Diversity in the workplace
Key Learning Outcomes
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Diversity in the workplace Social and ethical responsibilities of business Dell’s Diversity Strategy
Michael Dell founded Dell Inc. in 1984 with a single vision: to sell customised, build–to-order personal computers directly to customers. Over 20 years later, Dell is a global leader in providing technology solutions to businesses, governments and individuals, with revenue of $57.4bn for the last year.
Business (Unit 4) Transition Year LCVP
The Dell Direct model means that customers get customised, innovative technology with the latest components, as Dell does not keep any finished stock and holds very low levels of raw materials, which are replenished several times daily.
How Dell fosters diversity internally
Dell actively promotes diversity in the workplace, not just as a good thing to do, but as a business imperative. Apart from obeying the equality legislation contained in the 1998 and 2004 Equality Acts, Dell is proactive in its approach to a barrier-free workplace. This includes attracting and retaining women, non-nationals and people with disabilities; ensuring an open environment and an effective work-life balance. Diversity at Dell is not just a distant, corporate goal, rather it is an integral part of the company’s corporate culture. Dell managers are required to complete a course in Diversity and Inclusion to equip them with the appropriate skills, knowledge and behaviour to manage diversity and to understand it from a business
Dell's Work Life Effectiveness Week.
Dell’s European manufacturing facility is located in Limerick, with a European business centre based in Cherrywood, County Dublin. Dell is Ireland’s largest exporter, largest technology company and second largest company overall.
Dell's Global Diversity Mission Statement
At Dell, diversity is characterised by both similarities and differences; those things that bind us together into one workforce combined with the flexibility around individual uniqueness. All of this contributes to Dell’s success.
Dell Ireland’s workforce – facts and figures
Dell’s global workforce is made up of 69,700 employees who live and work in 34 countries and deliver products to 190 countries around the world. Dell Ireland’s workforce is made up of 4,500 employees, 20% of whom are non-national, coming from 49 different countries. Women account for 34% of employees.
EMEA Diversity Mission Statement
Dell is known as a company that thrives on bringing diverse thinking to business issues while respecting the individual needs of its workforce.
By driving diversity issues throughout the business, Dell can tap additional talent, improve operating results and become a better place to work. A diverse workforce allows Dell to:
What is diversity?
When people think of diversity, they usually think of race and gender. At Dell, diversity is defined in its broadest sense, including differences such as communication style, thought processes, and skill set. Diversity is an essential element of Dell’s corporate values and ethos. Since Dell began operations in Ireland in 1990, the Irish workforce has changed dramatically. Non-Irish nationals now make up a large percentage of employees, and the participation of women in the workplace has increased. As European culture and society evolves, it is becoming clear that companies are either being challenged by an increased level of diversity or are recognising it for the opportunity that it presents. The Equality Acts of 1998 and 2004 outlaw discrimination of employees in recruitment, conditions of employment, the provision of training, opportunities for promotion, dismissal or disciplinary measures. It sets out nine ‘grounds’ where discrimination should not occur:
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Provide a great customer experience which requires a workforce reflective of its customers. Access the best and brightest talent the marketplace has to offer. Focus on global expansion with employees who understand the various cultures, giving Dell a competitive advantage.
Dell Ireland showed its commitment to diversity by appointing Ingrid Devin as Diversity Programme Manager in January 2006. She herself has benefited from Dell's diversity strategy, as the mother of two works a four-day week with flexible start times, which allows her to balance her work and home life. Dell meets its social responsibilities to employees by putting diversity policies into practice in the following ways:
Work Life Effectiveness
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Gender Marital status Family status Sexual orientation Religion
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Age Travelling community Race Disability
Recruitment policies and procedures to employ the best and brightest talent available, regardless of gender, nationality and ability level. Employee Assistance Programme – a fully confidential, external counselling service available to employees to help deal with work and personal issues.
Diversity in the workplace
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Free concierge service available to employees to source products and services such as finding a plumber, booking a holiday – all the jobs that can be an extra burden on top of a normal busy working day. Subsidised massage onsite. Flexibile working hours – ability to start/finish work earlier or later than normal business hours plus the opportunity to work less than a full time working week with corresponding impact on salary and benefits.
area have been lowered to allow for wheelchair access. All sites are equipped with ramps, wheelchair-friendly toilet facilities and designated parking located close to the main entrances. Dell buildings have light switches installed at appropriate heights for wheelchair accessibility. Lift buttons are in Braille, and to help the visually impaired, there is a recorded voice notification at each floor. Employees who use wheelchairs are included in fire drills and simulations and deaf employees are provided with pagers to ensure safety in the event of an emergency evacuation.
Telecommuting – provides eligible employees with the flexibility to work from home on a structured basis, typically for 30 – 40% of their weekly work hours. Remote working – to work 100% of time at home, except for meetings.
