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Diversity in Action

Weyerhaeuser has a strategic agenda for diversity

It's focused on building a strong business case for diversity, and attracting and retaining talent the company will need in years to comee

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Effenus Henderson: robust plans are being implemented across the company.

Effenus Henderson: robust plans are being implemented across the company.

At the Weyerhaeuser website you'll find an exciting job ops list, updated weekly, displaying current needs at Weyerhaeuser locations all over the country.

Jobs are listed for posts like design technician and electric project engineer. Managers are needed in areas of environmental compliance, ops, lean manufacturing process and quality. IT folks are sought to work in hot technologies like e-commerce, enterprise data systems and manufacturing systems.

Of one thing you can be sure: diverse candidates are welcome to apply for any job at Weyerhaeuser. The company's passion for diversity starts with six very senior folks on the executive diversity council, chaired by Steven R. Rogel, Weyerhaeuser's president and CEO.

Effenus Henderson has been the company's director of workforce representation and diversity since 2000. "We focus on developing a strong business case for diversity," he says.

Henderson explains that Weyerhaeuser's strategic agenda is focused on five high-impact areas.

The first is leadership effectiveness. The leadership program, reviewed annually by the governance committee and board of directors, covers the top four hundred execs at Weyerhaeuser. Henderson notes that "Diversity has become a key component of compensation here. Leaders all the way up to the CEO are evaluated on how they have helped make the company more diverse."

The second agenda item is governance and accountability. It involves education strategies like a must-take online program about harassment and how to fight it. Also included is the development of an affirmative action plan for each business unit. "These very robust plans are being implemented across the company, and we're feeling pretty good about that," Henderson says.

The third area is talent management. More than 40 percent of Weyerhaeuser's managers will probably retire or move on in the next ten years, so the company is planning now to fill the pipeline with new talent. One way is through the Weyerhaeuser Scholars program, Henderson points out.

In collaboration with the United Negro College Fund, this program provides internships and scholarships for students in science, engineering, sales and production. Weyerhaeuser has put more than half a million dollars into the program in the last two years.

"We also include diversity in our succession planning processes," Henderson adds. One requirement is to be sure the company is building a pipeline of diverse talent in key functional areas, including engineering. "We have a scorecard that requires leaders to look at placements in areas where we have an opportunity to make progress. We're managing and monitoring that on a quarterly basis and it's reviewed by the CEO," Henderson notes.

The fourth area is "building the kind of climate and culture where diverse talent wants to come and stay." This includes supporting employee networks and councils and promoting effective dialogues with management.

The company's Women in Action group, for example, ran a series of forums on workplace flexibility. A business-level African American leadership team drew up a broad set of recommendations on proactive mentoring and strategic outreach. The Generation Next group gave its ideas about what younger, diverse talent looks for in the workplace. "That's been very helpful in shaping our policies," notes Henderson.

The final area is outreach. This includes supplier diversity, with sponsorship of events on the local and national level. "It's creating awareness about the kind of opportunities we have," says Henderson.

On the community and grassroots level, Weyerhaeuser recently gave more than $250,000 to Washington State's diversity-focused Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program. "We're committed to building that pipeline," Henderson declares.

The company reaches out to the broader business community in promoting diversity, notes diversity manager Darvi Mack. In 2005 Weyerhaeuser brought together more than 250 companies based in the Pacific Northwest, including Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks. Each company talked about its most successful diversity practices.

There are plans for another gathering this year to share further insights.



Headquarters: Federal Way, WA
Employees: 52,000 in eighteen countries
Revenues: $22.7 billion in 2004
Business: Growing and harvesting of timber; manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; real estate development and construction
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