Equileap, a leading organization providing data and insights on gender equality in the corporate sector, named General Motors its No. 1 company in the world for gender equality in the workplace in 2018. We also earned No. 2 on Equileap’s ranking of commitment to gender equality on the S&P 100 Index. Among the reasons we stand atop the lists: we are one of just two global businesses that have pay equality in top, middle and bottom bands as well as no overall gender pay gap across the company. We also have policies to combat sexual violence at work, measures to improve supplier diversity and offer flexible hours and flexible work locations to our employees. GM was also named to the 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, which recognizes public companies’ commitment to transparency in gender reporting and advancing women’s equality.
We are currently the only company among the largest 20 in the U.S. that has both a female Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Dhivya Suryadevara was recently named GM’s CFO in 2018 and has been with the company since 2004.
Solving tomorrow’s mobility challenges will require wide-ranging perspectives and experiences. The Take 2 program helps us discover and include individuals from an untapped group: experienced professionals who have taken a career break and are ready to rejoin the workforce. This paid training and professional development program is for those who have taken a two-year or longer break from their careers. The career “gap” for those participating ranges from as little as two years to as many as 25 years.
The 12-week paid program serves as an “audition” that prepares experienced interns for a full-time career in one of several fields at GM through training, professional development and networking opportunities. The GM Talent Acquisition team has created a new, formal designation of employee type for people who join GM through this program. “Relaunchers” receive a customized employee onboarding experience, including a specialized online portal and orientation, a cross-functional cohort immersion day and mentors who support them throughout their internships.
Take 2 is currently available to U.S. applicants, and we plan to take the program global in 2019.
“At first it was intimidating to be out of the workforce for so long and return to new technology. The workplace has changed drastically, and I was surprised by the flexibility — I can now take my tools with me and work from wherever is most convenient for my work-life balance.”
Annette Diver, GM senior process improvement leader and Take 2 participant
No one knows innovation like GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra and Pam Fletcher, GM’s Vice President of Global Innovation and Research & Development Laboratories. The two women sat down to discuss GM’s innovation culture and shared advice that anyone at GM can apply to develop and scale up new ideas.
Know that innovation can come from anywhere.
GM people are innovating in all areas of our business, from finance to new processes to traditional systems in the vehicle. Our goal is to unlock new opportunities in areas where we’re not competing today.
Start small and grow.
It’s often best to begin by identifying a pain point, proposing a solution and then creating a minimum viable product. Next, test, learn and iterate with intended users. This approach allows GM to hone a solution before introducing it to paying customers.
Be willing to experiment.
Disruption doesn’t happen without experimentation, and the truth is that some experiments work—and others don’t. Nevertheless, every opportunity provides lessons that can be applied later down the road.
As GM works toward our zero/zero/zero vision, we require new skill sets and innovative thinking from unexpected places. Design thinking and curiosity are important tools that will help us accomplish this vision.
Look to our history.
GM’s legacy of defining markets and leading our industry has always been due to teamwork and creativity. As we look over the horizon for new ways to delight our customers and improve the world, it helps to look back on this proud past.
In late 2018, we announced several actions that GM is taking to reduce costs and improve the performance of our business, including restructuring our workforce. These decisions impacted people and communities, and we did not take that lightly. While select plants are unallocated for 2019, we have been able to provide job opportunities for all of the hourly employees in the U.S. and the plants impacted by the changes.
We have found positions within GM for all 2,800 impacted hourly workers, and to date 1,525 employees have volunteered for these openings. The jobs are at plants with vehicles that are in growth segments and will support new launches in 2019. One of these plants is Bedford Powertrain in Indiana, where we are partnering with Vincennes University to train United Auto Workers apprentices in advanced manufacturing skills such as metallurgy, blueprint reading and computer numerical control machining.
For those who choose not to relocate within GM, we are providing outplacement services, including job search assistance, career counseling, resume writing and interview skills training. In GM Canada, we recently announced an expansion of our stamping plant in Oshawa that will allow for an addition of 300 jobs. We are also supporting the impacted plant employees through retraining programs with local colleges and working with their dealers and more than 20 local employers who have expressed interest in hiring these experienced employees. We have worked with the Canadian government to find jobs for all affected employees and continue to work with our unions and affected employees to find opportunities that work best for each individual.
Our culture is strengthened by diversity and inclusion. From recruiting and retaining diverse talent to engaging in employee resource groups (ERGs), we are enabling better employee and customer connections. In 2018, we took part in numerous activities to celebrate what individuals from all backgrounds bring to our team:
GM’s people will always be our greatest strength. Every job is important, whether forming sheet metal for our trucks, manufacturing engine blocks, assembling a next-generation electric vehicle, or picking parts for aftermarket sales. The training and development we invest in our people mean that they are not easily replaced. Whenever possible, our goal is to keep highly skilled people at GM, setting both them and our company up for the long term.
