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GE Silicones Used Benchmarking To Develop Its Diversity Program

May 1, 1993
Related Topics: Diversity, Featured Article
When management and steering-committee members developed a diversity program at GE Silicones, teamwork and diversity training were among the most important aspects of the program. Benchmarking, however, also played an important role.

Used throughout GE Silicones, Best Practices is a program designed to identify successful programs by researching the activities of other leading companies in a particular area. GE Silicones has adapted many of its cultural-diversity policies and programs from the practices of other industry leaders, such as Corning Glass, IBM and GE Aerospace.

Corning Glass's CEO has taught GE Silicones that sincere and active support from top management is critical to a diversity program's success. The CEO looked into diversity issues when he learned that women were leaving the company at twice the rate of white men. He found that this situation stemmed from the feeling among women that advancement opportunities at Corning Glass were poor. This feeling also was prevalent among minority employees.

As a result, the CEO has initiated a program to make the company more attractive to women and minority employees. GE Silicones has followed suit. The company's vice president and its top managers have committed significant resources (money and people) to the program. In addition, they were among the first people to take part in the company's diversity training.

IBM provided GE Silicones with diversity programs and policies to aspire to. IBM devotes an exceptional amount of resources to its programs and spearheads a nationwide, corporate consortium on diversity issues. GE has paid special attention to the way IBM markets its diversity program to its current and prospective employees.

GE Aerospace provided the model for GE Silicones' policies on such work-and-family issues as family leave, job sharing, flextime and resources for care.

Personnel Journal, May 1993, Vol. 72, No. 5, p. 150.

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