In July President Trump brought the issue of diversity and inclusion to the forefront of American debate with his statement that transgender personnel would no longer be allowed to serve in the United States military. Whether or not that statement becomes policy remains to be seen and regardless of where you stand on the issue, the statement gives us reason to spend some time carefully contemplating not just our personal views on diversity and inclusion but our corporate perspective as well. For the record, we welcome transgender employees at CSRA, especially veterans.
As the CEO of CSRA Inc., a company comprising more than 18,000 employees, the immense diversity of our people—in origin, thought, perspective, and experience—is something I value tremendously. Innovation is our business. It’s what fuels the imagination and creativity behind our Think Next. Now. philosophy and I can think of no better way to spur innovation than to gather a diverse set of colleagues around a challenge and invite healthy debate.
We are a new company. November 2017 will mark CSRA’s second birthday. As a new organization, we’ve spent countless hours developing a strong business strategy designed to elevate us to the top of our market. We’ve invested equal time and energy into developing a culture that values people and fosters an environment in which everyone is comfortable bringing their unique self to work. Investing in such a culture is essential. Although a strong business strategy is important; a people-focused culture trumps business strategy every time.
Creating an inclusive environment is not easy or automatic. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It requires thoughtful intention. Our senior leadership worked together with our Culture and Engagement team for months to develop our diversity & inclusion viewpoint through which we seek to provide a lens to evaluate decisions and actions to ensure all employees have equal opportunity to advance and thrive.
Today the foundation for CSRA’s Diversity & Inclusion programs lies in our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These employee-led groups are dedicated to the diverse populations throughout our organization. We currently have eight ERGs: Abilities First, Black Employee Network, Faith & H.O.P.E., Future Leaders, Hispanic Network, P.R.I.D.E., Veterans Salute, and Women in Leadership and we empower them to drive our efforts in this space and partner with us as we forge our path forward.
In just a short time we’ve seen great growth and a slew of networking events, panel discussions around empowerment and career pathing, a desire for mentorship programs, and an overall passion to instill change. I’m struck by the personal time and effort our ERGs – specifically their leaders – put into moving their groups forward to have a positive impact on our business and the community. I’m inspired by their energy and efforts and pledge to do my best to support and engage them along this road.
The truth is our culture will evolve over time and success will require ongoing commitment, input, and participation from our leadership and our employees. We are merely at the start of our journey. We also know that we have much to learn and can benefit greatly from the lessons and examples set by our peers. I’m proud to be part of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion and I welcome the opportunity to gain valuable insights from those further down the road.
We also know that we will all see the rewards of our efforts. The comfort in knowing you are accepted by your colleagues is a breeding ground for new ideas. As I imagine CSRA’s future, there’s so much that excites me and establishing diversity and inclusion as a key tenet of our culture at the top of that list.
In this series, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion™ signatory CEOs share their dedication to acting for workplace diversity and inclusion to make impactful changes that benefit both business and society. Follow along with #CEOAction and learn more at CEOAction.com.