Written by Guest Blogger, Jesse Gutierrez
We have often heard, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” At Schneider Electric we ask our employees to dance. Diversity and Inclusion is part of our heritage and our future. We want you all to be a part of it.
So, why is D&I so important? Research shows D&I leads to positive business impacts via recruitment, retention, engagement, customer orientation, etc. D&I improves innovation and customer orientation x 2, employee engagement x 3 and reduces turnover intention by 2 (IBM Workforce Institute, 2013). Aside from this, D&I also makes a team 152% more likely to understand a client, when sharing their ethnicity. In other words, this acceptance of diversity and support of inclusion leads to empathy for our teams and for the customers we support and serve.
In September of 2017, Schneider Electric’s Chicago Grid office launched a Diversity and Inclusion Business Resource Group (BRG) and the participation has been incredible. Schneider Electric’s BRGs are built upon 4 pillars: Awareness, Business, Community and Development. More specifically, this local chapter focuses on 3 themes or topics within those pillars: LGBT+, cultural celebrations and community development.
We have officially formed D&I BRGs in: Boston, MA, St. Louis, MO, Costa Mesa, CA, and Chicago, IL. Aside from D&I BRGs, Schneider Electric also launched their first ever LGBT BRG in Costa Mesa, CA and now also has active groups in Boston, MA, West Kingston, RI and Chicago, IL. The activity and participation within these groups highlights the importance of BRGs; they create more inclusive spaces within Schneider, foster positive employee engagement, break barriers relating to gender, sexual orientation, age, etc., and generate positive business impacts.
The photo on the left was taken in November of 2017 and this event served as an engaging cultural potluck. What did this entail? We had employees bring in various cultural dishes, highlighting their backgrounds; following the potluck, we had an introduction to Toastmasters (a Public Speaking Organization) and some dialogue on various D&I topics. We asked participants to share a time they were excluded or discriminated against, a time they stood up for someone different than them, and how embracing diversity and inclusion can improve our business. The latter topic is key towards highlighting the value of D&I for corporations. Aside from being the “morally just” thing to do, D&I benefits corporations and adds tremendous value as the data above has proven.
Additionally, the Chicago Grid office hosted an LGBT History Ted Talk & discussion in October (pictured to the right). This event was in honor of National Coming Out Day and LGBT History month. The room was full of allies, friends and parents of LGBT individuals. It was truly inspiring to see people stepping up and opening their minds and hearts.
D&I is pertinent in today’s society. In my personal and professional life, I look at everything through a D&I lens. I am a Hispanic, gay, 1st generation college student who was raised by a single mother. These are just some of the identities and experiences shaping my passion and dedication towards D&I. When receiving my Masters in Leadership Development (MLD) I took a course titled: Leadership for Diversity, Equity and Community. This motivated me to focus on a Capstone project revolving around support, empowerment and education for LGBT individuals and allies to build more inclusive communities for one another.
Using my research from the MLD and transforming it into actionable projects within Schneider Electric has made work much more meaningful to me. When joining Schneider I felt a sense of support for various D&I initiatives and this support makes me excited to come to work every day. Check out our recently launched Global Family Leave Policy!
Other Fortune 500 companies are also jumping on the D&I bandwagon; some have been actively supporting D&I for quite some time and others are just starting. Companies who have a team in place or initiatives focused on D&I they are maximizing their employees’ potential and creativity. In sum, Schneider Electric recognizes the importance and benefits of D&I and highlights this on a global level. The photo on the left showcases Schneider’s team celebrating Orange County Pride!
We just launched the Chicago Grid’s D&I BRG in September of 2017 and we already have an array of events planned for 2018. #LifeisOn at Schneider Electric! #DiversityisOn
About the Author
Jesse Gutierrez started with Schneider Electric in 2016 as an Inside Sales Consultant in the Costa Mesa, CA office. He currently works out of Schaumburg, Illinois as a Program and Strategy Coordinator for the SVP of Customer Transformation. Jesse’s passion in Diversity and Inclusion stems from his Masters in Leadership Development. Aside from his day to day tasks he wants to create equitable spaces in the workplace promoting diversity and inclusion within Schneider Electric.
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