The Catalytic Power of Transparency in Creating a Diverse Workforce

Q&A with Barbara Whye, Intel’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Aug 15, 2019 12:30 PM ET

By Michelle Mullineaux

The data clearly suggests that companies are not ready to disclose their progress on D&EO. We were eager to explore why, what’s working in corporate America, and how we might help equip business leaders looking to lead on this critical issue, so we reached out to Barbara Whye, Intel’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and VP of Human Resources.

In 2015, Intel (which ranked 2nd overall and 1st in its industry in our model in 2018, and 1st overall in 2017), announced a bold goal to reach full representation in its U.S. workforce of women and underrepresented minorities by 2020. In other words, within five years, Intel’s workforce needed to reflect the demographic makeup of the total U.S. labor force, an impressive target that the company reached two years ahead of schedule in 2018.

In the interview below, Whye discusses Intel’s journey toward creating and reaching this goal, her advice to other corporate leaders looking to move the needle, and the catalytic power of committing to transparency. 

Intel achieved its goal of full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in its U.S. workforce two years ahead of schedule last year. How’d that happen? What were some of the key components to Intel’s success? 

Our workforce now reflects the percent of women and underrepresented minorities available in the skilled labor market in the U.S. This achievement was the result of a comprehensive strategy that took into account hiring, retention, and progression. Reaching this goal is a testament to the hard work of our employees as well as the investments we’ve made in people, our partners, and communities around the world. Our work does not stop here. We continue to foster an inclusive culture where employees can bring their full experiences and authentic selves to work.

What are some of the more unique initiatives that you prototyped? What are you most proud of? 

Retaining key talent is important to Intel, and we want to help before employees feel they’ve run out of options, so in 2016 we launched Intel’s confidential hotline, Warmline, to provide employees with the support they need to work through personal and professional roadblocks and improve the overall employee experience. To date, the Warmline has received more than 20,000 cases and case managers have an 82% retention rate.  

Now we have a robust data set to identify patterns, locate problem areas, and address issues proactively and systemically. Starting January 2019, we began rolling the program out globally, extending real-time support and guidance at scale. The Warmline case managers are driven by a goal of promoting diversity and inclusion within the workplace and between employees, encouraging them to be their best selves. The Warmline is also private and personal, helping users feel heard and understood by an objective third party outside of normal business HR. For these reasons we are very proud to be bringing this program to Intel globally so that we can continue in our mission to encourage a community of openness, belonging, and inclusion.

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