When you set out to transform not just a company, but an entire industry, you need some creative thinking. Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) and its subsidiaries view diversity as crucial to their ability to achieve transformation through innovation.
“We have long recognized, valued and enjoyed the many benefits that diversity brings to both our employees and our businesses,” says Lisa Caldwell, RAI’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer. “RAI’s goal is to achieve market leadership by transforming the tobacco industry, and that means we have to drive innovation across our companies. This transformation vision is shaped by the diversity of backgrounds, thoughts and experiences in our employee population.
“To succeed in today’s business environment, having a talented workforce and a strong commitment to employee development is absolutely essential,” Caldwell adds. “To accomplish our transformation goal, every RAI company has to have top-notch people who are continually given opportunities to thrive and grow.”
RAI and its subsidiaries capitalize on their diverse employee base, in part, by providing autonomy. “Our employees have the opportunity to drive significant change within an industry,” explains Caldwell. “People come here because they truly have the ability make a difference.
“We encourage employees to take ownership of their career development, and we want to give them the resources they need to succeed. We provide tools that support four key aspects of employee well-being: career, physical, financial and social well-being. Many companies offer competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits, just as we do, but we take a more comprehensive approach to be sure employees work in an environment designed to fuel innovation and collaboration,” she says.
RAI’s continuing commitment to diversity of thoughts and experiences in its workforce has long included those who are members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. RAI has offered domestic partnership benefits for more than a decade, and the company has a high rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.
RAI’s companies value the differences in not only their employees, but also customers and suppliers. To ensure the companies deliver products that meet the expectations of diverse adult tobacco consumers, RAI’s subsidiaries seek out a diverse supplier base.
“Our companies rely on suppliers from a wide range of backgrounds. We believe they deliver the best products, with the greatest value, to an increasingly diverse marketplace,” Caldwell says.
Susan Cameron, RAI’s president and chief executive officer, agrees that diversity is key to achieving the companies’ vision. “We are on an exciting journey to transform the tobacco industry. And we’re doing that through innovation, talent, creativity, individual contribution and diversity. The culture of our company is essential to achieving this transformation,” says Cameron.