Over the past year, DEI has been a top priority for the leading engineering and industrial software brand AVEVA. This includes establishing a DEI strategy, implementing governance, creating a DEI policy, gaining commitment on this topic from the executive team, rolling out training, and accelerating the previous targets.
During that time, AVEVA saw two challenges arise simultaneously. The first was the imperative to broaden the conversation around DE&I, which had a long-running focus on gender; secondly, COVID brought into the spotlight the need to have employee wellbeing initiatives in place.
In this case study, Debbie Install, AVEVA’s VP inclusion and employee engagement, shares how the brand has successfully implemented its strategy to overcome the challenges it recognised.
George Floyd’s murder placed a very important spotlight on the topic of race, discrimination and how we as an organisation would ensure we had a truly global culture of inclusivity. Additionally, we faced a global challenge due to the pandemic – our employees needed support. As an organisation, we wanted to respond in a way that rang true with our employees, and given the focus on gender, this was not the case, so we knew we had to quickly do more.
Wellbeing within AVEVA was patchy; not all countries had access to services, and only some managers were comfortable talking about wellbeing issues. A feeling that we were paying lip service to important issues, we did not understand our workforce demographics and the challenges faced, and we lacked an infrastructure to give our employees a voice.
When the pandemic started, overnight we asked our whole workforce to work remotely, and so employees had both personal and work challenges to contend with which we needed to provide practical support for. We were also acutely aware of the effect significant change has upon an individual as well as on a company. It was essential that we provided the tools needed to navigate this new world.
Devising a solution
The DE&I resource at the time was one part-time lead. It was very clear that not enough resource and support was being given. We decided to move the responsibility to sit with the employee communications team and then set up a Tiger Team.
This was a priority for the organisation, so we needed to provide an immediate increase in headcount to support it. This new team comprises the DE&I lead, and members from various teams including talent, talent development, reward and communications. These colleagues were on an initial secondment for six months and together we set our priorities.
We had four weeks to do a review of our current wellbeing and DE&I strategies, research best practice and develop a proposal for leadership to implement. We built our initial proposal outlining our gaps and what were the foundations we needed to put in place – the areas we could build upon with speed and the areas that needed investment and support.
Adopting the right tools
We utilised some of the tools we had available, including our social intranet. We started to broaden the conversation across our organisation by amplifying the voices of our employees and external speakers and making them more accessible for all to see. We covered a range of topics from race and sexual orientation to mental health, and we provided tool kits for managers.
We used the CEO Podcast channel and all employee calls to talk about DE&I across the organisation. We also used our regular managers’ briefings and employee all hands calls, which included members of the executive leadership team, and helped connect senior leaders with employees, provide reassurance, guidance, direction and support.
An area that we identified as an issue was lack of employee data. To better understand our organisation we added demographic details to our employee survey tool along with specific DE&IW questions.
We identified five focus areas for building the foundations:
- Improved analytics and compliance
- Talent management
- Broadening the conversation
- Fostering a culture of inclusivity