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Intel CDO Barbara Whye: The Three-Pronged Approach to Full Representation

In January 2015, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich took to the Las Vegas Convention Center stage to deliver the keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show. Diving into the topic of diversity, he made the Santa Clara, Calif-based technology company’s objective quite clear: achieve full representation of underrepresented minorities and women in Intel’s U.S. workforce by the year 2020. Krzanich pledged $300 million toward this initiative, which he acknowledged as an especially ambitious one.  

Fast-forward three years, and Intel is more focused than ever on reaching this goal, says Barbara Whye, Intel’s chief diversity and inclusion officer and vice president of human resources.  

“For us, full representation means all categories of roles and jobs we have,” says Whye. “If, for example, female representation in the technical market is at 25%, then we want to be at 25% or higher in that market.” 

In 2014, Intel’s overall gap to market availability was 2,300 employees. By 2017, that number was down to 801; a 65% improvement. At the i4cp 2018 Conference: Next Practices Now (March 26 – 29 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, AZ), Whye will shed light on how Intel has closed that gap, and how the lessons they’ve learned in the process can be applied within your organization.  

A Three-Pronged Approach

In her presentation, “Full Representation, full Inclusion, Full Force Ahead!” Whye will also discuss how Intel has managed to make such significant strides while maintaining profitability.  

“There’s this notion that you focus on diversity and inclusion at the expense of revenue,” she says. “But here we’re achieving record revenues at the same time.” 

Whye attributes Intel’s progress toward full representation to its three-pronged approach: transparency, accountability and strategy. At i4cp 2018, she’ll outline each of these components: 

1. Transparency  

“As an organization, we must continue to lead with transparency,” says Whye. “I think there’s so much value in transparency, because it increases employee awareness in terms of where you currently are versus what you want to achieve.” 

Some organizations—especially those in the historically male-dominated tech sector—might be a bit shy to share numbers surrounding the make-up of their workforce, says Whye. They shouldn’t be.  

“I speak with others at tech organizations and elsewhere, and I find there’s a lot of fear around revealing diversity numbers,” says Whye, who advocates that companies in all industries set firm diversity goals, and celebrate when the organization reaches those milestones.  

2. Accountability  

Whye urges other HR leaders to help create a sense of responsibility and personal ownership throughout the organization for diversity initiatives’ success or failure.  

“This means you set goals, and you hold yourself accountable to those goals. If you iterate and fail, you fail fast, and you come up with other ideas to get closer to your vision,” says Whye, whose annual bonus is tied in part to how well she performs in relation to the company’s diversity and inclusion goals.  

3. Strategy  

“What we’re ultimately trying to achieve is an inclusive workplace where we can tap into the diversity of employees’ experiences,” says Whye, “which creates diversity of thought as well.”  

Creating this type of environment isn’t possible without a clear-cut plan for reaching full representation, she says. Intel relies on comprehensive data to scrutinize its progress and adjust its strategy accordingly.  

Alexis Fink, PhD, Intel’s director of talent intelligence analytics, for example, has built statistical models to identify, monitor and close market availability gaps in the company’s workforce. Fink reports progress to Krzanich and other Intel stakeholders.  

Intel also tracks hiring and exit performance on a weekly basis, evaluating hiring against goal areas based on a computer modeling of what will be required to reach Intel’s goal of full representation by 2020.  

Overall, minority hiring has increased at Intel, as have minority retention rates. The company even provides a service, WarmLine, which offers support for employees considering leaving.  

“I think that’s a lesson that can be learned from what we’re doing in terms of diversity,” says Whye. “You need to get more proactive on retention. You have to get in front of retention issues. And, ultimately, if you aren’t really taking a conscious, holistic approach to achieving true diversity, then you aren’t going to see the results you want to see.”