By Mark Crawford, Senior Vice President, Group Diversity & Inclusion, bp
As bp reimagines energy for people and our planet, we want to improve people’s lives through the products and services we provide, as well as through our presence in local communities everywhere we operate around the world. A key part of that is our aim to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero, too. We see this as the defining issue of our time, and we know that an essential element of our success will be how well we fully engage the talent in our diverse workforce.
Following George Floyd’s tragic death last year, our company embarked on an extraordinary process of self-discovery through honest and sometimes raw conversations across our teams. We hosted a series of “Listening Lounges” we hoped would attract at most a few hundred of our US employees. In the end, more than 6,000 employees from around the world took part in what were some of the most powerful discussions many of us had ever had on the topic of race. Our leaders knew we owed it to our employees to deliver real action on systemic racism. As a company, we always had good intentions, but we didn’t always execute on them as effectively as we could. If we wanted real progress, we had to do better. bp’s new diversity and inclusion Framework for Action is our answer. With the full backing of bp’s leadership, the framework has three pillars – transparency, accountability and talent.
Through it, we’re refocusing our efforts on supporting our US minority employees, especially African Americans. But this framework is also being applied everywhere in the world to help us be more aware of and intentional about how we support our employees.
- Transparency: We’ll begin publishing a comprehensive D&I report in 2021. We want a data driven approach that gives plenty of visibility and accountability for the agenda, embracing an old saying that underpins the importance – and power – of data in helping organizations deliver on good intentions: “What gets measured gets done.”
- Accountability: We’ll clearly link progress on D&I to our performance management and reward processes. Within bp, we’re continuing to build an inclusive environment and will increase dialogue and education focused on anti-racism.
- Talent: We’ll drive increased hiring and progression of African Americans and ethnic minorities and other underrepresented groups. We know that can’t happen without increasing the diversity of our talent pools, so we will refine the metrics and processes aimed at increasing the diversity of our talent pools and candidate slates. A big part of this will be fostering strategic relationships with universities, especially historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
While societal events were certainly a catalyst for our renewed commitment, that isn’t the only driver. We’re less than one generation away from a majority minority workforce in the US. Companies that are preparing now to be identified and recognized as embracing, welcoming, and genuinely cultivating diversity in their workforce, business partnerships, and communities, will win. Making real progress on diversity and inclusion is not just “the right thing to do.” It’s an urgent priority that warrants the attention we’re paying it today. We don’t have all the answers, and we have a lot of work to do. But at bp, we’re taking positive steps on our journey to get this right. In the end, we are confident that increasing transparency of our data will help to drive continued focus in this area and sustainable change. By sharpening accountability for progress, we can expect to see real improvements. And by focusing on our talent processes – where we identify new talent, and how we support and develop talent once they are part of bp – we will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to contribute their best. We need all three to succeed in our mission. For climate. For social justice. For everyone.