Encouraging Inclusive & Accountable Leadership with Oshkosh’s Head of D&I

The Next Practices Weekly call series has become a well-attended and wide-ranging discussion for HR leaders each Thursday at 11am ET / 8am PT. On this week's call, i4cp's Eric Davis and Nina Holtsberry, along with Jacqui Robertson, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Cleveland Clinic, facilitated a conversation with special guest Darcy Pierson, Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leader at Oshkosh. Here are some highlights from the call:

  • Oshkosh is an industrial vehicle manufacturing company that designs and builds specialty trucks, military vehicles, truck bodies, airport fire apparatus, and access equipment. They are headquartered in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
  • Pierson shared that when it comes to creating DEI goals at Oshkosh, a key principle was to "make it their own," and not necessarily follow what other organizations are doing. One way they did this was to focus at the top-leader level, knowing that diverse leaders more often hire diverse employees.
  • One key practice for Pierson is determining where there are pockets of resistance to the organization's DEI goals.
  • Pierson cited research from both McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group that found that organizations with both gender-diverse and racial/ethnically-diverse workers will outperform those that do not.
  • Pierson noted that Oshkosh they believe that DEI needs to be embedded into everyday talent processes. An example she shared is that for talent acquisition require that 75% of the time a woman and a BIPOC candidate must be part of the candidate slate.
  • Pierson cited i4cp's Leadership Redefined study which found that a key next practice was having leaders that consistently establish productive relationships with individuals from under-represented groups.
  • Other key behaviors that support that practice included:
    • Demonstrates awareness and appreciation for cross-cultural diversity
    • Actively supports ongoing education on diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Seeks to build and maintain a transparent and accessible environment
    • Consistently takes action that advance goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Initiates and/or involves themselves in discussions on events of social consequence
    • Challenges exclusionary institutional practices and processes within the organization
    • Shows keen interest in getting to know the whole person
    • Actively seeks out diverse/divergent perspectives before making important decisions
    • Sponsors or takes an active role in an employee resource group they don't self-identify with
  • Pierson advised that organizations need to get consensus and agreement on where the organization wants to goal regarding all DEI goals -- where do they want to be in the future?
  • Pierson is most proud of Oshkosh's EBRGs (Employee Business Resource Groups). They were negatively impacted by COVID, but have rebounded very strongly and having a very strong impact on the company.

Links to resources shared on the call: