In order to make sustainable progress, we must develop tomorrow’s talented workforce today. A focus on our 2025 Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Strategy is improving the representation of underrepresented populations, including women globally and ethnic minorities in the U.S. at Dow.
In 2020, we implemented a new Inclusive Hiring Standard globally that sets requirements for posting jobs, diverse candidate slates and diverse interview teams. External data tells us – as does our intuition – that equity in our recruiting process and diversity in our interview process enables more diverse outcomes. We also introduced a structured interview process to ensure a consistent candidate experience and to remove bias.
We have expanded our sourcing strategy through digitalization and new talent marketing approaches. For example, we introduced Handshake technology to broaden sourcing of diverse talent beyond our traditional strategic universities.
Building upon our existing partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), in 2020 we made an additional $5 million investment to support and enhance the Black STEM pipeline.
When Dow’s Louisiana Operations apprenticeship applicant statistics showed consistent diversity gaps within the applicant pool, the team created a collaborative program to address the situation. Dow, in partnership with Terry Simmons and Company, developed the Dow Leadership Academy. This program mentors U.S. ethnic minority high school students, provides training in communication, social skills, leadership and financial literacy, and offers STEM career exploration and experiences.
The first pilot cohort was in the fall of 2017. It was made up of 15 10th grade students enrolled in the Iberville School District. Over the course of three years, these students engaged in two sessions per month until graduation. Each student in the program was assigned a Dow mentor for accountability, tutoring and family support. The mentorship component increased student engagement academically and showed mentees what is possible in their lives, through example.
In 2020, 100% of Dow Leadership Academy participants graduated high school and enrolled in a college program. Due to the success of the program, Dow plans to expand the program in 2021.
To reflect our continued commitment and maintain momentum, Team Dow successfully transitioned two signature recruiting events and internships to virtual platforms.
Diamond Symposium is intended for top, U.S. ethnic minority undergraduate students from universities across the United States. The team hosted 46 students virtually and extended 24 internship and full-time offers with an 85% offer acceptance rate.
BEST Symposium is primarily intended to introduce Black, Hispanic and Native American U.S. doctoral and postdoctoral scientists to the wide range of rewarding careers in industrial research and the many opportunities at Dow. Twenty-eight candidates attended the 2020 BEST Symposium virtually, and Dow extended 10 full-time offers with a 90% offer acceptance rate.
Dow converted more than 200 internships to a virtual experience, with a focus on connecting and engaging students in creative ways. 100% of the 2020 students said they would recommend Dow for an internship or co-op experience.
Attracting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce is imperative to delivering the best results at Dow. And it starts with leadership. That is why one of our top priorities is diversifying our leadership ranks and equipping all leaders to be effective in how they motivate and inspire everyone on their teams. To do so, we employ a range of leadership development approaches, including on-the-job learning, classroom training, on-line learning, development through ERG participation, and formal mentorship and sponsorship programs. We know that investing in leadership will make a difference for our people and for our business.
In 2020, Dow completed the first cohort of the AiA Sponsorship Program. AiA is a 15-month program that strategically pairs mid-level Black leaders (protégés) with senior leaders (advocates) to enable effective sponsorship of this talent pool by providing exposure to career opportunities and improved visibility. The program brings together sponsorship pairs to share real-world experiences and speak openly and constructively about common barriers to progression. It aims to develop and empower our Black talent, with the goal of advancing them to the next level in their career. Dow is launching a second cohort of AiA in 2021.
Terrell Goudy, senior operations leader, a protégé in Advocacy in Action’s first cohort, found the experience transformative. “AiA provided a safe space to have candid conversations with Dow leadership about the realities, concerns and issues that a lot of African American employees face day-to-day. After going through the program, I am more confident in myself and my abilities, and I bring more of my authentic self to work. These changes allow me to be more effective in leading my teams, mentoring and being a voice for others.”
The second cohort of FSP launched in December 2020 and will run until 2022 in the EMEAI region – Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India. The program aims to increase advancement and retention of women in order to reduce the gap between middle and senior levels in the EMEAI region. This initiative doubled its initial goal and paired approximately 70 women with senior Dow leaders. The FSP will have a ripple effect by impacting approximately 200 female colleagues who are part of a managed learning community in the region. Additionally, the selected sponsees gain access to sessions at a leading European Business School (INSEAD), and to learning and networking opportunities through the Society of Women Engineers.
Olga Todorova, senior commercial excellence manager, has been working with a senior leader as part of our Female Sponsorship Program. Together, they revisited her employee development plan – prompting Olga to make a job move that led to her leading people for the first time.
“My first months in FSP have been intense. I have done a lot of self-reflection on my career drivers, revisited my employee development plan and leveraged the tools provided by the program. I have established a strong working relationship with my sponsor. I have already made a parallel move from Dow Industrial Solutions to the Polyurethanes business, taking on people leadership responsibility for the first time. I look forward to further insights and learnings at upcoming INSEAD sessions! I could not be more grateful to Dow for this wonderful opportunity.”
Dow continues to provide focused development opportunities through EY’s POWER Up program. POWER Up is a strategic and integral part of our development offerings and helps women and men showcase their talent and skills in new ways. Since its inception in 2016, over 1,300 women and almost 400 male allies have participated in POWER Up at Dow.
Sponsor-to-Success is a sponsorship program that aims to foster the advancement of talent at Dow in Operations, Finance, HR, R&D and Supply Chain. The program pairs high-performing sponsees with a sponsor to identify development opportunities, connect them with influential leaders and discuss topics important to growth. The program includes sessions on personal branding, communicating with impact and professional advancement. Approximately 150 participants are currently in a Sponsor-to-Success cohort, which began in January 2020 and will end in August 2021.
92% of participants said their sponsor has provided valuable coaching, advocacy and networking possibilities to positively impact their career progression and development.
The WIN+5 networking program seeks to increase interaction between female talent and leadership and create a safe environment for participants to develop their skills and practice networking methods. In 2020, we conducted two rounds of WIN+5 for a total of almost 250 participants. Since the inception of the program, 1,100 women have participated in WIN+5 and more than 5,000 connections have been made.
We have invested in engaging male allies through Catalyst’s Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) program, MARC dialogue sessions and the inaugural MARC summit in December 2020. MARC is designed to inspire men to leverage their unique opportunity and responsibility to be advocates for equity. Approximately 180 Dow employees from across the globe participated in this two-day event.
Launched in 2020, the Military Degree Equivalency (MDE) Program helps level the playing field for veterans seeking careers with the company. Veterans with relevant military experience of E6 ranking or greater (OR6 for Canada) will be considered as equivalent to candidates with bachelor’s degrees for U.S. and Canada job postings. The E6 ranking translates to 8-12 years of experience and has generally equivalent responsibilities across all branches of the military. The MDE program affords individuals with extensive military background the opportunity to bring their broad scope of training and education, experience in leadership and understanding of performing in high-pressure situations into a successful career at Dow.