Diversity & Inclusion COVID-19 Recording: Lockheed's Cheryl Kern 5-5-20
In response to the rapidly developing coronavirus outbreak and its unprecedented impact to business and employers, i4cp has launched a series of weekly standing calls specific to Diversity & Inclusion Leaders.
Cheryl Kern, Director Global Diversity and Inclusion for Lockheed Martin Corporation, was the guest on the May 5th D&I Action Call. Speaking with i4cp VP of Membership Madeline Borkin and i4cp CDO Board Chair Jacqui Robertson, Kern provided insights into her company’s efforts to include women in leadership and to normalize conversations about emotional well-being.
- Readiness is a smart strategy. Lockheed
Martin is proud that it already had a strong foundation around D&I and had
focused on preparation regardless of whatever business condition might unfold.
This approach aided the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because
Lockheed Martin’s mission is to protect others, the company tends to emphasize
readiness perpetually, Kern noted, adding that applies to supporting clients,
customers, and the internal workforce.
For D&I, this meant that, under the leadership of CEO Marilyn Hewson, the company was looking toward the future of work and how to remain strong, relevant, and impactful in D&I, keeping focus on women and diverse talent. Some considerations:
- Ensuring higher degrees of representation
- Enabling workplace flexibility
- Putting support relationships in place (such as mentoring, sponsorship) to support women and diverse talent
- Performance management: How to fairly evaluate
people who have always worked onsite, but now work remotely – making sure that
evaluation processes and assessments support those employees equally
- Staffing: How to determine which workers will
take on remote roles and which will not
- Employee experience: How to design employment offerings that will keep people engaged and fully connected while also ensuring the company meets its business objectives
- Acknowledging that employees need/want to talk and share their experiences/challenges during the health crisis
- Inviting all company business resource groups (BRGs) to have conversations within the employee communities they represent and across communities
- Representing employees with disabilities and those who are caregivers, Lockheed Martin’s Able & Allies BRG has taken a leading role. Already planning a 2020 focus on mental health, the group has reached out and issued a call to action for leaders and other employees within the company to join that campaign
- Collaborating internationally within the company’s markets to define a mental health strategy
- Asking leaders to create a safe environment for dialogues and sharing personal stories about well-being issues
Other topics from the call:
- Responses to a poll question during the call confirmed that organizations have significantly increased their activities/benefits/programs to support employees’ mental well-being as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of call attendees said they’d done so to a high/very high extent.
- Some of the actions organizations are taking to provide greater emotional support for employees as shared by attendees:
- We are providing an 8-week series on mindfulness for employees
- We are offering a week’s leave specifically for COVID-19
- We are leveraging BRGs to host virtual events to address the impact of COVID-19 on various employee communities: Asian, LatinX, African-American, LGBTQ, Women, etc.
- We have a care-giver charge code and have looked into Talkspace, a remote counseling tool
- We've created a well-being SharePoint and partnered with Headspace
- We use Virgin Pulse and it has tools for well-being. We also have a Well-being team
- We waived all co-pays for Teledoc use so associates can call in to have access to all types of doctors, therapists, COVID-related, etc.
- We've curated and compiled a list of therapists and doctors who specifically have experience serving black and LGBTQIA folks because empathy gaps in care are important especially in a time like this.
In addition to this recording, please see these resources:
- The i4cp Coronavirus Employer Resource Center - new research and next practices to help address the COVID-19 pandemic
- Meeting discussion themes & takeaways