IBM has been a global-diversity leader since the concept first started to gain traction more than a decade ago. For IBM, what global diversity means, besides understanding the cultural complexities of the local population, is maximizing the talent base in every country.
The company has been making groundbreaking strides in doing just that through its employee groups, talent-development programs and global mentoring program. The organization’s cross-geography mentoring program fosters collaboration between established and growing global markets and creates the ability for both innovation and talent development. It cultivates talent by bridging leadership and knowledge gaps, regardless of geography. It focuses on accelerating global leadership of critical skills in growth countries, skills identified as sales, client-facing, technical and project management, for example. It also helps mentors and mentees develop cultural intelligence and cultural-adaptability skills.
The results of this program: Managers globally increased revenue and the number of deals. Mentees had a higher rate of closing deals than those not in the program. Mentees who executed learning plans booked more business than those who did not. Mentees exceeded required skill levels. A survey of participants showed that almost all felt they acquired new skills, had growing knowledge and awareness of different cultures and related mentoring to career development.
Award accepted by Rod Adkins, senior vice president, systems and technology group:
“In our experience, diversity and inclusion is a spark for greater innovation. We think we should reflect the markets that we do business in and participate in. We are in well over 170 countries around the world. Diversity is important for our future, how we build cultural confidence at IBM and how we focus on future leaders, by putting people in global assignments and partnering with nonprofit organizations around the world.”