New manager's vision for diversity involves all people
One point of pride at Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) is the diversity of the employees on our team. MPC’s new Manager of Diversity, Inclusion & Talent Management Jaime De La Cruz has a vision for diversity and inclusion that might surprise some people.
“Diversity and inclusion is about everyone,” he says. “No matter your race, gender or gender identity, age, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation or any other aspect of who you are, the way we see diversity and inclusion encompasses all of us.”
So if eight people are in a meeting and they all happen to share the same race, gender, occupation, socio-economic background, sexual orientation and approximate age, does diversity and inclusion apply?
“There’s a misconception that diversity and inclusion is only about race, sexual orientation, or other big, hot-button societal issues,” says De La Cruz. “While that’s part of it, by no means is that all. What diversity and inclusion means, at its heart, is that every single one of us is incredibly valuable and has enormous potential; we wouldn’t have been hired if that weren’t the case.”
So back to that meeting. If those eight people are so similar, then where’s the diversity? Well, two of them could be amazingly talented but are introverts, reluctant to share ideas in meetings. Maybe four others are extroverts and dominate the discussion. One could be a combat veteran, while another is a part-time pastor, and that guy on the end is a triathlete. Maybe half the folks in the meeting have been at MPC for 10 years or longer, and the rest are relatively new.
Any of these factors make the group diverse, and this means the individuals approach their work differently. Inclusion principles mean we recognize differences, appreciate them, and work with them to maximize everyone’s ability to contribute.
“Valuing and respecting these differences can be just as challenging – and just as rewarding if we do it right – as when we value and respect other differences like race, ethnicity or national origin,” says De La Cruz. “When we respect all differences – the obvious ones and the more subtle ones – and we practice inclusion, then we unlock everyone’s potential and really start to see positive results for the business.”
Those positive results, says De La Cruz, come from a basic human trait: when people feel valued, they contribute more. “It’s not speculation – it’s fact – that when everyone is engaged, everyone contributes,” he says. “When everyone feels comfortable, they feel more free to share good ideas and challenge things that could harm our performance, like unsafe practices or inefficient processes and procedures.”
The benefits of diversity and inclusion can be so profound, in fact, that MPC has integrated it into the way we find, recruit, retain and manage our talent. “We feel that Talent Acquisition and Organizational Development are the natural homes for our diversity and inclusion efforts,” says De La Cruz. “These are the functions where we are positioned best to unlock everyone’s potential from the time they’re recruited, through their hiring process, and into their development as professionals at our company.”