Reevaluating Your DE&I Strategy with Pitney Bowes’ Sheryl Battles

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, Nina Holtsberry, i4cp's Director of Member Engagement, and Jacqui Robertson, Chief Diversity Officer at Cleveland Clinic, facilitated a conversation with special guest Sheryl Battles, VP of Global Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement at Pitney Bowes. Here are some highlights from the call:

  • Pitney Bowes is a global shipping and mailing company that provides technology, logistics, and financial services to help clients reduce the complexities of sending parcels and mail. They have around 11,000 employees and did around $3.5 billion in revenue last year. They service 90% of the Fortune 500, have a global e-commerce business, and are the largest workshare partner of the USPS.
  • Robertson reviewed a timeline of critical events in DE&I going back to the 1960s (see recording). Battles agreed that the arc of the timeline has been a shift from compliance, to a focus on talent, to a focus on business strategy.
  • Battles noted that in order for a DEI strategy to be resilient, it needs to be aligned with the culture, values, and business strategy of the organization--that is where sustainability comes from. Without this, it can fade away because it will be seen as an add-on, instead of as critical, embedded, and integral to the organization.
  • It is vital to understand the "why" of your DEI strategy, not merely the who and the what. You can make short term impacts without this understanding, but long-term, sustainable impact requires understanding the why.
  • Battles shared the story of the very long legacy of DEI strategy at Pitney Bowes which actually goes back over 80 years, to World War II, when their CEO at the time broadened the aperture of who could be hired as talent to include women, the disabled, and Black Americans. He specifically required a review to make sure that there were no practices or processes (e.g., systemic racism or sexism) that would get in the way of doing this.
  • Battles noted that at Pitney Bowes, they consider DEI across all areas of the employee lifecycle, so that the entire employee experience is considered and no gaps can arise.
  • Battles said that the listening strategy at Pitney Bowes involves both an in-depth annual engagement survey, as well as pulse surveys every three weeks with different and more targeted questions. Managers have a dashboard where they can see results (as long as they have at least five employees who participated).

Links to resources shared on the call: