UK&I INK and media category manager, HP Inc.
What's the most pressing issue preventing progress with diversity today that no one's talking about?
There are different problems that delay the adoption of diversity in companies; however, one issue that I would highlight is that of ‘diversity without inclusion'. Sometimes, companies focus on attracting diverse talent but forget to create policies that encourage the inclusion of new employees, which in the end, limits diversity and makes it difficult to retain diverse talent. In HP we have the BIG strategy. Belong: We want everyone connected - bring your whole self, create the correct environment and engage in courageous conversations. Innovate: Diversity drives innovation - disrupt unconscious bias and reinvent standards. Grow: Acquire diverse talent and accelerate careers. With this strategy we have managed to promote diversity and create an inclusive environment, create actions that help to generate a more unified community and develop human talent in the company.
What do you believe are the most effective policies and initiatives that companies can implement to promote diversity in their workforce?
At HP, we have implemented several policies that have been very effective in reference to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). The first one is the ‘open-door policy' which has been implemented since HP was created. This policy allows us to have fluid communication with anyone within HP - regardless of position and/or rank. This gives all employees confidence to talk through any challenges and solutions. We continually create actions that promote the education and self-education of employees on issues such as unconscious bias, racism, gender equality, LGBTQ+ community and so on. Some examples are workshops with external agencies, monthly talks led by our Business Impact Networks, and our Film and Book Club where we discuss movies and books related to DE&I topics. Another important element is transparency. HP has worked for years to promote transparency and the creation of actions and objectives that make us constantly improve our DE&I strategy. Proof of this is our annual ‘HP Sustainable Impact report', where we detail our progress regarding climate action, digital equity and of course human rights (empower workers, drive a culture of inclusion and belonging and social justice, racial and gender equity).
How much progress has made in diversity since you started working in IT?
I started my career in the IT industry more than 20 years ago at HP Mexico and the progress, awareness and action around DE&I has grown exponentially:
• Today at HP we have specific Business Impact Networks, where employees have a voice, and we generate actions by the people for the people. These Impact Networks are safe places where members can share experiences and have conversations on different DE&I topics. At HP UK&I we have four Impact Networks - Woman, Multicultural, Pride and Next Generation Impact Network.
• From my experience I can see that employees are asking for and consuming content that helps them educate themselves on DE&I. • The involvement of top management on progressing DE&I has grown. Today we can see how HP's leaders are committed to creating real sustainable change.
What should senior management teams be doing more of to help create a more inclusive industry for everyone?
We put the same question to our UK&I Multicultural Business Impact Network members and their answers in order of relevance were:
• Embrace change and transparency;
• Be a supporter of change and communicate DE&I strategy and actions;
• Find resources to implement our DE&I strategy;
• Be an advisor and advocate.
How did you first get into the IT industry?
After I graduated with an industrial engineering degree, a friend invited me to apply for a channel development position at HP Mexico. It has been more than 20 years in the industry where I have had the opportunity to work in Mexico, Argentina and for the last eight years in the UK.
What have been some of your experiences (both good and bad) with how the IT industry has historically approached diversity?
I have had the privilege of working for HP which is a company committed to DE&I and one of the greatest experiences I have had related to diversity was my relocation from Mexico to the UK, where this relocation has given me invaluable experience - personal, cultural, professional - and at the same time I have been able to bring my authentic self to the UK&I team. In this relocation, the biggest initial challenges were communication (both verbal and non-verbal), cultural differences and the lack of a network; however, my colleagues and managers were always patient, supportive and inclusive and thanks to that, today I feel I can be myself at work while contributing to the team.
Who have been your biggest role models in your professional life, and how have they helped you to succeed?
I have been fortunate to work with talented people in different IT companies and countries. In the last few months I have had the privilege of working with our MD, Dave Prezzano, not only on business-related topics, but on DE&I topics. Dave has given incredible support to the actions that the Multicultural Impact Network aim to execute, and he has empowered the network to foster greater inclusion. Dave has actively shown me the importance of always doing the right thing; not only for the business, but for HP and the community.
Do you think companies should be compelled to publish ‘ethnicity pay gap' data?
Transparency is an essential element for the success of the DE&I strategy. Having a government directive will enable companies to collect ethnicity data and have the capability to benchmark data against the tech industry and leverage best practices from other companies. This in turn, will promote the sharing of best practice, which benefits everyone.