One way we’re doing this is by adhering to a responsible employer philosophy, which includes commitments to create job opportunities, pay workers fairly, ensure safety and promote wellness. For example, GM pays a living wage and offers quality health care coverage to all our employees, 401k plans with matches and paid time off to cover vacations, sick leave, parental leave and military leave. We also protect workers from harmful and hazardous conditions by adhering to strict health and safety standards.
Beyond these fundamentals, we provide opportunities for career advancement, skills development and educational attainment through structured training programs and programs to reimburse college expenses. This approach is particularly important during times of workforce transition. As our products change and our operations evolve, we do all we can to support employees. When workers are displaced because of a plant production adjustment, we provide opportunities at other GM facilities. If they choose to move, relocation packages are available to help them with their expenses, as well as allow them to retain their seniority and benefits. The same is true regarding workers at GM plants that will be unallocated in the near future. We have positions for all U.S. hourly employees impacted by this decision. In Canada, we worked with local organizations to identify thousands of open positions at other manufacturing businesses and connected affected employees with these opportunities. We offered relocation services to employees who accepted other jobs within GM, and outplacement services, like resume writing and interview skills training, to those who chose to seek jobs elsewhere.
People are taking notice of GM’s efforts to be a responsible employer. We were recently named—for the second year in a row—to the JUST 100, a list developed by JUST Capital that ranks companies on the issues that Americans care about. The criteria for inclusion on the JUST 100 come directly from a survey of more than 80,000 Americans, and the number-one priority for survey participants is that they want to see is fair treatment of workers from the nation’s biggest businesses. Our inclusion on the list, and the fact that GM’s ranking increased 56 positions to number 14 between 2017 and 2018, is a useful barometer to demonstrate that when it comes to people, GM is doing things right.
GM and our brands are longtime supporters of our armed forces, with more than 6,200 veterans and 92 active servicemembers currently working for the company. We show our appreciation for their service in a number of ways, including the best military discount program of its kind for active duty, reserve and retired members of the military who purchase GM vehicles.
We also donate to causes that support and honor veterans, such as the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation and the National Native American Veterans Memorial, which will be unveiled in 2020 in Washington, D.C. For Veterans Day 2018, employees at facilities across the country showed their support by writing letters to overseas servicemembers, hosting special meals for veteran employees and more. In recognition of our efforts, GM received two awards for the fifth year in a row: Military Times’ Best for Vets designation and G.I. Jobs’ Military Friendly® for veterans and their spouses. GM is the first and only automotive OEM to be recognized in these categories.
GM’s commitment to the LGBTQ community is at the core of our company’s policies. We have offered same-sex domestic partner benefits for more than a decade and extended same-sex spousal benefits to married LGBTQ couples in 2012. We also have a strong antidiscrimination policy that protects LGBTQ employees at GM. Beyond these measures designed to increase inclusion for our own employees, we recognize the need for a federal standard that guarantees these rights for LGBTQ individuals everywhere. That’s why GM has signed the Business Coalition for the Equality Act—becoming the first and only automaker to do so.
The Equality Act would provide the same basic protections to LGBTQ people as are provided to other protected groups under federal law, not only in the workplace but also in housing, credit and jury service. This bipartisan bill was introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in 2019, and upon introduction had the most congressional support of any piece of pro-LGBTQ legislation in history. GM is proud to join nearly 200 other companies in supporting this important bill.
Women account for 36 percent of GM’s employees in China, our company’s largest market. They include leaders of several key functions, from Engineering to Strategy to Human Resources, and are making an impact across the business at GM and our joint ventures. GM has made the hiring and professional and personal development of women a long-term priority.
With the full support of the company’s leadership, GM WOMEN CHINA — an organization made up of female employees to promote diversity — has championed several programs. They include Women in Action, which gives employees an opportunity to discuss topics of relevance to women and build connections across departments; silent auctions and charity sales to raise funds for the support of disadvantaged high school and university students in China; and special auto show tours to help our employees become more knowledgeable ambassadors for our products.
GM executives have been involved in notable public activities such as WeForShe hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce and the Ladies Who Tech Convention in Shanghai. They have addressed the importance of female involvement in STEM, while sharing the role of women in many of GM’s achievements across China.
In recognition of our company’s local and global efforts to support female inclusion and advancement, GM received the Women Leadership Innovation Award at the Women·Reform·Leadership Forum hosted by Shanghai Daily. It shows how GM is successfully taking the lead among corporations in supporting diversity in China.