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Diversity In Action

 

Diversity efforts are big at Boeing

Affinity groups and mentoring programs are plentiful, and diversity and inclusion are tied to the bottom line, says the company’s diversity director


Fanée Harrison.
Fanée Harrison.

Thanks to diversity councils at its many locations nationwide, Boeing’s leaders and employees are very much engaged in diversity efforts. “There’s more focus by our senior leaders,” says Fanée Harrison, director of cultural diversity and inclusion.

“We’ve tied diversity and inclusion to the bottom line. Both managers and employees understand that having a diverse and inclusive team impacts how we do business. It lets us be more creative and innovative, and that enhances our growth, development and productivity. All of it hits the bottom line.”

Besides its diversity councils, Boeing has seven affinity groups with eighty-four chapters. The affinity groups work together to promote professional and personal development for their members, and to support Boeing’s external community efforts. “They also engage new employees, and help them acclimate to the company,” says Harrison.

The affinity groups are “a terrific resource to identify potential candidates for mentoring programs, development programs and more,” Harrison notes. “They’re partners in our internal and external recruitment efforts. They participate in job fairs and interview panels, and they route job opportunities to their members.”

Boeing’s affinity groups also help the company in global markets. For example, Harrison explains, “Our Boeing Asian-American Professional Association developed a presentation for our managers on how to work and conduct business in China.” This presentation and one on working in Russia are in use by managers across the company.

To help employees prepare for interviews and career advancement, several of the affinity group chapters have sponsored “speed mentoring” events. In speed mentoring, Harrison explains, “The mentors, usually executives and HR professionals, speak briefly one-to-one with twenty or thirty people in an event. It’s a creative way for employees to get advice and feedback from many different company leaders. Of course there are also plenty of more formal mentoring programs.

“We’ve used the mentoring programs to mentor up and down,’ says Harrison. “It’s a two-way process. Our leaders are building their own skills, creating connections with people whose backgrounds and experience are different from their own.”

A new program, added just last year, is enterprise executive mentoring. Top execs within Boeing are asked to mentor at least one person each. In fact, “Many of our businesses require that each senior exec mentor three people, at least one of them a woman and one a minority.”

Rich Hartnett.
Rich Hartnett.
Boeing is currently hiring several thousand people a year, says Rich Hartnett, director of the company’s global staffing organization. “We have a variety of programs, both commercial and defense-based, that continue to need people, so we’ll continue to hire in 2008 and beyond.”

For the most part, Hartnett notes, the engineering and technical positions Boeing wants to fill require no more than a BS. “Boeing provides great opportunities for career growth and development within the company,” he advises. “We have a very diverse age population at Boeing, which gives new hires the opportunity to bridge the gap with the more seasoned workers.”

D/C




Boeing Logo.
www.boeing.com

Headquarters: Chicago, IL
Employees: about 160,000
Revenues: $61.5 billion (2006)
Business: Commercial airplanes, integrated defense systems, financial services

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