Sandia National Laboratories

Company: Sandia National Laboratories
Diversity Team Name: Inclusion, Diversity, Equal Employment & Affirmative Action (IDEA) Team
Diversity Team Leader(s): Esther Hernandez, Chief Diversity Officer

What Makes this Diversity Team Stand Out

The eight-member Inclusion, Diversity, EEO & AA (IDEA) Team is our voice to bridge inclusion and diversity (I&D) with Sandia’s mission and business strategy. The IDEA Team is responsible for bringing together a workplace with the diverse thinking, perspectives, and ideas of more than 14,000 employees in the business, science, and engineering professions. As anyone can attest, it is no easy task! The IDEA Team works tirelessly to make I&D an essential part of who we are and go beyond the minimal requirements of our prime contract obligations. In their work, the IDEA Team collaborated with key leaders across the Laboratories to co-create a ten-year strategic plan to advance I&D. The purpose of the strategy is to build an inclusive and diverse culture that attracts, retains, and develops a thriving workforce that strengthens our mission impact through innovative solutions.

In this third year of the I&D Strategy, the IDEA Team completed several innovative initiatives that enabled Sandia to be recognized as an I&D leader. six I&D competencies that help leaders and employees understand what inclusion looks like by The Team developed identifying behaviors associated with promoting an inclusive mindset and providing a road map for applying inclusion and diversity at work. The IDEA Team created animated videos, guides, and tutorials to deliver the I&D competencies across the enterprise, and Sandia’s executive leadership made I&D competencies part of their performance evaluation and cascaded their I&D goals to their respective divisions, modeling the desired behaviors from the top. Such action enables a broader, deeper, inclusive discussion across the Laboratories.

Other innovative initiatives include embedding I&D principles into our HR processes. When the IDEA Team develops courses for our employees, they utilize research-based learning solutions to stay abreast of best practices in the industry. Our courses include Mitigating Unconscious Bias in our career progression processes, the Neuroscience of Inclusion, Courageous Leadership, and Preventing Workplace Bullying, to name a few.

The IDEA Team also works closely with our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Together, they offer multiple cultural-awareness learning opportunities, including national heritage months, systemic racism, career development barriers experienced by minorities, removing the stigma of nursing moms in the workplace and parental leave, and gender transition in the workplace. Additionally, the team has instituted diverse interview panel requirements for all manager positions and diverse peer review panels for our Special Appointments Process.

Finally, the IDEA Team’s dedication has enabled Sandia to receive the following I&D diversity awards:

  • 2018 Gold Award (Family Friendly in New Mexico)
  • 2019 Forbes Best Employer for Diversity
  • Top Supporter for HBCU programs
  • Top 20 Government Employers (STEM Workforce Diversity)
  • Top 50 STEM Workplaces (AISES Organization)
  • Organization of the Year (SASE Organization)
  • Best Company Where CEOs Support Gender Diversity (Fairygodboss)

Inclusion is a conscious choice, and it is Sandia’s choice.