Establishing a diversity initiative
A Cummins case study

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Page 4: Implementing the diversity initiative

In a team-based environment, the effectiveness of a team depends upon the mix of the abilities of its members. Research shows that successful teams require a range of appropriate skills and qualities, and that these are further enhanced when members of the team include both genders and represent widespread cultures and values.

To recruit the best people and develop the company competitively, it was necessary for Cummins to move beyond its former approach. This approach focused on local communities and the equal opportunities legislation and tended to be exclusive. A much wider all-embracing inclusive approach was needed.

The Diversity Initiative aims to:

  • have access to people with the best talents available
  • develop an employment profile that reflected and matched the different customer needs satisfied by the organisation around the world
  • build an organisation that demonstrates visible diversity at different levels. Employing people from different ethnic origins and women - including appointments at senior levels of management
  • create an organisation in a harassment free working environment, commited to removing any form of bias or prejudice against gender, age, religion or ethnic origin
  • bring together people from many different cultures and backgrounds. They could then draw on many different perspectives which enable them to achieve more effective solutions and work with higher levels of creativity.

At the heart of the diversity process is the Diversity Chart. Skilled leadership is the centrepiece that links the four other vital elements within the business, thus creating:

  • visible diversity at all levels of the business, including ethnic groups, nationalities, women, people with disabilities, age groups and religion
  • the development of a flexible and open inclusive environment based upon merit
  • managers with multi-cultural skills and competences that attract, develop, utilise and retain the best people
  • an organisational culture that absorbs all of this in through its practices, procedures, assumptions and values.

The Diversity Initiative involved developing plans, guidelines and policies that would enable leaders within the business to take it forward and bring it together as an inclusive organisation. For example, the creation of:

Leadership teams

Within each business operation, the goal is to create teams that include at least one international person, a woman and a person from an ethnic minority background. These teams have many responsibilities such as recruiting/mentoring and developing programmes for employees from diverse backgrounds.

Local diversity councils

Again, each part of the organisation has an active diversity council that meets regularly and develops and helps to implement diversity plans. Each diversity council develops its own 'business case' for diversity within its area. Councils represent employee's issues and concerns on diversity matters and develop improvement ideas for inclusion in the organisation diversity plans.

Employee focus groups

Either a formal or informal process of discussion takes place with representatives on a regular basis.

Diversity training

Leaders from all over the organisation are trained in diversity which is then cascaded down to all employees.

Cummins | Establishing a diversity initiative