Intel’s “Three Ways of Being” That Led To Inclusion Success, Part 2 of 2

Posted on by Karen Worstell

To view Part 1 of this series, click here:

Barbara Whye, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and VP HR for Intel. says that tech companies who are behind in implementing their diversity and inclusion statistics may be unwilling to discuss that situation publicly and that they shouldn’t feel that way. 

Transparency is incredibly important to moving the needle on DEI initiatives throughout the tech industry. “I speak with others at tech organizations and elsewhere, and I find there’s a lot of fear around revealing diversity numbers,” says Whye, who advocates that companies in all industries set firm diversity goals, and celebrate when the organization reaches those milestones. 

Besides being the right thing to do, Intel is banking on its investment in diversity, intentional inclusion and equity to increase its competitiveness and innovation. The Association for Talent Development says “intentional inclusion is what enables the mix of gender, ethnicity, background, history, approach, and other factors to present ideas that can then be selectively executed.”  

Technology blurs the line between customer and developer and we should use it to our advantage for usability and customer need across changing demographics to improve the chances of success. There is a long list of development projects and products at highly reputable companies that seemed very cool at the time but just didn’t get traction in the marketplace and some never even made it off the launch pad because they didn’t understand the customer.

To be sure, a review of the top 50 tech fails can provide some insights into very cool ideas that failed because of a failure to understand the target market. Kodak cameras requiring disk film with poor image quality (Kodak Disc4000), the kid mobile phone that no kid wanted (Microsoft KIN), or the $5,000 machine to replace walking (Segway), and Sunglasses to play MP3 (Oakley THUMP). While innovation cycles inevitably produce some fails, in the future, the win goes to companies who produce consistent success. The key to that is collaboration, diversity, and an inclusive culture where ideas get heard, evaluated, improved and implemented. 

Be an Ally 

Being an ally seems simple enough. Gordon points out the irony of his own demographic of male, married, straight, and white being a champion of diversity. I asked him some of the things he learned as a male ally to the Diversity Initiative at Intel and his insights serve us all. 

What exactly does it mean to be a male ally? Jim explains: “There is no meaningful goal a company can accomplish when 50 percent+ of the workforce feels excluded or marginalized.”  Leading a “male ally” movement means ensuring that everyone is engaged even if they are outside the targeted goals, that they have a role that they understand, and that they make a difference. Male allies - those officially recognized and the countless others who were simply enrolled, active and contributing behind the scenes - were one of many critical factors in Intel’s impressive success. 

Another element of 100 percent engagement is that inclusion and diversity are more than making numbers. It is making sure that every single employee has a voice and an opportunity to be heard. By training everyone in inclusion, diversity, and equity, everyone wins and the value of all employees gets to shine. 

Intel shows us that inclusion, diversity, and equity is not an “us/them” zero-sum game. Huge success happens when it is about we as a team, about the value of all people, and investing in the hard work of inclusion and equity in the workplace to fairly reflect the broader community in which we do business. 

I hope you will join us at the RSA Conference on March 4th, 2018 at the “Solving Our Cybersecurity Talent Shortage” seminar to learn what your company can do to make a difference - in your culture, the lives of your workforce, your product and to make a positive contribution and impact for your customers. We’re grateful to professionals like Jim Gordon, GM of Security Ecosystem Strategy & Development, who share their success stories with us so we can bring them to you.

Karen Worstell

Sr. Cybersecurity Strategist, VMware

professional development & workforce

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