True Ability and Women in Action
By the Editorial staff
At Dell Technologies, contributing positively to human progress is one of our most important goals, and we are strongly committed to supporting innovative, sustainable initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion. The passion and competence of the members of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) – groups of employees who volunteer to address issues that are of concern and have a collective impact – are the key to making this great goal a reality over the next decade.
We talked about this with Paola Ferri and Caterina Calvi. Paola leads the Women In Action and Dell Women's Entrepreneurs Network programmes at Dell Technologies Italia for the professional development of women, and Caterina leads the True Ability programme, focused on supporting people with different abilities. Both do so out of the conviction that it is possible to do business and generate value for everyone, without exception.
“For Dell Technologies – one of the world's leading producers of technological solutions for the transformation and future of our digital society – the defence of individual identity and culture, and the search for collective well-being are essential values.
To innovate and make changes in this environment, we need talent – diverse talent – and we need to be able to integrate it into our company. We believe that people can only be truly innovative if they feel free to express themselves. It's important that everyone feels recognised and valued for who they are, and to make this happen at Women in Action we employ a number of strategies to support gender balance and remove any barriers, even unconscious ones. As soon as a new employee starts working with us, we begin supporting their professional development with our year-long Releasing Female Potential programme, which includes a series of workshops, coaching and job shadowing sessions to help women develop soft skills and competences that are specifically aimed at women to support their career progression. Women in Action aims to support the wider community outside of the company, which is done through the DWEN – Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network. The Italian chapter was launched this year with the aim of inspiring, connecting and supporting the transformation of businesses led by female entrepreneurs and professionals. We support the journey by providing insights into digital innovation, leadership and marketing by including women entrepreneurs in an international context and by attracting funding. Through the Digital Future programme – launched in Italy three years ago – Dell Technologies seeks to interest more young talent in studying STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), inspiring more young people to pursue learning and career paths in programming and other technologies. We also do a lot of work internally. When we talk about unconscious bias and how we approach talent, including in the hiring process, we know that there can be unconscious internal barriers because of stereotypes related to all kinds of diversity. That's why we created the Catalyst MARC training programme – Many Advocating Real Change – which has really taken the conversation about diversity to the next level, beyond the principles we apply and the language we use. Today there is a greater awareness of how this can affect every process within the company and we can say that MARC has really had a big impact on every single employee.
I like to emphasise that ERGs at Dell Technologies are voluntary organisations: those who participate contribute their time and skills because they recognise the importance of the principles and want to be actively engaged in achieving the Moonshot goals we set ourselves in our Progress Made Real 2030 Social Impact Report. The programme is based on the belief that technology and data, combined with the will and passion of individuals, are and will always be a positive force for human progress, and reaffirms Dell Technologies' long-term commitment to its employees, society and the environment. The key objectives of the programme include recruiting women, helping them to grow, and retaining this talent so that women make up 50% of the workforce and 40% of global leadership.”
Caterina, can you tell us more about the ERG you lead, True Ability?
“Of course – and I agree with Paola that it is important to emphasise that it is the employees who drive these programmes. The global ERG programme is led by executives, of course, but at the local level it is the individual employees, regardless of their role, who dedicate time and contribute to its development. The True Ability programme was started at Dell Technologies in 2010. Globally there are 46 chapters and we have over 6000 members worldwide. Our goal is first and foremost to empower people with disabilities, but also to raise awareness of this issue within the company; we believe that diversity is not a limitation but a resource, so we focus on disability not only in the workplace but also in the wider community. We aim to create responses and awareness throughout the ecosystem, both internally and externally, and we do this through various activities and initiatives that we participate in and organise. We participate, for example, in fundraising and promoting voluntary activities and team events to create commitment and awareness among all employees. The underlying idea is to reduce limitations and barriers in the workplace as much as possible, both in physical and psychological terms, and to break down prejudices.
We support the community of people with different abilities internally and externally. Right now in Italy, Dell Technologies has launched a programme to hire neurodiverse talent, a project that has already been tested globally. One of the voluntary initiatives we promote outside the company involves the Centro Diurno Disabili Noale in Milan, for young people with intellectual and physical disabilities. We support activities such as art therapy, clown therapy and dance therapy, which are great fun to include in our working day. Through fundraising we are committed to supporting a number of charitable foundations. We are also working on several programmes that do not directly relate to the recruitment process, but which involve providing employees with disabilities with any assistive technology they might need to do their jobs better, not just hardware and software but targeted methodologies, strategies and tools.