more authenticity, more ideas, more learning, more sharing, more fun, and more innovation.

At HP, we are working toward a day when the most important numbers are not about headcount, but, by Reinvent Mindsets, about how many innovations we’ve introduced, how many have been embraced by the public, and how many are driving positive change throughout the world.