HOW A LARGE CORPORATION SUPPORTS WOMEN
AWIS: Most companies promote diversity; however, what does Chevron do specifically to promote the inclusion of STEM women not only in their workforce, but also higher up in the ranks?
Yosufzai: Chevron reports internally on diversity demographics of the “petrotech” population (employees who are Petroleum Engineers, Facility Engineers, Drilling and Completions Engineers, or Earth Scientists). These employees are among those most likely to have expanded education and experience in STEM fields in the energy industry. In addition, Chevron sponsors external research and initiatives to strengthen STEM pipeline candidates.
Chevron also offers targeted leadership development programs, robust succession planning systems, and diverse selection teams for jobs. These systems have proven to be successful in promoting the inclusion of women in all job classes, including higher management and executive ranks.
AWIS: What do you see as the largest barrier to women being promoted within a company?
Yosufzai: There are typically more women in “support” positions than there are in “line” roles. As line roles with profit and loss (P&L) responsibility are usually a direct conduit to the C-Suite**, we must increase the number of women in this pipeline. Sometimes there are perceptions about the mobility of women which may hamper movements into line roles or positions offering international experience. These perceptions, which in many cases are just that, can be perceived as barriers. Also, the number of women graduating from engineering schools must be increased to provide a more robust feeder pool of recruits for the jobs of the future.
AWIS: Does Chevron have a women’s network to help promote their female workers?
Yosufzai: Chevron has a strong Women’s Network (WN). The vision statement of the WN is to proactively engage and develop our members globally to create and enable the talent needed to drive success for themselves and Chevron. The mission statement continues by defining the network as a Chevron organization committed to enabling company success by supporting the following actions:
§ Identifying and meeting the strategic needs of our members and organization by providing resources and tools, and
§ Developing awareness and providing opportunities throughout all levels in Chevron to inspire members to achieve the success they seek.
§ The Women’s Network also has several Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that focus on a particular dimension. A few of the SIGs are: Executive Women, Petrotech Women, and Women in information technology (IT) Careers.
AWIS: How does the network function? Who comprises the network members? How are their goal(s) and ideas instituted within the company?
Yosufzai: Employee networks are groups of employees focused on the following dimensions of diversity: gender, race, sexual orientation, age, disability, and nationality. The networks reflect The Chevron Way which outlines our values, one of which is diversity. Networks are initiated by employees, formally structured, and aligned with Chevron’s Diversity objectives and strategy. Employee networks are inclusive and each of them is open to any employee who wants to support the network. The WN Executive Committee develops a 3-year global strategy each year to select programs based on these critical success factors:
§ Add value to Chevron, publicize our successes, and be recognized for our contributions by demonstrating measurable results, driven by data, both internally and externally.
§ Engage stakeholders in order to understand and address their needs.
§ Sustain the Executive Committee and Site Leadership to ensure succession planning.
§ Collaborate and leverage programs with other employee networks.
§ Local WN global site leaders establish programs for their local members based on these criteria.
AWIS: What one thing would you like to see all companies/institutions do to better promote diversity and inclusion?
Yosufzai: I’d like to see companies provide more transparency in their reporting on data and issues related to diversity and inclusion. To me, decisions must be made on sound data. Good data leads to information which upon proper analysis leads to insights. From insights, action plans can be developed. But it all comes down to data.
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*Disclaimer: It’s important to note that Yosufzai’s comments are not necessarily the opinions of AWIS. AWIS received no compensation to publish Yosufzai’s comments and we aren’t affiliated with each other (except that we have some AWIS members who work at Chevron, of course). If you work for a company or institution that has an Office of Diversity and would like to see how they answer these questions, contact email@example.com and we just might interview them and find out.
**C-suite: According to Investopedia, “c-suite” refers to a corporation’s most senior-level executives.