It is well documented that working in a diverse workplace can increase innovation and improve employee performance . But what does it mean in practice to be truly inclusive? This year, we're celebrating National Inclusion Week (NIW), which aims to increase the awareness of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace. Beating the drum for the inclusion momentum, the theme for 2020 is 'Each One, Reach One'. This highlights the opportunity we have as individuals to connect with a friend, colleague, or stranger to help them understand the importance of inclusion . In part one of our three-part blog series, we are looking at what inclusion means to Arm, and what we are doing in Arm Research to foster a truly diverse workplace.
Inclusion stretches from gender equality to ensuring minority groups are well represented in organizations. Here at Arm, we are addressing some of the most complex challenges in technology, and are also bringing D&I to the forefront of everything we do. As the famous saying goes, ‘actions speak louder than words’, and we want our actions to truly make a long-lasting difference.
This year, Arm’s internal focus for Inclusion Week surrounds speaking up and feeling safe to share thoughts, opinions and ideas, and to manage healthy conflict. During Inclusion Week, our activities include psychological safety webinars, the sharing of resources around creating inclusive virtual meetings, plus we are introducing our new group of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Champions. The aim of the campaign is to encourage a psychologically safe work environment where everyone feels safe to speak up.
The work we do in Arm Research is fueled by collaboration with our colleagues and our partners – encompassing everything from secure silicon design and integration, to making Arm IP widely accessible to academics. We understand that inclusive teams, comprised of people with diverse backgrounds and experience, are key to creating and delivering innovative technology for the future. Our ecosystem expects this kind of ingenuity from Arm, and we are focused on improving all aspects of D&I in our teams and how we operate.
Like many technology organizations, our diversity in some areas is greatly lacking. Our program to improve diversity within our group is focused on different stages of the talent lifecycle, including outreach, recruiting, hiring, development and providing feedback, reward and recognition, progression, and retaining talent. On the hiring front, we aim to increase the breadth of our networks every year, encouraging our team to attend events they have not been to before that may be relevant to the work we do. We are improving efforts to integrate D&I training as an essential part to the business-as-usual training we have today. For example, our hiring process training this year had a substantial component that went well-beyond the mechanics of how to hire and onboard a candidate. We discussed the value of diversity in teams at length. We explored common pitfalls where unconscious bias may adversely affect our thinking, how to recognize when that is likely to happen and provided tools to address biases rationally to make better decisions. This contextual integration of D&I components into everyday business practice is simple, meaningful, and, in retrospect, obviously a great thing to do.
While we have been talking about hiring and outreach, there are some great articles that highlight that the hiring pipeline is not necessarily the real problem. A substantial body of work that many others at Arm are working on is in the area of development and retention. We are reviewing how we can increase participation in our global secondment program, which provides development and networking opportunities for our staff, as well as benefits to the seconding and hosting teams. We are working to develop a better, more formal mentorship program that aims to address ‘stalls’ that may happen in mid-career employees that aspire for more senior roles. It is considered that access to secondment and mentorship programs, although open for everyone to participate in, disproportionately help minority staff. This is because they may experience more unique challenges finding and accessing those opportunities than other employees, without the transparency and structure of a formal program. Whether due to personal interests, lifestyle choices or circumstances, an employee should not have to dig out opportunities for growth or development in situations they may not ordinarily put themselves in, for example.
‘We have much work to do, but are fortunate to have passionate, bright, and determined people around the company working to improve our processes and to foster a more inclusive culture. If others want to start improving their organizations, I’d first recommend ‘showing up’ and making D&I a priority in how you spend your time and energy. Engage in conversation with curiosity and a genuine aspiration and commitment to do better, and you will quickly find opportunities to improve your team’s dynamics, the creativity of your solutions, and the joy you get from doing great work together.’
Chris Emmons - Senior Director, US Research Programs
We recognize that creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is not an overnight fix, but necessarily a company and community-wide effort, instilled into culture. In part two of our blog celebrating National Inclusion Week, we meet some of our Research colleagues. We'll learn what inclusion means to them, and how their various – not always conventional – career paths have brought a wealth of experience and insight to our team. Keep an eye out for our other two blogs to celebrate the week, and in the meantime, we encourage you to celebrate National Inclusion Week with us. Get your organization involved, and start making changes for the better.
Explore National Inclusion Week
This blog is the first of a three part series. Click the links below to discover more:
Celebrating National Inclusion Week at Arm Research (2/3)
Celebrating National Inclusion Week at Arm Research (3/3)
 Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce
 National Inclusion Week, Each One, Reach One