Cummins, Inc. is in the business of “Innovating power”; but they’re also in the business of supporting people, with a “history of standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity.” The commitment has earned the company accolades, including recent recognition as one of Forbes Best Companies for Diversity. “Our goal,” says Carolyn Butler-Lee, Cummins, Inc. VP of Diversity and Inclusion, “is to make room for everyone to succeed.” We at Bright Horizons share the Cummins Inc. commitment. And in honor of Pride Month, we talked to Carolyn about the genesis of the company’s DEI initiatives, how they support their LGBTQ+ community, and how that support has to be embedded in daily decision-making.
Bright Horizons: Talk to us about your company’s overall approach to DEI.
Carolyn Butler-Lee: At Cummins, our goal is to attract, retain, and fully leverage a diverse workforce to facilitate our ability to innovate and win in the global marketplace. To achieve this vision, we devised and adapted a Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy. And with our leaders at the helm, the strategy prioritizes seven focus areas to help drive systemic change in the company’s culture and operations and, overall, enable a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. And while our leaders are accountable for driving our DE&I strategy, everyone at Cummins is responsible for creating an inclusive environment, and everyone belongs on our journey.
Bright Horizons: Can you talk about those seven focus areas?
CBL: Our seven focus areas:
Leadership accountability: Leaders demonstrate individual and collective leadership accountability for enabling a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture.
Recruitment, retention, development, and advancement: Cummins’ talent development processes deliver equitable and accessible recruitment, retention, advancement, and a pervasive feeling of inclusion.
Benefits, work arrangements, and compensation: Benefits, work arrangements, and compensation systems are equitable and optimize employee well-being, potential, and performance.
Learning and education: DE&I skills and competence are enabled in company leaders and employees through education and development.
Community, government, and social responsibility: Cummins will take a leading role within local communities and society at large to dismantle systemic inequities and advance justice for all.
Assessment, measurement, and research: Comprehensive assessment, measurement, and research guides DE&I actions, and performance is shared with all stakeholders.
Communications: DE&I communications are a powerful and pervasive force in achieving a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous workplace and world.
Bright Horizons: Can you please share specific initiatives that have been focused on the LGBTQ+ community?
CBL: I am proud of the LGBTQ+ work we are doing, especially in learning and education. In India, we have established an LGBTQ+ Inclusion Training to build inclusive attitudes and behaviors of leaders toward the LGBTQ+ community. And in North America, we’ve run an LGBTQ+ Safe Leader Training program for over a decade available to our employees and shared with external organizations through professional networks and business partnerships. The training includes a nuanced overview of how to effectively address topics related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other identities that span the diversity dimensions of sexual orientation and gender identity, which can manifest conscious or unconscious bias in the workplace. I am most proud to share that this skill-building program was created and delivered by the Cummins Pride Employee Resource Group.
Bright Horizons: How has your support for this community evolved?
CBL: Cummins’ support of our LGBTQ+ community has evolved significantly over the past 20 years. Prior to 1998, for example, there was no mention of LGBTQ+ in our company policies. Since then, we have added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and/or expression” to our Treatment of Each Other at Work policy, we’ve included domestic partner and transgender benefits, and formed over a dozen Pride employee resource groups spanning across North America, Asia Pacific, India, Europe, and Latin America. We’ve also gotten involved in Federal legislation and have launched a voluntary LGBTQ+ Self-identification initiative. These advances are samples of our growth and unwavering commitment to ensure every person can be their full self at work.
Carolyn says she’s proud her company’s LGBTQ+ work, but she knows there’s more work to be done. “Our company is at its best,” she says, “when we serve within a society where everyone is included and treated with respect. So the work shall continue.” Our thanks to Carolyn for speaking with us and sharing more about Cummins’ commitment to inclusion.
Bright Horizons partners with Cummins, Inc. and other companies to support people across industries. Learn about how Bright Horizons stands with — and for — the LGBTQ+ community through our culture and the work we do every day.