HP Inc. is a company that I follow very closely. I covered the company extensively at CES 2019 this year and was impressed by the array of new, innovative displays it brought to its PC line (you can see my coverage here). It’s no secret that the company excels at delivering powerful PC offerings, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.
One thing that really sets HP apart is its company culture and its emphasis on the human element, which I wrote on last year after attending HP’s Executive Forum (read more here). I wanted to expand on that some more today, with an eye towards the work HP is doing to increase diversity and inclusion within its organization. HP’s CEO Dion Weisler took a pledge back in 2017 to advance these values in the workplace, as part of a CEO-driven business initiative called the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion. It does not appear to be an empty promise.
By the numbers
HP recently shared some impressive numbers that, in my mind, speak volumes about the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Its Board of Directors is purportedly the most diverse of any U.S. tech company, comprised of 45% women, 27% underrepresented minorities, and 54% total minorities. HP seems to understand that diversity and inclusion starts at the top. The company’s executive leadership team is made up of 33% underrepresented minorities, from 8 different countries, and 26% are women.
Looking at HP’s overall numbers, women make up 37% of the company’s global workforce—while still a far cry from 50%, this is still quite a feat in the traditionally male-dominated tech industry. In certain branches of operation, such as Finance, HR, Legal, and Marketing, women represent over 60% of HP’s employees. In other areas, women’s representation is growing, accounting for 21% of HP’s engineering roles and 22% of its IT roles. Minorities make up 25% of HP’s total U.S. workforce.
Obviously, if you want to improve these numbers, you have to start at the hiring process. HP says that 54% of all of its U.S. hires in 2018 were from historically underrepresented groups, which, in addition to women and minorities, includes veterans and people with disabilities. This represented an 8% increase in minority hiring over 2016. I would be very interested to see the numbers from 2018, as I’m sure they’ll show further progress in these areas.
Demonstrating a commitment
Numbers are important, but diversity and inclusion is not just about filling quotas—it’s about making the workplace a more inclusive and welcoming space for the historically underrepresented. As part of an HP recruiting campaign, Reinvent Mindsets, the company launched new campaigns in 2017 that focus on women and underrepresented groups. Of these, one focuses on unconscious bias faced by African Americans during the interview/hiring process, one sheds light on the discrimination women still face in the workplace, and others seek to educate on the issues faced by the LGBTQ, LatinX and U.S. veteran communities.
Good for people, good for business
Another area where HP is tackling these issues is that of advertising and public relations. A few years ago, HP asked all of its agency partners to submit a plan for increasing women and minorities in key creative and strategy roles. In the following years, HP pressured its agency partners to focus on increasing representation in leadership positions and overall account teams. By 2017, upward of 60% of HP’s agency partner account teams were comprised of women, and in 2018, the representation of underrepresented groups on account teams increased 12 points year-over-year. In a similar effort, HP’s Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel, Kim Rivera, launched a diversity initiative that allows the company to withhold a percentage of its law firm fees if said firm does not meet HP’s diversity staffing requirements. According to HP, the company has seen as a 30% increase in companies that meet these requirements since the launch of the initiative.
One interesting (if not a no-brainer) finding is that HP’s advertising & PR agency diversity initiative has actually increased the impact of HP’s advertising since its launch—a 6% increase in purchase intent (according to Brand Monitor) and a 33 point increase in revenue per impression (according to Nielsen’s Marketing Mix Analysis). Bringing a more diverse group of voices to the table in advertising results in being able to reach a broader range of people. Diversity and inclusion are essential goals for an organization to strive for, from a human and company culture perspective. But the truth is, it also benefits businesses’ bottom lines. In CEO Dion Weisler’s words, “We operate on the principle that diversity creates meaningful innovation and improves our company and our products and services.”
Rising Together for International Women’s Day
HP is also coupling storytelling with education and technology. The impact of this combination is showcased in the inspirational new film Brave Girl Rising. The film, which will debut on Friday’s International Women’s Day, is a collaboration between HP, Citi, Girl Rising and the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Along with their partners, HP will shed light on the courage and strength of girls who are rising to the challenge of gaining an education to fulfill their dreams, a critical issue affecting 17 million girls around the world. Brave Girl Rising was filmed in one of the largest refugee camps in the world and shows how a courageous girl – inspired by the dreams of her mother and the sisterhood of her friends – succeeds in getting the education she deserves. The film, which is one part of the company’s “Rising Together” global International Women’s Week program, will also debut at SXSW at the Equality Lounge, where HP is convening with the IRC, Citi, Black Girls CODE, Girl Rising and the Female Quotient to celebrate International Women’s Day.
While the tech industry as a whole still has a long way to go towards full, equal representation of women and minorities in its workforce, these numbers show that HP is committed to the values of diversity and inclusion. I’m impressed by HP’s continuing efforts in this area, not just to improve its hiring process and increase the diversity of its workforce, but to make it more inclusive for the new voices it is bringing into the fold. I’d like to see more companies in the tech industry follow HP’s lead in the coming years.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.