Symantec Executive Team Steps Up At Tech Inclusion
With teams all over the globe, Symantec is focusing on creating an inclusive culture that is as diverse as its customers.
Below is an article originally written by Jared Karol, the Purpose & Leadership Development Coach at PowerToFly Partner Symantec, and published on November 7, 2018. Go to Symantec's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
How do you build a diverse and inclusive company culture in an organization that is 36 years old, has more than 13,000 employees, and is located in 35 countries all around the world?
At the Tech Inclusion conference in San Francisco on October 16, 2018, four members of Symantec's leadership team – CEO Greg Clark, CHRO Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, CIO Sheila Jordan, and EVP Samir Kapuria – sat down with Wayne Sutton, Co-Founder of Change Catalyst, for a panel discussion on Cyber Security and Culture to address that question. They discussed both the progress Symantec has made and challenges they still face in creating a culture where every employee feels like they belong.
With welcome candor and transparency, Greg stated right away that he was disappointed in the diversity metrics at the company. "Our numbers are just not good enough," he said, before going on to say that improving those numbers has been a major focus area for him and the company since he became CEO two and a half years ago.
This is of course commendable. And, improving the numbers means little if you don't create a culture where everyone feels included, an idea Amy shared: "The whole notion around inclusion lends itself to a diverse workplace. How do you ensure people have a voice and are not left in the margins? How do you bring people into the conversation?"
In other words, if you focus on helping the people who are already working at the company feel included, you create a place where people from underrepresented backgrounds want to come and work. The more Symantec becomes known as a place where candidates from diverse backgrounds will be welcomed and appreciated, the more candidates from diverse backgrounds will apply.
The whole notion around inclusion lends itself to a diverse workplace. How do you ensure people have a voice and are not left in the margins? How do you bring people into the conversation?
The idea that Symantec is a huge company with a global reach is central to this line of thinking. "We are a virtual global team with thirteen sites around the world," says Sheila, who is also the executive sponsor for SWAN (Symantec Women's Action Network). "We have to create an inclusive environment across the globe."
Samir points out that cyber criminals don't discriminate. "They attack people from all kinds of backgrounds," he says. "The victims of these attacks are diverse, so our solutions need to be inclusive of all walks of life." After all, he reminds us, Symantec is a technology company that creates products for people around the world. The people who are coding those products need to be reflective of the people who are using them.
Despite the challenges – or maybe because of them? – it was clear that the Symantec executive team is committed to their vision of creating a more diverse and inclusive global company. One example of this commitment is the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge that Greg signed in 2017.
There was also a level of awareness on the stage that was great to see. As executive leaders in a huge global company, all four speakers on the stage are cognizant of their responsibility to make sure that all voices are heard in the company. This includes calling out behaviors that are not contributing to an inclusive and safe workplace culture. "Everyone is suffering from [a lack of diversity and inclusion]," says Amy. "We are working on building awareness and intentionally seeking out all voices. We're talking to teams and involving them in the conversation and around solutions."
Symantec is a technology company that creates products for people around the world. The people who are coding those products need to be reflective of the people who are using them.
The vision is that as the executive team continues to model the behaviors that promote inclusivity and belonging, servant leadership will become the norm. This leadership style is aimed at inspiring and empowering every employee to take responsibility for contributing to the kind of company culture that everyone wants in the first place.
Ultimately, it's about being part of something greater than yourself. Just as Symantec's products positively impact customers all over the world, Symantec's culture can make a huge impact on the lives of its employees all over the world too. "It's going to take a few years to change," admits Greg. "But we're really working on culture. It matters to us. And, it will make us a much stronger company."
I thought about writing this blog piece like one of those quizzes that used to be on the back pages of Seventeen and Cosmo where each question would offer several answers of varying point levels and you'd pick one answer per question, tally up your points at the end, and match your score to one of several possible results.
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