Celebrating Allyship to Continually Evolve our Culture of Diversity and Inclusion

by  Simon Keeton  - 06-25-2021 

With June being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Pride Month, there is a lot of opportunities to talk about diversity and inclusion. What perfect timing to address the meaning of allyship as part of the culture at ON Semiconductor. For me, allyship is about intent. Intent to collaborate, to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We do this by driving improvements, supporting and advocating for underrepresented groups. Essentially, it is about highlighting issues and showing up for others, especially when we are not a member of these groups.

Allyship does not happen by chance. It requires a very deliberate approach that starts with paying attention and listening, but beyond that is a commitment to say, “I'm not only responsible for myself, but also the organization.” As a company, we need to ask ourselves how we get everyone to buy into this mindset so it becomes ingrained into the culture. And as a leader, it is my responsibility to be a role model and guide employees to make good decisions for themselves and for the company.

Why are inclusion and allyship so important? The very simple answer is that they help increase the representation of underrepresented groups in the workplace and that is what we should all want. But to elaborate further, inclusion is creating an environment for people to be who they are and for the organization to value their unique contributions. That creates loyalty, which ultimately incentivizes individuals to stay with the organization. This again helps the organization and it creates a reinforcing loop. Diversity and inclusion add a more diverse and robust thought process to the organization, which leads to more creativity, and ultimately better business results.

We are an engineering organization and we are run by metrics. Thanks to new resources and tools that the diversity and inclusion team has provided, leadership is now better prepared to make important decisions and take action. This allowed us to take something from an abstract concept to a concrete plan: Are we making a difference? Is it working? We know now that in some areas we are doing well and in others we have room to grow. It is a journey and we are off to a good start, we also know that we need and can do more. But if we don't measure it, we cannot improve. It is important that we are very deliberate and do not lose our momentum.

One obvious area, in which we have evolved our internal procedures, is our hiring process. Contrary to perception this is not solely on HR but starts with all of those in management roles. We must work with our HR partners to ensure that we are getting a well-rounded group of candidates. We also need a diverse group of people conducting the screenings and interviews and make sure that we go into them with an open mind. As a fairly recent addition to ON Semiconductor, we hope to leverage our affinity network groups to further these discussions and become more involved in recruiting and developing great, diverse talent.

When it comes to attracting diverse talent, we no longer only talk about a good cultural fit, but of a cultural add. In other words, not only how someone simply fits into our existing company culture, but what can that individual with their personal background and experiences add to our organization. That person who also shares our core values of respect, initiative and integrity. Those should be universal and permanent, but beyond that our culture will change with the different personalities that join, what is happening in our local communities and how society around us changes. Again, it is a learning and growing process for all of us. Some of us might find it difficult and frightening to constantly adjust, but that is what we should be driving towards to be a better organization for our employees. In turn, that will make us more relevant in our communities and with our customers.

As our culture adjusts and transforms, we will continue to challenge our employees to develop an open and improvement mindset. Meanwhile, it is our job as leaders to continually explain the rationale behind a change in culture, when and how it changes to make sure we are bringing everyone along. Diversity and inclusion are here to stay for a good reason and people will have to embrace that. I fundamentally believe that any employee at ON Semiconductor wants to help us be successful. With the right education, communication, understanding and the capability of listening, everyone will understand that diversity and inclusion with allyship will create the strongest performance of our organization.


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