By Kymberlee Dwinell

Diversity & Inclusion, EEO/Compliance, Environmental, Health and Safety, and Corporate Citizenship
Northrop Grumman Information Systems

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is having the opportunity to interact with so many different kinds of people every day. I love being part of an organization that supports and nurtures 75,000 men and women whose backgrounds, characteristics and perspectives are as diverse as the communities in which we reside. Part of this commitment is understanding that diversity is not limited to any single criteria, but rather encompasses differences in culture, background, experience, thoughts, ideas and work. We also acknowledge that a diverse workforce must join together through inclusion and engagement in order to generate better ideas and better outcomes. The use of social networking tools have helped to reaffirm these benefits while creating a culture of sustainable performance.

An example of how employees benefit from the company’s diversity are numerous Employee Resource Groups (ERGs.) Among other opportunities involving networking and community outreach, these groups also participate in professional development workshops they create themselves. Taking advantage of their members’ expertise, employees teach classes on a variety of subjects and fields such as critical thinking, the role of a program manager, and understanding personal strengths. Not only does this benefit the employees who gain knowledge, it also provides the teacher with important presentation experience.

“Diverse thinking increases creativity and innovation, but only when combined with inclusion does it foster the passion and collaboration required for achieving top performance.”

These diversity initiatives, however, only reach their potential value if they are conducive to an inclusive work environment and help engage employees. Diverse thinking increases creativity and innovation, but only when combined with inclusion does it foster the passion and collaboration required for achieving top performance.

Our challenge has been to develop an environment of inclusion in a geographically disperse organization spread across all 50 states and even overseas. It is vital that all of our employees are part of a culture of inclusion where all individuals feel respected, are treated fairly, and are provided the opportunity to excel regardless of location.

Highlighting the benefits of diversity, it was through our ERGs that a solution arose in the form of social networking. We developed a means for wide-spread broadcast of the professional development workshops by leveraging a series of collaboration devices including video conferencing software. These social networking tools allow employees from across the country to benefit from the expertise of the teaching employee. Employees are able to watch the presentation and ask questions, just as if they were sitting in the same room.

By embracing new technologies and encouraging creative solutions, we have met the imperatives of diversity, inclusion and engagement by blending them seamlessly together. The result has been stronger team commitment and cooperation, allowing us to continue designing and building next generation products and services. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion are not extraneous attributes, they are fundamental characteristics that provide the competitive advantage necessary to achieve performance excellence.

This article has been sponsored by:
Communicating Across Cultures

Kymberlee Dwinell is director, Diversity & Inclusion, EEO/ Compliance, Environmental, Health and Safety, and Corporate Citizenship, a center of Excellence in Northrop Grumman’s Information Systems sector, a premier provider of advanced IT solutions, engineering and business services for government and commercial clients. In this capacity, as a Human Resources expert, Ms. Dwinell is responsible for designing and delivering solutions and partnering with human resources business leaders to deliver these solutions to employees.