Making Inclusion & Diversity Work

Making Inclusion & Diversity Work

Ashish Kapoor, Director HR - India at Eaton, shares how inclusion & diversity is firmly anchored in the organization's philosophy, why it is a strategic imperative at Eaton, and how the company is thoughtfully developing and executing best-in-class approaches to foster inclusivity in the workplace.


What does inclusion & diversity mean to you at Eaton?


At Eaton, I believe inclusion and diversity (I&D) powers our innovation and sustainable growth. Openness to diversity widens our access to the best talent in the world, and inclusion allows us to engage that talent fully.


Today, Eaton is a power management company made up of 100,000 employees doing business in more than 175 countries. In India, we have 19 sites and more than 5500 diverse employees across the region. We have always believed that leveraging the diversity of Eaton employees, and driving cross-cultural awareness deepens the understanding of our customers and enables more strategic relationships with them.


Diversity takes many forms— characteristics like age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, physical ability, and sexual orientation all come into play. At Eaton, we aspire to be a model of inclusion and diversity in our industry— a place where everyone matters and everyone belongs. We want to be known for the way we welcome all people to the table and include them by listening to what they have to offer.


Why is inclusion & diversity important to business success today?


At Eaton, we know that the single most important ingredient to our success is our people. When we say that we aspire to be a model of inclusion and diversity, it is because we believe that it is the right thing to do for our people, investors, customers, and communities. I&D is much needed to achieve our business vision as when we embrace the different ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds that make each of us unique, the company as a whole becomes stronger. We believe this outlook helps us attract, retain, and engage top talent around the world.


Globally, with 50% diversity on our Board of Directors and around 5,000 Eaton leaders attending I&D training courses, we’re firmly committed to setting guidance, targets, and activities that foster greater inclusion and diversity everywhere we do business.


How is Eaton creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging? Could you share a few examples?


For I&D, we have four pillars of excellence which serve as our global focus areas: namely, talent— attract, retain, and advance the great talent needed to fuel our growth, performance—enable all employees to contribute their unique skills to achieve their full potential and optimize business results, globalization— accelerate the process of becoming a global enterprise that can win in all markets, and innovation— cultivate and leverage different backgrounds, perspectives, andthinking to create better processes, products, and service solutions.


Globally, we have eight inclusion Eaton Resource Groups (iERGs) which have been formed to foster awareness, respect, and inclusion within the workplace for a diverse audience. Last two years, Eaton saw a positive membership growth by 32% worldwide. In India, presently, we have three iERGs with more than 1900 members promoting a diverse workforce, including women, millennials, and people with special needs. These groups help us identify priorities, break down barriers to culture change, engage in business projects and get involved in talent initiatives.


Throughout the organization, our teams focus on recruiting, developing and empowering women. For example, we have special programs for hiring women after their maternity/career break; we have focused leadership development programs for employees with diverse backgrounds, and encourage them to learn and lead. To reinforce inclusive leadership behaviours, in 2014, Eaton launched a unique workshop, “Valuing Inclusion and Diversity at Eaton: The Power of Perspectives”, for thousands of leaders globally.


We fully support and embrace a work/life effectiveness strategy and flexible work environment, as these are designed to drive high performance and create a competitive talent advantage. We want the best people to join Eaton, no matter their circumstances. Our solutions include remote working, flextime, part-time and telework. The Eaton mentoring program is another resource for developing and advancing our diverse talent. Mentors and mentees are paired up to help employees develop and realize their career aspirations. Inclusive leadership behaviours are enabled here to create a sense of belonging.


Promoting science and technology as one of our key community development areas, Eaton in India is also connecting with students and developing relationships with the upcoming talent by unique programs like Pratibha (scholarships for women engineers), Ignited Innovators of India, and the Eaton Excellence Award.


Please share anything else you would like readers to know about Eaton.


We’ve been named one the best employers for diversity by Forbes magazine, as well as one of the best workplaces by the Human Rights Campaign. Eaton has been recognized by the Zinnov Awards for “Enhancing Gender Diversity at the Workplace” in 2015. Recently, in India, Eaton has been awarded the ‘Best diversity partner Award 2019’ by Society of women engineers (SWE).


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