Diversity and inclusiveness
The key to our success
Diversity and inclusiveness help us to deliver power and productivity.
We work on some of the biggest challenges facing business and society today, right around the globe. To succeed, we need to understand the people we serve and the cultures they live in. That means we need talented people from all over the world.
At ABB, we welcome different ways of thinking and acting, different qualities and skills, different experiences and backgrounds. We value them because we are dedicated to being inclusive, recognizing and respecting all aspects of what makes someone unique.
How we put our strategy into practice:
Diversity and inclusiveness initiatives around the world
Young Emiratis have traditionally focused on public sector careers. As we continue to grow in UAE, we have taken steps to encourage more of them to join us.
We believe it is our social responsibility to give opportunities to local people in the countries we work in. It is the right thing to do for business too: Professionals who have grown up in that culture have a better understanding of local markets and how to build relationships with customers and suppliers.
By publicizing our training and the flexible, long-term career opportunities available, we have been able to engage more and more young Emiratis. One of the keys to our success has been the specialized training we offer on our latest technologies and equipment in our Abu Dhabi Learning Zone. Employees and customers can pursue hands-on and virtual learning.
Parallel to our internal actions, in 2013 there was a big government initiative aimed at getting more young people into the private sector, directed by the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister. It was the perfect time to strengthen our efforts, and we have been more successful as a result.
As part of our efforts to support women at ABB and encourage more women to become engineers, we have partnered with The Women’s Forum since 2012.
The Women’s Forum brings together leaders from business and government all over the world to share new perspectives on the key commercial, political and social questions of today and tomorrow.
The goal is to create a powerful network to strengthen the influence of women internationally and to draw up innovative and concrete action plans to encourage women’s contribution to society.
The forum offers talks from some of the most innovative and talented thinkers and doers in business, media, civil society and academia, along with debates, opportunities for networking and practical learning sessions.
Events in 2013 were held in Brazil, France and Myanmar, involving more than 2,200 participants from 71 countries, with 600 companies represented and 90 companies sponsoring.
ABB's participation raises our profile among female leaders and enables us to contribute to and learn from best practices in other leading businesses around the world.
In addition, all of our participants at the events committed to implementing at least one action in their area. An example of such action is the Women's Mentoring Program in the United States, which helps us support the women in our organization more effectively.
“For me, the forum was rewarding and truly relevant to the day-to-day diversity issues I deal with,” said an attendee from ABB. “It has helped me see beyond the obvious. And I have established a large number of new contacts … amazing!”
Female leaders have much to offer ABB. Our new mentoring program in North America is helping them to realize their full potential.
In 2013, we launched the Women's Mentoring Program in the United States to support female employees in becoming more effective leaders by accelerating their learning and development.
Participants begin their year-long mentoring journey with a two-day kick-off workshop where they meet their mentors – female and male leaders at ABB with strong track records. Senior female leaders at ABB also share personal stories from their journeys to inspire the younger generation.
After the workshop, mentees receive ongoing one-on-one support consisting of insight and guidance from their mentors. Mentees also stay connected to one another throughout the year to share their experiences, strengthening peer learning and trust.
“We launched the pilot Women’s Mentoring Program with the intention of providing a platform for women to build strong networks. It is our intent to expand this pilot program across the North American region,” said Charlene Binder, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, North America. “It is exciting to springboard our diversity and inclusiveness efforts into creating opportunities that develop our employees and inspire them to achieve their full potential.”
Recent initiatives are beginning to transform the workforce of ABB in India in terms of age, disability and gender.
We have recently begun to strengthen our efforts to attract more women. The focus in 2014 is to include graduates with disabilities in our annual management trainee program, which now consists of about 100 trainees a year.
Initiatives include a pilot “Campus Connect” program, which encourages employees to reach out to students at their former universities across the country and help them prepare for industry roles. An equally important aim is to strengthen engagement among our “Gen Y” employees.
At the same time, we are successfully increasing the diversity of our talent pipeline, ensuring we have at least one woman interviewed for open positions. Infrastructure support such as childcare facilities and extended maternity and paternity leave have also been introduced.
In addition, we have hired women on some of the shop floor lines. This has resulted in an improvement in productivity on some lines and a decrease in disciplinary issues.
A new initiative in Sweden is encouraging more female engineering graduates to consider ABB.
In 2011, a new initiative was launched to attract female engineers from Swedish universities and to continue our efforts to create a more diverse workforce.
Fifteen graduates were selected from more than 100 applications to take part in the program. Over the course of five visits to ABB, the participants gained insights into careers in technology, sales and sustainability as well as key topics such as leadership and personal development.
So far, we have made two hires from the program, and more than 50 percent of all participants have had a summer internship or completed their master’s thesis with ABB.
This initiative now runs annually as part of the ABB Sustainable Talent Program, a long-term initiative designed to attract people from all backgrounds to careers focusing on creating a better world.
We look forward to building a stronger network for female talent interested in ABB, helping women find ways to integrate their personal and professional ambitions.
When our people move to a different country to work, it can be difficult for their partners to find their feet. ABB in Switzerland is looking for ways to help them and to make our organization even more diverse.
Where is the best local school? How do I find a job? Is there a local orchestra I can join? When you move to a foreign country with your partner, lots of questions come to mind and often there is no one to answer them.
In some cases, employees are less likely to take a foreign assignment if their partners cannot find the information they need to enjoy expat life. Therefore, the easier we can make it for them, the more we can support diversity across the organization globally.
People joining ABB in Switzerland from abroad are invited to regular networking events with their partners to help them find their feet and make contacts. The focus is mainly on topics such as living and working in Switzerland, in order to support the newcomers integration into the local society. Meeting people who are living the same experience and share their challenges is an important first step for building up new networks.
"My daughter and I attended the very first Meet & Greet, and we met such great people that I decided to volunteer for the planning committee,” said Michelle Jones, an expatriate in Switzerland. “Connecting with people from all over the world who have made Switzerland their home, and having integration support at the same time, has greatly enhanced our experience."
Men and women from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia have fewer training and employment opportunities. ABB Australia is helping to close the gap.
This program launched in May 2013 focuses on three key areas of opportunities, relationships and respect.
More jobs, more trade
By signing the Statement of Commitment with Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), we are committed to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation at all levels of our organization and to support future generations through educational programs. We are also building opportunities through procurement, working with indigenous business owners through our sub-contractors.
Culture and education
We regularly take part in activities such as the annual celebration of the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, known as NAIDOC week. And, in summer 2014, we sponsored the Nyoongar Sports Association (NSA) who ran school holiday activities in 14 towns across Western Australia. Nearly 300 children took part in educational games and activities which aim to promote health and wellbeing through. "Some of the kids have been attending for years"; said Mark Griffin, NSA Program Manager. "It is fantastic to see them develop".