By Clare Kinahan
Vice President, Human Resources
As Vice President of Human Resources for KBR, managing global diversity is what I do each day. Being from the U.K., I bring, perhaps, a unique perspective to my work, having been in Houston at KBR’s corporate headquarters for just over a year now. I view my role as a catalyst for embracing and enhancing KBR’s commitment to global diversity. At KBR, we know our success is as strong as our relationships with our employees and the customers we serve globally.
KBR conducts business in over 45 countries and employs just over 57,000 employees worldwide. Of course with numbers like that, it is not difficult to see that global diversity is at the very heart of our daily business. KBR is a global player in its industry. The best way to ensure we meet the needs of our clients is to understand the cultures in which they reside. This in turn demonstrates our ability to deliver quality services which meet the specific needs of our clientele.
It is not enough, in the 21st century, to say that a company recognizes and appreciates global diversity. I think your employees and your organization have to embody that commitment. In my role, I constantly work to provide innovation and strategic execution in not only our hiring practices, but offer that same counsel and guidance to our business unit leadership in dealing with their clients and customers.
“We use the ‘ATM’ model to dovetail the training: Ask people about their preferences and expectations, Tell people about your preferences and expectations and Measure intent.”
I think the challenge in achieving success with global diversity management lies within relationship maintenance. It can sometimes be very easy for us to focus on the day-to-day business in our organizations and bypass the key component of dealing with the audiences a company serves. A recognition and appreciation for the varying cultures and traditions should be at the forefront of our business discussions. I know I am mindful of this in my work and KBR’s commitment in this regard is steadfast.
From a global learning and development perspective, KBR’s Human Resources department has created an employee diversity training program. The primary objectives of the training include: recognizing the importance and benefit of valuing diversity in our organization, learning how to understand different cultures and recognizing their benefit to our workplace.
We use the ‘ATM’ Model to dovetail the training: Ask people about their preferences and expectations, Tell people about your preferences and expectations, and Measure intent. By looking at the components of culture and how they influence behavior, KBR is better positioned to maintain its success in a diverse marketplace.
Managing diversity is both challenging and rewarding and from where I sit, I know of its vital importance and that it contributes to KBR’s overall success. At KBR, we understand diversity as representing differences and similarities in awareness based on perspectives, knowledge skills and on-the-job behaviors of individuals and groups. We view valuing diversity at an employee level to be an individual’s ability to see positive aspects in characteristics, backgrounds and attitudes that are very different from their own.
One of KBR’s core values is an unwavering commitment to the communities in which we live and work. This is a commitment at the heart of my daily work, for we are only as successful as the knowledge and recognition we impart to celebrate the richness and diversity of the ever-changing world in which we live.