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Home / case studies / Case study: How Lenovo embeds diversity and inclusion in employee development

Case study: How Lenovo embeds diversity and inclusion in employee development

Lenovo is a global technology leader with nearly 60,000 employees traveling to and doing business in more than 180 markets around the globe, for customers that are as diverse and global as Lenovo is. Accordingly, as a truly global technology company, Lenovo seeks to advance diversity and inclusion worldwide, bringing awareness about inclusion to all its leaders and all its employees in a variety of ways.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2018/19 Sustainability Report by Lenovo published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Lenovo’s approach to growing employees’ D&I (diversity and inclusion) capabilities is to embed D&I within each of its employee development programmes. Thus, while the concepts of D&I look different across the various programmes, they’re all anchored by Lenovo’s corporate cultural elements of innovation, entrepreneurship, and customer centricity. In order to embed diversity and inclusion in employee development Lenovo took action to:

  • expand managers’ global awareness
  • implement Leadership Development Programmes
  • combat harassment
  • implement a global awareness tool
  • operate Employee Resource Groups

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018/19 Sustainability Report Lenovo identified a range of material issues, such as business ethics, climate change, human rights, product responsibility, talent management, procurement practices, community outreach. Among these, embedding diversity and inclusion in employee development stands out as a key material issue for Lenovo.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Lenovo engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics Lenovo engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels: 

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Customers ·      Customer focus groups

·      Surveys

·      Direct customer interaction

Employees ·      Employee surveys

·      Lenovo-organised community service events

Suppliers ·      Supplier audits

·      Conferences

·      Quarterly business reviews

Investors ·      Responding to investor, analyst, and nongovernmental organisation (NGO) surveys and inquiries
Regulators ·      Phone conferences and meetings with industry trade groups on regulatory issues
Communities ·      Ongoing interactions with local communities

What actions were taken by Lenovo to embed diversity and inclusion in employee development?

In its 2018/19 Sustainability Report Lenovo reports that it took the following actions for embedding diversity and inclusion in employee development:

  • Expanding managers’ global awareness
  • Diversity of thought is celebrated at Lenovo by encouraging managers to seek out diverse candidates when hiring and through the use of the DiSC assessment, to better learn about people’s behavioural styles within manager training. Participants in director training learn to expand their global awareness by becoming anthropologists, and not tourists, when learning about other cultures.
  • Implementing Leadership Development Programmes
  • Lenovo’s global Women’s Leadership Development Programme (WLDP) and U.S. Mosaic Leadership Development Programme (MLDP) both develop high potential talent for the executive ranks. Women and members of historically under-represented groups in the U.S., including African American, Alaska Native and Native American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Individuals with Disabilities, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender), Two or More Races, and Veterans, are the candidates for these respective programmes. 
  • Combatting harassment
  • Lenovo employees and managers are encouraged, globally, to take part in a biennial programme and take an anti-harassment course, to promote positive behaviours that foster an inclusive workplace. This is a requirement for employees in non-manufacturing roles. Additionally, Lenovo works with internal organisations that have gaps as demonstrated in the Lenovo Listens employee engagement survey and supports these organisations with relevant D&I learning solutions, while in New Employee Orientation in the U.S. and China a portion is dedicated to Lenovo’s diversity, including an overview of Employee Resource Groups, Lenovo’s D&I Commitment, and its Code of Conduct.
  • Implementing a global awareness tool
  • As Lenovo’s customers are represented in more than 160 markets, Lenovo has invested in a tool for global awareness. It allows employees and managers to better understand themselves, their teams, and other cultures across elements like communication and status. All employees are invited to create their free culture profile in the system, and explore self-guided training. This tool also contains information about every country, including cultural customs and pronunciations of common greetings.
  • Operating Employee Resource Groups
  • Lenovo’s global Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), guided by its Diversity and Inclusion Office, play an instrumental role in advancing the employee experience. They include:
    • Women in Lenovo Leadership (WILL): Provides networking and development opportunities globally across 40 markets
    • Diversitas: Provides training, networking, and career development in Bratislava, Slovakia for individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning), women, and early career employees
    • New and Expectant Mothers Outreach (NEMO): Provides information, coaching, and support for expectant and new mothers in the U.S.
    • Black Leaders Achieving Success in Technology (BLAST): Provides mentorship, leadership development, networking, and community service in the U.S.
    • Hispanics of Lenovo Association (HOLA): Provides training, networking, and career development in North America

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 404-1 Average hours of training per year per employee

2) Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

 

Disclosure 404-1 Average hours of training per year per employee corresponds to:

Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Employee training and education

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Lenovo, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

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