Case Study on Lenovo's Diversity and Inclusion initiative
Updated: May 4, 2021
Introducing diversity and inclusion to any organization seems like a simple idea. Most companies have already taken steps to achieve an inclusive work environment. Last time, we shared some tips on how to get more women and minorities to apply with better job descriptions. But most organizations are struggling to make progress.
This time we will look at a case study of a company that has successfully increased diversity.
Lenovo is a multinational company with over 63,000 employees and operating in 180 markets around the world. They have been recognized for their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in their organization.
Lenovo believes that technology is the catalyst and a powerful enabler of diversity and inclusion. They conducted a global survey of 5,000 people in five countries – China, the U.S., the UK, Germany, and Brazil – of varied age, gender, and cultural backgrounds. The people they engaged with around the globe see technology as a positive force in advancing D&I and bringing the world closer together – professionally, socially, and culturally.
Lenovo has taken the approach is to instill D&I within each employee throughout the organization with a specific focus on these programs:
Management Development - They use DISC assessment to better learn about people’s behavioral styles within manager training. Understanding and leveraging the advantages of having different personalities on teams.
Leadership Development Programs - Women and members of historically underrepresented groups are encouraged to participate in these programs.
New Employee Orientation - 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, their D&I Commitment, and their Code of Conduct.
Global Awareness Tool - They created a Global Awareness tool to help employees better understand other cultures across the globe.
Lenovo also invested in growing its diverse supplier base. They launched the Supplier Diversity Program to promote the sourcing of goods and services from high-performing diverse businesses such as woman-owned businesses, LGBTQA+-owned businesses, and Small Disadvantaged-Owned businesses, to name a few. They are looking to expand this initiative to other geographies by 2021.
The suppliers, in turn, are expected to comply with the Supplier Code of Conduct and must be equally committed to the highest standards of business behavior.
Lenovo recently built the Lenovo Foundation in order to boost diversity in community leadership. Its mission is focused on STEM education and empowering diverse and under-resourced populations. The Lenovo Foundation seeks to address inequities in digital access in the community. They do this through things such as providing digital literacy classes for the elderly and donating computers in countries that have little to no access to technology.
Last year, Lenovo launched the Product Diversity Office (PDO) which endeavors to ingrain D&I into their product design and development process.
Lenovo voice, a pre-installed feature in Lenovo’s X1 Fold, is the first product to complete the PDO process and is considered “diversity approved”. Among its features include real-time translation assistance, subtitle assistance, voice input, and voice assistant capabilities, making the PC more intelligent, convenient and efficient.
Another product that has diversity and inclusion embedded in it is the Yoga laptop. It was created by a diverse team of engineers from China, the U.S., and Japan and is adaptable which owes its inspiration to its inter-cultural origins.
In 2020, Lenovo’s efforts paid off by increasing the percentage of women in executive roles globally by 3% (18% to 21%). Also in 2020, they increased. Also in 2020, they increased traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in executive roles in the US by 2% (27% to 29%). While these gains may sound modest, in 2020 most organizations decreased their percentage of women and underrepresented minorities in leadership roles.
Lenovo received recognition from different organizations for its remarkable D&I achievement. They were named one of the Best Places to Work LGBTQ Equality and was included in Bloomberg’s 2020 Gender-Equality Index.
This case study is solid proof that progress towards a diverse and inclusive workplace is attainable for companies that want to make a difference.