Cultural historian Thomas Berry once said: “The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection.”
These days, companies of all sectors, shapes and sizes are building inclusion and diversity (I&D) into their DNA. But perhaps more remarkable, a whole new generation of companies are being born with it as a founding value.
When Carrier, a leading provider of healthy, safe, sustainable and intelligent building and cold chain solutions, became a standalone company one of the first things leadership did was to actively involve its senior leadership team in the implementation of an I&D strategy that would make every one of its global employees feel seen, heard and valued.
Two months later ‘_belong’ came to life. It’s an I&D brand that underscores the newly-independent organization’s pledge: to create a genuinely inclusive workplace that would inspire and encourage everyone to bring their authentic self to work.
The _belong logo embodies the human side of Carrier. The open palms illustrate the desire that everyone should have a voice and be heard. The fingers symbolize the beauty and necessity of diversity. The two hands are joined, representing the strength in coming together and celebrating difference, while the interlocking thumbs create the most human element of all – a heart.
From company to community
Carrier believes its greatest strength is the diversity of its 58,000 global employees from 160 countries and the power of their ideas. The company’s I&D commitment rests on four pillars: reduce the gap; develop and sponsor; drive inclusion; and lean forward.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are the beating heart of the company’s I&D drive. Six Carrier ERGs cultivate a culture of inclusion, and spring from a striking balance of organic interest from employees to build communities and strategic guidance from the top to drive inclusion.
From the Carrier Military and Veteran group to [email protected], the United Carrier Asian Network, The Carrier Black Alliance, the CHEER Hispanic and Latino group and [email protected] – the company’s Women Empowerment network – around 2,000 employees have joined ERGs and doors are open 24/7.
Senior leaders actively sponsor groups, contributing to the creation of communities that can network and support each other. Ryan Lim, Carrier’s Talent Leader for APAC & Middle East Region, is an active member and allyship of the [email protected] group – which strives to create an inclusive and empowering workplace where every woman can realize their full potential. The group actively supports women to develop leadership skills through networking, professional development and collaboration with senior leadership by building a global network of allies.
Smashing through the glass ceiling
So, what is a man doing in a sponsorship role for a women’s empowerment group?
“Being a part of [email protected] has helped expand my network with Carrier colleagues around the world,” Ryan explains. “It also provides me with the opportunities to work with the senior leadership team, raise awareness of relevant issues and to listen to the perspective of the diverse team. I help promote an inclusive environment with equal opportunities by being the voice for women across the organization.”
For Ryan and for Carrier, supporting women in the organization means actively including men, from the moment they are onboarded. Change at Carrier starts in the interview room, and leadership is possible from the moment of application.
“We have absolutely no male-only roles,” Ryan assures us.
Smart move. McKinsey Global Institute reported in 2020 that if the global workforce fully equalized the involvement of all genders in the workplace, global GDP could increase by $28 trillion (26%).
Supporting women on their way up
In addition to its non-discriminatory hiring policy, and open training and scholarship initiatives, Carrier offers tailored programs to support women: ELEVATE – Carrier’s Women in Leadership program – has engaged more than 120 Carrier women from across 17 countries.
The program offers immersive development and learning opportunities through hands-on seminars, mentors and executive sponsors, dedicated coaching and access to high-impact career opportunities. ELEVATE culminates in a global event on March 8th, International Women’s Day. Senior female leaders speak out at the event, share their perspectives and highlight opportunities.
Multinationals should be multicultural by nature
As an active member and ally of the Women Empowerment Network, Ryan also addresses issues specific to employees in or from the APAC region.
Carrier’s I&D policy revolves around lateral, rather than vertical career paths. The rise in remote and hybrid working models is helping the company evolve toward greater equity and flexibility and to overcome societal norms and unconscious biases that discriminate or limit employees.
“Inclusion is being a part of something bigger than ourselves at Carrier, and ensuring employees are empowered and valued for varied perspectives, talents, beliefs and backgrounds,” says Ryan.
Carrier’s strategic approach in driving culture and engagement includes a specific focus on diversity, inclusion and belonging themes.
“We constantly take the pulse on how our employees feel and evaluate how our leaders embody our Inclusion and Diversity philosophies,” – Ryan assures us.
A successful I&D program is anything but static, as Ryan explains, “We measure ourselves against the best. We ask employees if they feel like they belong and are being included, then we benchmark the responses against companies we admire who are leading with best practices.”
The results from the past 12 months speak for themselves. Carrier scored 73 – 3 points above the benchmark.
Sky’s the limit
The company has earned considerable international recognition for its pioneering efforts in I&D. This year, for the second year running, Carrier was ranked among America’s Most Responsible Companies in honour of its corporate responsibility actions. Also for the second year running, it was named Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality, achieving a perfect score of 100 points on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which measures corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality.
And if that wasn’t enough, Carrier earned a place in Fortune’s 2022 World’s Most Admired Companies List and ranked 9th on Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable U.S. Companies for 2022 – which recognize the largest U.S. companies that score highest on environmental, social and governance performance indicators.
But I&D doesn’t stop here for Carrier. It is no longer top of the “to-do list” but top of the “to keep doing” list, as Ryan concludes:
“The question all companies must ask themselves right now regarding their diversity and inclusion policy is: if not us, then who, and if not now, when?”
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