This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.
I strongly believe that a diverse team and inclusive working environment are critical to our business results. We need to find and develop innovative solutions for our customers. It is therefore key that our team represents multiple backgrounds and perspectives, has the creativity to come up with original ideas, and can build on each others' thoughts.
As part of our organization’s diversity & inclusion journey — a journey we are just getting started — we recently held a town hall to provide updates to employees across North America. We discussed our corporate diversity goals and the progress we’ve made as a company. We also highlighted areas where there are opportunities to do better. Through it all, a common theme was heard around the concept of accountability: we set goals, monitor progress, and continuously learn and adjust based on the results.
In that same spirit of transparency shared during the town hall, I’d like to share some of the key takeaways from our Diversity & Inclusion Council focusing on metrics pulled from our US employee base.
- Where we focus, we make progress. Since 2015, when our first large-scale Employee Resource Group (ERG) was established, we have grown to a total of six ERGs that are actively engaging employees. That includes our newest ERG addition, Voz Latina, which strives to create a supportive community where employees can celebrate the contributions of the Latinx culture in North America.
Together with the North America Diversity & Inclusion Council established in 2019, these employee-run groups are a critical part of our overall efforts to advance our goal to create a work environment where everyone feels safe to be their authentic self. Read a little more about our ERGs in this recent post.
- Slow and steady progress for gender diversity. In 2015, Avery Dennison introduced an objective to increase the number of women in leadership positions by growing female gender diversity in our North American management-and-above roles. Since then, we have seen progress toward the goal, albeit it not as quickly or significantly as we set out to achieve. As of June 2020, we have attained 34.6 percent women in management positions in the US, but we are still shy of our original 2025 enterprise-wide goal of 40 percent. This is a bold goal, but with our progress to date, I’m confident we will continue to find ways to make it attainable.
- Expanding our focus. As the company continues to expand our areas of focus for diversity and inclusion outside of gender equity, we are looking more closely at how to foster increased ethnic and racial diversity. According to work completed by our North America Diversity & Inclusion Council, the data tells us we have ground to make up. Benchmarking Avery Dennison against the broader U.S. workforce, we see our mix of African American and Hispanic/Latino employees is lower.
The bottom line is that we have work to do to increase our racial and ethnic diversity in our U.S. operations. Much of the work of our Diversity & Inclusion Council is currently focused on action plans to address these metrics.
- Inclusion remains key. Our annual employee engagement survey includes questions related specifically to inclusion. 76 percent of respondents said they feel Avery Dennison respects individuals and values their differences. 70 percent feel they are encouraged to express their viewpoints, even when they’re different from others’ views. We’ll be adding a new question to the 2020 survey: “I am committed to improving diversity & inclusion in my site/team.”
I’m pleased with the current index score, but we have significant room to improve, and I’m looking forward to what we’ll find by adding this new question. I have also begun hosting roundtable discussions with our employees. Diversity & inclusion is on the agenda for these sessions and I want to hear from our teams.
I’ve said before that this is a journey, and we know in many ways we are still getting started. At the same time, I’m incredibly proud of the progress made by our ERGs and Diversity & Inclusion Council members who have taken the lead over the past few years, driving improvements and spearheading change. As we move ahead, I look forward to sharing new information about our progress. This will include increased data reporting, along with updates on our pay equity practices and the progress we’re making against our goals.
Learn more about our Diversity and Inclusion efforts here.
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