By Karima Bryant, Chief Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Officer at Kyndryl
Whether you lead a large or small organization, it is important for every employee to feel like they belong, regardless of their unique background. The concept of belonging is no longer a corporate buzzword — in fact, it also presents a real business case. At Kyndryl, that individual sense of belonging is our greatest driver of engagement, according to our 2022 Annual Engagement Survey.
When employees feel connected to each other and the greater mission of the company, they feel a greater sense of purpose and belonging. That drives the desire to create a better business, a better community and a better world.
Earlier this month, our colleagues in Costa Rica co-hosted an event to recognize the Afro-Costa Rican community as part of a month-long celebration of the Afro-descendant community, culminating on Aug. 31, Black People’s Day. The event saw dancers, artisans and local vendors showcase their vibrant culture and diverse heritage, while promoting collaboration and unity, ensuring greater reach and impact by empowering the Afro-descendant community.
Our Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (ID&E) efforts had a ripple effect on the lives of our employees locally and on those outside of Kyndryl. It helped pave the way for industry alliances for impactful projects benefiting not just the Afro-Costa Rican community but all of our Kyndryl Inclusion Networks (our version of business resource groups). And it’s part of our much larger story.
Belonging in Action
In the last year, Kyndryl observed over 40 externally and internally recognized events across the world, including Black History Month, Women's History Month, Neurodiversity Month and Pride Month. While these milestone events promote cultural awareness, foster unity and celebrate valuable traditions that shape a nation's identity, our work in ID&E goes even further.
As empathetic and devoted global citizens, we strive to make the world better and more inclusive for our employees, customers and our communities. This speaks to our corporate policies and training that’s committed to equal opportunity employment, workforce diversity and inclusion, and non-discrimination and harassment.
Our ID&E foundation is based on four strategic priorities that connect back to our culture.
- Connected and inclusive culture: Drive a culture where employees feel a sense of inclusion and belonging
- Diverse and representative teams: Attract, develop and retain diverse talent across levels and geographies
- ID&E in our business and operations: Embed our priorities in every part of our business
- Community engagement and advocacy: Cultivate opportunity and promote equity in underserved communities
Kyndryl Inclusion Networks (KINs) are shining examples of Kyndryl’s ID&E mission in action, as they are company-sponsored, employee-led resource groups that are dedicated to creating spaces where all Kyndryls can find and provide support and advice. KINs work to continue the advancement of their respective communities by focusing on recruitment, retention, advancement and allyship.
We started with five KINs in 2022 — and that’s now grown to 77 globally, with over 6,700 members. With the support of executive sponsors, KIN leaders and members co-create an environment that empowers them to bring their whole selves to work, individually and collectively, and to support the activation of our culture, The Kyndryl Way.
Raising the Bar for Ourselves
Since our launch in 2021, we have been actively transforming Kyndryl’s culture to become an employer of choice. And in only 20 months, we are seeing consistently high engagement and inclusion results. Our 2022 Annual Engagement Survey showed that 78% of Kyndryls feel as if they belong, well above the industry standard. Eighty-seven percent feel they can be themselves at work, and 91% feel they are treated with respect at work. As we keep up this momentum, the work we do with and for our communities will be paramount, especially in terms of providing tools for skill enhancement and potential growth.
While we recognize and celebrate ID&E here at Kyndryl, we understand that there is always more work to be done. It’s critical to develop diverse, talented teams that can deliver exceptional results to our customers, while making sure everyone on the team has a stronger sense of acceptance and belonging — a culture that brings out the best of everyone at work.