Encouraging more women in the workplace
Womens’ Network groups have been established to create a network for female leaders within Dell, and create a culture of learning, inclusion and development to support, attract and retain women in leadership positions.
Work Life Effectiveness Week
Work Life Effectiveness Week took place in early 2006 at its operations in Dublin and Limerick. The purpose of the week was to outline current benefits available, provide information and have fun. Massage was offered to those who wanted to relax. Employees were also encouraged to get fit by walking around the campuses on designated walking routes. Experts were also available to discuss solutions for working mothers and fathers, and provide classes in time management, life coaching skills and nutrition.
Promoting Dell as an attractive place to stay and grow a career as a woman. A commitment to career development for women, including training, assigning mentors from among senior managers and making sure that women are getting assignments and projects that will develop their skills.
Education & Awareness
Dell fosters an environment of education and awareness to help prevent harassment. At Dell’s European manufacturing operation in Limerick, free English classes are available to those employees whose first language is not English. Dell also translates many of its handbooks into different languages. Translators and interpreters for key employee meetings are provided, including Sign Language Interpreters. The Dell Ireland employee newsletter includes a feature called Culture Corner, focusing on a country's culture that is represented in the employee population. Dell’s canteen food service has also been adapted to cater for non-national minorities. In September 2005, Minister Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, together with Michael Dell launched a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research-driven scholarship aimed at encouraging more young women into engineering degree courses. Based on CAO statistics, just 16.4% of students who accepted places on four-year engineering courses in 2002-2004 were female. The scholarship is a partnership with Dell who will supply all scholars with Dell notebook computers. Up to ten scholarships will be awarded in 2006, and the value of each award is approximately €20,000.
Through its experience of employing people with disabilities, Dell recognises the important talents, skills and abilities of all its employees. By setting an example through a high level of commitment to their work and low levels of absenteeism, people with disabilities set an example for other employees. In their positive approach to work, these individuals inspire others, change attitudes and raise awareness of their abilities rather than their disabilities. Independent audits of the Dell workplaces are carried out by groups such as the National Council for the Blind and the Irish Deaf Society. From a disability perspective, Dell has been recognised at the O2 ability awards for consistently showing leadership by ensuring a barrier-free workplace for people with disabilities.
Health & Safety
Dell’s Health and Safety department is focused on making Dell a safer place to work for all employees, including those with some form of physical disability. Access gates and workbenches in the manufacturing
One of Dell's two Womens’ Network groups in Ireland.
What does diversity at Dell mean to its employees?
Annette Ahern: “As a wheelchairbound person, diversity at Dell to me means that there is equal opportunity. When I approached Dell to be considered for employment, I was surprised to receive positive feedback. Eight years later, I continue to enjoy working at Dell.” Sharon Bannerton: "My work/life balance has benefited in many ways from flexible working hours and the option to work from home. Career wise, I have also benefited from a clearly defined career path with the support of mentors and training that focuses on my individual needs and expands my horizons.” Janusz Grabowski: “I started working in Dell in the manufacturing build area. I must admit that this was my first contact with so many people from various origins,
Dell aims to increase the focus on diversity in the future. Ingrid Devin believes it’s a business issue which applies to everyone. “We want to create an environment where people understand what diversity is about and what they can personally do to ensure that all team members can grow and give their best regardless of culture, gender, nationality, etc.” She concludes: “We consistently encourage diverse thinking and feedback from all employees in all parts of the business. We need to understand, value and manage our similarities and differences. We want feel that they are valued, even if they are contrary to the majority. Our ultimate goal is to create an environment where our employees will have the opportunity to achieve their potential while retaining their individuality.”
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all our employees to be comfortable voicing their views and opinions, and
Find out more
1) Dell has focused on women, inclusion and work-life effectiveness as three issues for diversity. -5(a) Why do you think these areas were chosen? Give -5 two reasons in each case. -5(b) Which of these policies do you think is most effective? Why? -5(c) What areas would you have chosen to focus on? 2) What institutions were set up by the 1998 and 2004 Equality Acts to ensure that equality is promoted in workplaces? Write a paragraph on all institutions related to equality.
countries, cultures and religions. Initially, I was fearful of the
multilingual environment but then it occurred to me that Dell was giving each one of us an opportunity to gain experience and the chance to develop in our own way. That’s what diversity at Dell means to me!”
Fill in the boxes below. The shaded boxes will spell out a key word from the case. (a) The name of Dell’s strategy for ensuring that people of all cultures, races, ability levels and gender are represented in the workplace. (9) (b) All sites are ______________ with ramps. (8) (c) The type of Dell facility located in Limerick. (13) (d) The first name of Dell’s founder. (7) (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h)
(e) The Dell Diversity Strategy is aimed at fostering this. (9) (f) -5People working in Ireland who come from abroad. (3, 9) (g) Dell is Ireland’s biggest ______________. (8) (h) The confidential counselling service provided by Dell to employees. (8, 10, 9)