One America Community Efforts
Little Bar

Program: We the People @ IBM, North Tarrytown, NY
Contact(s): J.T. Childs, Jr., Vice President, Global Workforce Diversity, International Business Machines: (904) 332-2280
Purpose: To promote workplace diversity and maintain an environment that fosters opportunities for all employees

Background Program Operations Outcomes


IBM has long regarded diversity in the workplace as an important element in a changing business environment. In addition to promoting and sponsoring educational programs, which contribute to diversity and minority opportunity, IBM recognizes the buying power of its diverse constituencies and seeks to strengthen and benefit from corporate diversity. To address the complex issues associated with diversity in the workplace and marketplace, IBM relies on employees to advise the company on perceived barriers to advancement and their view of how to best serve their respective constituency as customers. To this end, on July 14, 1995, IBM convened eight workforce diversity executive task forces representing Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, gays/lesbians, people with disabilities, white males, and women.

Program Operations

Each task force is chaired by an executive who is also a member of the constituency represented by the group. These task forces were initially asked to consider what is required for the particular constituency to feel welcomed and valued at IBM, what IBM and the constituency members can do to maximize their productivity, and what IBM can do to maximize business opportunities through the buying decisions made by a particular constituency. The task forces also discuss and study possible partnerships between community organizations and IBM. Through its internal diversity training program, IBM teaches employees how to respect and value those who are different and why this practice is important. These programs, along with 26 worldwide diversity councils within the IBM structure, first established in 1992, help all employees realize their potential and contribute substantially to corporate success.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

As of 1998, minority managers represented 14 percent of management, with Blacks constituting half of that group; 25 percent of managers were women. As a result of providing such employee opportunities, IBM has been recognized widely by independent organizations and publications.

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