Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



June/July 2011

Diversity/Careers June/July 2011 Issue

African Americans in tech
NYPA: Women engineers
BDPA plans conference
ABI's Women of Vision
Atam Dhawan of NJIT
Argonne & Native students

Energy M/WBEs
News & Views
VMX: environmental WBE
Regional roundup
Supplier diversity

Diversity in action
News & Views

Sandia Intel

Diversity In Action

3M creates ingenious products with the power of collaboration

The company hires all levels of technical employees, including PhDs. Disciplines range from ChE and biomed to CS and SAP on the IT side

'3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products," says chief diversity officer Clydie Douglass. The company's presence in more than sixty-five countries around the world makes diversity and inclusion a business imperative, she notes. More than 7,000 researchers in 3M businesses share knowledge across forty-five technologies and multiple business units.

"Our culture of creative collaboration across the globe inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better," says Douglass.

To keep that collaboration and creative thinking going strong, the company hires all levels of technical employees, including many PhDs. The disciplines span a range from chemical and biomedical engineering to chemistry and materials science. Information technology hires individuals with CS, MIS and SAP-related experience.

Douglass expects hiring to be active for the next few years. Like many companies, 3M recognizes the potential for members of the baby boomer generation to begin retiring fairly soon, so succession planning is important. "We have a human capital plan with a five-year strategy that indicates we will continue to have opportunities for technical employees," Douglass explains.

3M supports diversity in many ways, through various processes and programs. From community giving to hiring programs and retention strategies, the company embeds diversity principles throughout all its processes, Douglass says.

The company taps a diverse pool of candidates with a strong presence at several HBCUs, Douglass notes. Schools of choice for recruiting are Georgia Tech, Tuskegee, Prairie View A&M, North Carolina A&T and Florida A&M. 3M also engages national diversity organizations like AISES, NACME, NSBE, SHPE, GEM, SWE and the Minnesota Business Leadership Network (BLN) for people with disabilities. The company is represented on their boards and provides funding through 3M's charitable foundation.

Funding support is also provided to the Black Engineer of the Year Awards, the American Chemical Society, NOBCChE, the National Hispanic MBAs and the National Black MBAs organizations. 3M participates in the organizations' events as well.

The company has active STEM outreach programs for students in science, math and engineering, and local mentoring programs in which 3M employees participate enthusiastically, Douglass says. Technical employees may judge science competitions, or do e-mentoring and face-to-face mentoring of first-generation immigrant students from middle school to college level. They may also volunteer as 3M Science Wizards who visit classrooms for demos and hands-on experiments designed to get students interested in science and technology.

Right now Douglass is working to rebuild key strategies related to diversity and inclusion. A newly formed diversity steering team is made up of executive and senior VPs and sponsored by the CEO.

The company has a human resources advisory committee on diversity that includes Douglass and 3M's diversity and college recruiting leaders, as well as the chair of each 3M employee resource group (ERG) and diversity council. The company has nine ERGs and nine diversity councils as well as several business diversity steering teams.

ERGs include programs for leadership development, networking and community outreach, as well as projects to support business growth. The China Club, for example, works with members of the China business support team to put together programs to drive growth in the China region. Cultural understanding and how to do business in China are clearly popular topics: more than 1,000 3M employees attended or watched on line when the managing director of 3M China spoke recently on the subject.

Each ERG is currently engaged in a strategy mapping process to provide insights and solutions to real business issues. For instance, the Women's Leadership Network recently partnered with one 3M business to identify product characteristics that would appeal to a female consumer at various life stages. "This type of project helps members of the ERGs develop skills in leadership and project planning, and general business acumen. And they have a direct impact on business strategy, including product development and marketing," Douglass says.

New hires, including relocated employees, co-ops and interns, participate in mentoring programs and social events sponsored by the various ERGs. Several mentoring programs are available.

3M has many other programs that support diversity and inclusion, including some that focus on healthy living and work-life balance. The company has policies for job sharing, flexible work arrangements and remote work, Douglass says. "The decision depends on the business requirements and each organization takes a look at that."

The company offers domestic partner benefits and programs for emergency childcare, elderly parent care and other at-home issues. There's an onsite medical clinic at St. Paul HQ and many field locations have contract medical and employee assistance providers.

3M recognizes that engaging its diverse workforce is key to the continued growth of the company. "Being part of a company with employees in more than sixty-five countries gives diversity a unique spin at 3M. We have a lot of diversity in our markets, our technologies, and especially in our employees," Douglass concludes.



Headquarters: St. Paul, MN
Employees: 80,000
Revenues: $26.7 billion in 2010
Business: Science-based products in markets including consumer; healthcare; industrial and transportation; electronics; safety and security; display and graphics

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