Creating Sustained DEI Commitment and Action Among Executive Leaders

The Challenge: Creating sustainable DEI focus

In 2019, Vestas, a rapidly growing global wind turbine company, embarked on a DEI journey by introducing various learning and development programs for people leaders, employee resource groups and targeted calendar events to build awareness. As the industry began to experience greater volatility and competition, and the company shifted its focus to sales and production, DEI efforts seemed to stall.

However, by the end of 2021, led by Human Resources and in partnership with the new CEO (the third in less than two years), Vestas recommitted to renewing its organizational focus on increasing the number of women in leadership and expanding its ethnically diverse workforce … this time with a mission to create sustained positive momentum. In addition to process and programmatic focus on recruitment, onboarding and training, Clearwater worked closely with the executive team to explore ways to build DEI into organizational strategy more fully.

Our Approach: Engage stakeholders at all levels to model inclusivity and integrate efforts

Using systems-focused approach, we simultaneously engaged with three key stakeholder groups: executive leaders across functions, the Human Resources team, and representatives from several employee resource groups.

Engagement with the executive team explored the journey as a mindset shift that could lead to reframing their practices from:

  • Competing priorities to shared purpose
  • Reactive disparate and disconnected action to creative intentional focus and action
  • Minimizing the importance of differences – best represented by a color-blind mindset to embracing differences – best represented by an adaptive and accepting mindset
  • Assumptions to curiosity and listening
  • One-and-done training to creating an ongoing learning community that could sustain itself
  • Individual focus to collective engagement

Key elements included:

  • 1:1 coaching to support executives through personal self-discovery, identifying immediate opportunities to create an environment of inclusivity.
  • Facilitated challengin team conversations, revealing and ultimately supportive of change in policy, process and cross functional interaction.

Core frameworks included:

  • Intercultural Development Inventory identifying the spectrum from denial and polarization through minimization to acceptance and adaptation.
  • DiSC for self- and other-awareness around judgment and adapting to other styles

The Impact: DEI embedded in the culture with a focus on continual improvement

  • Two remarkable women were added to the executive team during the program
  • Leaders have initiated ongoing conversations with their teams – DEI Moments
  • Executive team members committed to sponsoring an ERN and a commitment to supporting newly created ones
  • HR introduced “See It, Say It” to the factories and continue to refine and expand other workshop offerings, incorporating more time for discussing and sharing, realizing it is through the dialog with others and opportunity for listening and reflecting that we grow
  • Rollout of a leadership learning journey where DEI workshops and leadership expectations are delivered to all people leaders within their first 18 months
  • Change to the bereavement policy allowing employees to take time off due to the loss of a child, adoptions, and broader acceptance of family members included under the policy
  • Targeted recruitment and training programs created to bring diverse candidates into the workforce
  • 4.5% increase in the women within leadership level positions by the end of 2022

Real Cultural Change Awaits

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