Diversity and inclusion means celebrating Black leaders

February 23, 2021 | 3 minute read
Albert Qian
Content marketing manager for HCM
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February is Black History Month, an annual observance originating in the United States honoring key events and people in the history of the African Diaspora. With the tensions from racial unrest in the past year gaining greater media awareness, commemorating the month has gained additional importance, especially as HR leaders explore increasing diversity in the workplace while challenging existing biases. 

The current data on Black professionals in the workplace is sobering. While making up 10% of all college graduates, only 3.2% of senior managers are Black, and a mere four of all current Fortune 500 CEOs are Black. 

These are undoubtedly tough realities that any HR leader must navigate, but change is possible. For Boston Scientific, a leading medical devices manufacturer, recruiting Black professionals was a significant challenge. While historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) represent 4% of America’s accredited engineering schools, they graduate 30% of all Black undergraduate and graduate engineers. Boston Scientific CEO Mike Mahoney saw an opportunity to partner and invited the deans of 15 HBCUs to tour Boston Scientific’s campus, share recruiting best practices and offer curriculum recommendations that will provide early career success. The cross-pollination offered insight into recruiting strategies that created a more diverse workplace. 

But the story doesn’t end there. As Boston Scientific’s partnerships with HBCUs have grown, so have its relationships with broader professional engineering organizations. One such example is their work with non-profit Advancing Minority Interests in Engineering (AMIE) and their annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA), which honor the work of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. In their first year of participation at the BEYA Awards, Boston Scientific extended five on-the-spot offers, a number that increased to 40 at the 2020 conference—a testament to the pursuit of change. 

Diversity Closer to Home

At Oracle, we share a similar pursuit of change during Black History Month and throughout the year with HR’s partnership with the Alliance for Black Leaders for Excellence (ABLE) employee resource group (ERG)

During Black History Month, ABLE has reached out to the community with various events including professional development and workplace awareness. For example, Brian Bradford, Vice President of Oracle’s Utilities practice, recently shared his career path and lessons learned in a webinar. 

“This is a time where everyone gets a chance to take some time and celebrate what Black Americans have done through history,” says Faith Humbles, President of Oracle’s Alliance for Black Leaders for Excellence (ABLE) employee resource group. “It gives us and our allies time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished as far as racial equality goes and look to the future.”

It’s all part of an effort to ensure that the employee base is as diverse as the customer base Oracle serves while ensuring Black professionals are seen. ABLE is also involved in activities such as recruiting, where ERG members team up with HR to interview Black candidates for open roles across all business units. Among their successes that mirror the work of Boston Scientific is an increase in talent from HBCUs.

 “Over time, we’ve become a voice of the Black community here at Oracle,” says Humbles. “As we look at the satisfaction of Black employees across the company, we are the ones who can speak to the impact of the people working here as well as how we can attract talent and create a safe space.”  

Want to learn what companies are doing for their diversity and inclusion initiatives? Read our report, Addressing Diversity and Inclusion: Going Beyond the Benchmarkto learn more.

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Albert Qian

Content marketing manager for HCM

Albert Qian is the senior content marketing manager for the Oracle Cloud HCM Campaigns team and the editor-in-chief for this blog. He's passionate about telling the story of HR technology and how it can create better workforces.

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