Key Partnerships Advance Diversity and Inclusion Goals
July 5, 2023
While Wabtec’s journey to become a more diverse and inclusive company is still in its early days, the company’s strategy to make this journey productive and empowering has already taken flight. That’s because diversity and inclusion (D&I) is more than a Human Resources initiative at Wabtec, it’s a central underpinning of the company’s business and a key tenet of its new Vision, Mission, and Values.
“Embrace Diversity” is one of Wabtec’s four Values: “We celebrate a variety of experiences, expertise, and backgrounds, and aspire to create a place where we all belong.” Wabtec’s 2022 Sustainability Report, specifically its “Empowering People and Communities” pillar, further details how fundamental D&I is to the company’s present and future success:
We’re increasingly leveraging data, introducing new standards, and deploying training and technology to optimize inclusive hiring processes that drive greater diversity; leveraging diversity-focused recruitment platforms; and expanding our on-campus recruiting programs as additional means to diversify our employee base.” (p. 30, Wabtec 2022 Sustainability Report)
When it comes to D&I, Wabtec wants to make two things clear. First, D&I isn’t a “nice to have” – it’s a must. The company has made a public pledge to its Board of Directors, shareholders, and all stakeholders that Wabtec will meet specific D&I goals by 2030. In turn, the company’s stakeholders will hold the company accountable to meet these goals. Specifically, Wabtec is looking to increase employee representation among people of color in the U.S., and of women globally.
Second, D&I is a catalyst for improved business performance. “Companies that don’t promote and value D&I inflict a cost on themselves and their employees,” said Alina Butler, Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Wabtec. “When employees don’t feel safe bringing their true and authentic selves to work, they expend a lot of energy protecting their identity from their leaders and colleagues.
“That energy can be put to much better use, and that’s exactly what we are doing at Wabtec. We are all about welcoming and encouraging employees to be themselves, so they can focus their energy on being creative, innovative, and collaborative to help Wabtec move the needle as a company and on the industry as a whole.”
The Talent-Acquisition Advantage
So how does the company attract prospective employees from historically under-represented demographics and assure them Wabtec is a place where they can grow and be their best, true selves?
Welcome to the domain of Talent Acquisition.
“A key pillar of our D&I strategy at Wabtec is ‘inclusive hiring,’ and achieving that depends heavily on diversity recruiting,” said Butler. “Our Talent Acquisition Team knows from experience that in order to increase representation for women and people of color in our business, we have to be intentional, both about where we go to recruit talent and how we show up when we do.”
One way to ensure the company is looking in the right places – and that people in those “right places” see Wabtec as an attractive employer – is through diversity partners. These partners provide their members access to employers such as Wabtec (and vice versa) through job postings and networking events.
And while Wabtec has placed an emphasis on attracting women and people of color, its recruiting mission with diversity partners extends beyond gender and ethnicity to include military veterans, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, and more.
A Growing Diversity Partnership Ecosystem
So, who are Wabtec’s partners in diversity recruitment? They currently include 100 Black Men of America and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (for attracting Black job candidates); the Society of Asian Scientists & Engineers (for reaching Asian heritage professionals); the Society of Women Engineers (for engaging with women engineers); Disability:IN (for reaching people with disabilities); and Out & Equal and Open For Business (for tapping into the LGBTQ+ community).
And the strategy is working. So much so that Wabtec has added four new diversity partners in 2023:
- Fairygodboss: The largest online career community for women seeking jobs
- Professional Diversity Network: America’s number one diversity recruiting platform
- Recruit Military: A service connecting employers with military job seekers
- Hiring Our Heroes: An organization connecting the military community with American businesses
“We need to cast a wide net to ensure we are talking to as diverse a slate of job candidates as possible. We have found the most efficient and effective way to do this is through our diversity partnerships,” said Heather Schott, Talent Acquisition Leader – Americas, at Wabtec. “Simply put, our partners have the reach and reputation to help us engage with the diverse talent pool we desire.”
Diversity partnerships help Wabtec in two key ways. Partners such as Fairygodboss and Professional Diversity Network pull all the company’s available jobs and post them on their sites, putting Wabtec job openings in front of a) more people and b) people in the diversity demographics the company is targeting. Other partners, such as the Society of Women Engineers and Recruit Military enable Wabtec to interact with job candidates at key in-person and virtual events.
Added Schott, “As of May 2023, we have already hired more women than we did in all of 2022. I attribute that stat to the great work of our Wabtec recruiting teams, but I know our diversity partnerships are a part of the equation as well.”
Schott is on to something. Yes, these partnerships are delivering new and better leads, but it is the One Wabtec approach that is converting them.
Diversity and Inclusion in Everything We Do
“We are getting better at building D&I into everything we do,” concluded Butler. “When we are intentional about D&I and reimagine our processes from this perspective, we improve both the process and the outcome.”
For example, intentional D&I thinking has reshaped every aspect of hiring. Not only is Wabtec targeting diverse hires, but it is ensuring a diverse mix of leaders and employees are involved in the interview process. In addition, the company is leveraging its Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) throughout the talent acquisition process, whether in the interview process or “out in the field” as it meets with prospective candidates at various events.
The takeaway? When the company works together as One Wabtec, job candidates don’t just hear Wabtec say, “we value diversity” – they see Wabtec live it, through authentic interactions with people like them at a place they could see themselves belonging.