Xerox approaches diversity as not just a commitment, but a core company value, meaning its approach to inclusion goes beyond race and gender, and values differences in age, outlook, cultural background, lifestyle, physical ability, and sexual orientation. Ursula Burns, Xerox chief executive officer, terms it the company’s “people development model.” Strong skills, a solid work ethic, commitment, and a will to win all help make up the model. Operating in 160 countries and employing professionals from every corner of the world, Xerox is a company where women and minorities make up 52% of its workforce. By bringing together people from different disciplines and backgrounds, the company can effectively render products and services to the global marketplace.
Xerox promotes understanding and inclusion through its actions, a comprehensive set of diversity initiatives and strategies. They include a balanced workforce strategy that drives equitable employee representation in all areas of the company; a minority/female vendor program that ensures it is actively committed to purchasing supplies and products from qualified women- and minority-owned businesses, and work-life programs that assist employees in the many aspects of their personal lives. “Employees with different ways of thinking and perceiving our world are employees who create innovative solutions. This variety of perspectives is a priceless resource and a key to achieving critical business results. This is the benefit of our diversity,” says Phil Harlow, Xerox chief diversity officer. Additionally, the diversity agenda includes executive commitment; communications through educating employees and management on diversity programs, policies, and achievements; training/competency programs to ensure diversity principles are taught to all; operations to address imbalances by identifying shortfalls and closing gaps; and strategy development that leverages diversity to gain a business advantage.
The Corporate Champion Program matches senior executives with independent caucus groups of Xerox employees to facilitate and maintain open communications, and through executive roundtables, Xerox’s chairman, CEO and other senior leaders meet with diverse teams of employees in informal sessions to share views on the company’s work environment and business concerns. The Xerox executive diversity council includes senior leaders who meet during the year to review diversity results and to provide recommendations to the CEO and human resources.