In January 2015, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich unveiled an ambitious diversity and inclusion initiative, announcing that the company was allocating $300 million toward a plan to achieve “full representation”—meaning that Intel’s US workforce should be at least as diverse as that of the United States as a whole—by 2020. On Tuesday, the tech giant released its mid-year diversity report for 2017, showing where that effort stands halfway to its deadline. Like its past few reports, this one shows Intel making progress, albeit slowly and unevenly, toward its goals. While the raw percentages appear to show little progress—Women’s representation in all roles increased 0.3 percent over last year, but representation among underrepresented minorities remained fairly static—Krzanich says the company is now on track to meet its goal of “full representation” by 2018 instead of 2020, Lydia Dishman reports at Fast Company:
It’s important to note that full representation means that Intel’s target is “market availability,” which measures how many skilled people exist in the external U.S. labor market (drawn from multiple sources, including university graduation data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau) as well as Intel’s own internal market. That means the company is tracking its efforts in hiring, retention, and progression for every job category–both technical and nontechnical–for women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans.
As such, there have been some positive gains since December of 2014 when the gap to full representation was 2,300 employees. Today among about 55,000 employees in the U.S., that gap is down to 801 people, an improvement of 65%.
One enduring challenge for Intel is in retaining the more diverse talent it brings in each year—recruiting a more diverse pool of new talent each year does not have a lasting effect if underrepresented employees leave at higher rates. The company is cognizant of that challenge, however, and is attempting to address it through initiatives like WarmLine, a web-based tool it introduced last year that allows employees to confidentially report issues making them consider leaving the company and try to address them before jumping ship.
The WarmLine is having an impact on diversity and retention overall, Barbara Whye, Intel’s vice president of human resources and chief diversity officer, tells Fortune’s Grace Donnelly:
The program tracked over 6,000 cases so far with about a 90% success rate and identified two main reasons employees begin to look for other options: manager capabilities and career progression. The first is already being addressed. When complaints about management issues came up, Intel began training and retraining about 13,000 managers to be more inclusive, Whye said. It’s harder to solve for employees struggling to grow and move up in their careers, but Whye said they’re focused on finding solutions.
“What you focus on really matters and what you measure really matters,” Whye said. “I know people speak to this work as being hard or difficult, but the reality of it is that it’s also focus and execution.” One thing that’s helped: Sharing data among stakeholders and tying diversity and inclusion goals to manager compensation.