At Intel, Inclusion Comes From Seeing Value In Each Person
"What is the business value of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)? Well, the business value of DEI is the value of the people you are hiring. So naturally, you want the best and the brightest. Of course, all companies want the best and the brightest. So how do we value those people when we've secured them?" asks me Dawn Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) and Vice President of Social Impact at Intel, as we come together to discuss inclusive culture at Intel.
Jones was promoted to CDIO in April 2021 after serving as interim CDIO since the beginning of the year. Prior to that, Jones was global director of Policy, Strategy and Partnerships, responsible for Intel's diversity and inclusion policy, strategy, communications, external alliances and stakeholder engagement. "When I applied for this role, I had the opportunity to reflect on my twenty-four-year journey at Intel. I started with no formal degree and earned a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism and a Master of Science in communications management that the company financed. I've worked with four CEOs, and I never let my grade level stop me. From the time I was an administrative assistant to the time I landed in this seat, I felt like I had a voice. And like my mom always taught me, you should use your voice to help yourself and then you use your voice to help others," said Jones.
Like many other tech companies, Intel has a set of goals to grow its company culture in diversity, equity and inclusion. By the end of 2020, Intel counted 1268 women and 384 employees from under-represented groups in senior leadership roles. By 2030, Intel wants to see the number of women and under-represented minorities in senior leadership positions double. To help hold itself accountable toward closing these and other representation gaps, the company ties annual goals to employee performance bonus metrics.
According to Jones, the key to reaching these goals and moving the company forward rests in developing a comprehensive plan focused on hiring, retention, progression, and professional development for managers. Customized data scorecards to enable leaders to effectively analyze and track their group's progress towards corporate goals are also critical. "Creating systems and processes makes it easier to guarantee consistency of execution no matter the level of enthusiasm and support from individual stakeholders," Jones says. At the same time, it is also essential to listen for understanding. This means listening to people who might have a different experience, including listening to opponents of what we are trying to do. "Some people might disagree, but, for me, inclusion is not solely about inviting people in that don't look like you. Inclusion is about how we activate and motivate the entire workforce. Just like with the Civil Rights Movement, you're not going to be able to push this work without majority support," she adds." The long-term positive impact will come from focusing more on the value people bring to the team and the company. If we focus more on value, Jones is convinced, we would be more open to hiring people who, when everything else is equal, might not look like us because we see through that and consider their value. Once people are hired, focusing on their value means focusing on their skills, potential and aspirations rather than the body of work they perform. This means that rather than just adopting wide-ranging and generic DEI-focused programs like unconscious bias training, Jones wants to be more specific and intentional on the type of solution Intel is adopting to train, foster and progress talent.
After being one of the first tech company to publish pay data in 2019, Intel achieved gender pay equity globally in the same year. The chip giant achieved pay equity by closing the gap in average pay between employees of different genders or race/ethnicity in the same or similar roles after accounting for legitimate business factors such as location, time at grade level or tenure that could explain a difference. The process to retain pay equity has been changing to be as comprehensive as possible, including base pay, bonuses as well as stock grants. In 2020, on average, women globally made $1 for every $1 men made. In the US, employees from under-represented groups made $1 for every $1 employees from non-underrepresented groups made. Even though the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ended the requirement to report pay information, Intel is committed to collecting the data and making it publicly available. Jones and the leadership see transparency as a key component to a sound equity strategy.
Jones concludes, "At the end of the day, a motivated workforce is what will get you all those goals that you set within the company. When I look across the landscape, especially now, and consider the challenges we are facing outside of the company, I think of how we're changing the world within a small microcosm of people by grounding our effort in educating employees around the value that people bring to help us solve our biggest business challenges."
The pandemic continues to challenge many businesses and pushes us to rethink where we work and how we work. Jones's belief that we must shift our focus on the value that each employee brings to the business is the key to unlocking inclusion as well as unlocking the future of work.