We started VMwomen in early 2014 by looking at our gender diversity numbers. Our numbers, which we shared at a high-level last July, are consistent with the trends we see for women in business generally and women in technology specifically. As our CEO Pat Gelsinger says, “we can and we will do better.” So, we created the VMwomen Council, which consists of a business leader from each of our 16 organizations. These business leaders are responsible for driving a measurable action plan to address recruitment, development and retention of female talent.
I’m often asked what is different about VMwomen from other company’s women’s initiatives. The answer is: VMwomen is a business-led initiative. The business leaders and the Council members are accountable for their action plans directly to Pat Gelsinger and our Chief People Officer, Betsy Sutter. VMwomen is not an HR initiative. VMwomen is helping drive systemic change and business outcomes through a more inclusive and diverse environment.
Now you might be asking, how does this plan truly drive systemic change? Well, each plan has specific goals that are helping transform the way VMware conducts business. Common themes include how we recruit and hire top talent, how we develop, how we mentor and sponsor, and how we think about and enable culture at VMware. For example, many of our action plans include goals around having at least one female interviewer for open positions. We believe embedding our actions into business processes will enable sustainable change. We will be measuring the impact of our action plans in July this year.
In addition to the strategic actions led by the VMwomen Council, there are several enterprise and grassroots programs that are providing additional support, focus and resources. One program that embodies the International Women’s Day 2015 theme, Make It Happen, is VMware’s partnership with Stanford’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research to pilot DIALOGUE Circles. This program is a peer-based leadership development initiative to advance women’s leadership similar to Lean In Circles. Over the course of six months, we held ten DIALOGUE Circles in the U.S. that discussed authentic leadership, power and influence, negation, what works for women in the workplace, and leveling the playing field. We found statistically significant positive improvements including:
- An 80% increase in awareness of peer networks and a 45% increase in awareness of career support
- A 21% increase in sense of belonging
- A 15% increase in awareness of stretch assignments; and
- A 70% increase in awareness of tools for advancement
We are thrilled to have recently expanded DIALOGUE Circles in several of our EMEA and India sites and are looking forward to the learnings from the program abroad.
At VMware, we are committed to being a great place to work and VMwomen is one of the ways we are enabling all of our employees to make it happen. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we’re shining the light on several of our people’s unique make it happen milestones over the course of the next week and a half on the VMware Careers and VMware University Relations social media channels. You can then connect with these change-makers on Wednesday, March 18 during our first #VMwomenChat on Twitter. Interested in shaping the #VMwomenChat conversation? Submit your questions for the panelists by tagging the @VMwareCareers Twitter account and adding #VMwomenChat to your tweet. We’ll select a handful for the live chat. I look forward to seeing you then!
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