ABB builds on diversity and inclusion track record with new Diversity and Inclusion Council

The value of a diverse workforce where all employees are valued and receive the same opportunities to advance is a matter of course in the corporate world.

Often, diversity is understood to imply having more women in leadership positions, but a 2018 report by McKinsey entitled “Delivering Through Diversity” notes that the benefits of diversity extend beyond gender.

“Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability,” the report notes.

McKinsey also delivers a warning for under-performing firms. “Overall, companies in the bottom quartile for both gender and ethnic/ cultural diversity were 29% less likely to achieve above-average profitability than were all other companies in our data set. In short, not only were they not leading, they were lagging.”

With research like this, diversity and inclusion (D&I) has become a must-have for top-performing companies that want to stay on top. ABB CEO Bjorn Rosengren has made it a priority, stating on CNBC recently that “building and fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion is a key priority for ABB and represents a foundation for innovation and better decision making.”

ABB has several diversity and inclusion goals for 2030 such as 25% female representation among ABB leaders, 50% female university hires and yearly improvement on the inclusion score on the company’s annual employee engagement survey.

ABB has now created a Diversity & Inclusion Council, led by US Country Holding Manager Michael Gray, to put the issue at the top of the agenda, but the company is no stranger to D&I initiatives. Some examples of ABB’s focus on building a diverse team include:

  • Flexible work practices and permissive vacation to enable employees to have a greater integration between work and home life.
  • Employee resource groups like Encompass, a network of employee groups that seeks to promote an environment inclusion, equity and belonging. ABB’s Encompass groups include women, young professionals, military & allies, pride, Hispanic/Latin X and black professionals.
  • Diversity organization partnerships where ABB serves as a corporate sponsor for important diversity organizations including the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and Out 4 Undergrad, an organization for LGBTQ+ early career professionals.
  • University partnerships to promote inclusivity in recruitment with a focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI).

“ABB’s Diversity and Inclusion Council will build on the company’s strong foundation to promote diversity at all levels across the organization,” says ABB’s Michael Gray. “I’m very proud to be part of it.”

The Council’s first meeting was Dec 14 when the group will develop a specific agenda for 2021.

Categories and Tags
About the author

Selenah Njoloma

Selenah Njoloma, SHRM-SCP has a background in engineering and works for ABB as the global diversity and inclusion manager for Electrification. Her goal is to help create an environment of inclusion, equity and belonging at ABB and retain a diverse talent pipeline of future leaders.
Comment on this article