With research showing that diversity can lead to greater innovation, better problem-solving and even more revenue, you would be hard pressed to find a company that doesn’t recognize its value. But just because a company values diversity doesn’t always mean it will be prioritized — too often, companies hope to become diverse and inclusive without really doing much to make that a reality. At 3M, however, this is decidedly not the case.
With initiatives ranging from an Inclusion Index survey to having the CEO actively sponsor a diverse group of women, 3M isn’t just paying lip service to diversity and inclusion — they’re making it a business priority. We caught up with Ann Anaya, Chief Diversity Officer at 3M, to learn more about the company’s many different diversity and inclusion programs, how 3M defines “diversity” and how she went from the courtroom to the boardroom — here’s what she had to say.
Glassdoor: From employee resource networks to an ambitious goal to double the pipeline of diverse talent in management by 2025, it’s clear that diversity and inclusion are highly prioritized at 3M. What makes diversity so business-critical to your company?
Ann Anaya: We appreciate that a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture are necessary ingredients for innovation and growth. Diversity of thought is inspired by a variety of backgrounds and experiences working together to create better results and solutions.
Glassdoor: One thing that makes 3M unique is your holistic definition of “diversity.” Not many companies can say, for example, that they have a dedicated Autism and Mental Health Resource Group. How did 3M arrive at the broad definition of diversity that it currently embraces?
Ann Anaya: The 3M definition of diversity includes gender, race/ethnicity, nationality, people with disabilities, U.S. military veterans and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex (LGBTQI). In addition to our nine Employee Resource networks, we have Business Groups, 3M Clubs and Special Interest Groups that contribute to building a sense of community and belonging at 3M.
Glassdoor: How does 3M make sure that diverse employees don’t just feel included, but also feel a sense of belonging?
Ann Anaya: Building a sense of belonging is work that is never done and is the responsibility of each individual. One act at a time, day after day and continuously improving strategy is the key to success. We strive to create an atmosphere where everyone feels safe to share their unique self and motivated to value the uniqueness of others.
Glassdoor: Many companies want to be diverse and inclusive, but find it challenging. What advice do you have for them?
Ann Anaya: Set bold goals, measure progress, be transparent, teach inclusive behaviors and hold leaders accountable.
Glassdoor: I love how each group at 3M has a designated “Inclusion Champion” — what a cool idea! Can you talk a little more about that?
Ann Anaya: Being a champion of inclusion is a competency that must be mastered. Our Inclusion Champions and their teams around the globe customize engagement to the needs of each business or function, in alignment with our inclusive culture. The Inclusion Teams also work closely with the Employee Resource Networks globally to serve as ambassadors of inclusive behaviors and celebrate diversity and inclusion best practices.
Glassdoor: On a more personal note, I know that you come from a legal background — what drew you to this opportunity, and what’s it been like for you?
Ann Anaya: I was a trial lawyer in state and federal government for 20 years. Almost six years ago I was in search of a new challenge, a place where I could use my advocacy skills, learn new applications for those skills and continue to contribute to positive change in the world. 3M was the only opportunity that I pursued. Applying science to improve lives, unwavering integrity and a commitment to workplace inclusion are the cultural pillars that attracted me to 3M. My role as Chief Diversity Officer has challenged me to expand my professional experience to include corporate operations and has presented an opportunity for me to focus on leveraging my passion for diversity and inclusion. It is an incredible honor and a privilege to do this work.
Glassdoor: Among all of the different D&I initiatives at 3M, is there one that is particularly close to your heart — perhaps one that you initiated, or just one that you’ve become a huge champion of?
Ann Anaya: In October of 2018 we launched the CEO Inclusion Council. Our Employee Resource Network leaders, Inclusion Champions and a variety of dedicated executives will meet each quarter to share their thoughts, experiences and strategic solutions for diversity and inclusion initiatives with the CEO. The Council will inform, enhance and elevate our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Glassdoor: It must be really rewarding to have a job where you focus so much on making underrepresented groups feel heard and valued. What’s the most meaningful feedback you’ve ever gotten from an employee?
Ann Anaya: When I receive feedback that our work is improving how we work together, how we feel about our workplace and how we feel about our colleagues, it is a great day. As I look toward the future, I am energized by what still needs to be accomplished and the positive change we can inspire at 3M and all that 3M touches.