Boeing CEO outlines Racial Equity Action Plan
“We’ll continue to act quickly when teammates speak up about behaviors that undermine an inclusive culture.”
By Helicopters Staff
Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of The Boeing Company, issued a letter to the company’s employees regarding Boeing’s Racial Equity Action Plan. Calhoun became CEO of the Chicago-based aerospace company, which employs more than 160,000 people worldwide, in January 2020, after serving on its board since 2009.
His August 28 letter outlines a number of initiatives with several already under way, including a same-day donation of US$10 million to support racial equity and social justice non-profits and programs in the United States.
As part of the action plan, Calhoun explains Boeing will work to increase the representation rate of Black employees in the United States by 20 per cent. In addition to establishing a Racial Justice Task Force, Boeing in 2021 will begin to publish its employee representation annually.
At just under 1,000 words, the letter from Calhoun focuses on three primary areas as being part of Boeing’s racial equity action plan, including: Creating inclusion and equity for all; confronting racism head-on; and building and supporting a coalition among communities and suppliers. These three areas are described in greater detail below, within Calhoun’s full letter:
Standing before roughly 250,000 people, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech 57 years ago today. He called for an end to racism and outlined an optimistic vision for the future. Then and today, his dream inspires us and fills us with hope. It serves as a call to action in the ongoing fight for racial equity — especially as we continue to see tragedies across the United States such as the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin this week.
We are digging deeply into confronting racism and racial equity at Boeing. Across the company teams have been having challenging and important conversations about race — planting the seeds for change. It’s up to us now to build on this momentum and take action within our walls and outside them.
With input from team members and leaders at all levels — including Business Resource Groups; front-line managers and teammates of color; diversity, equity and inclusion experts; and external stakeholders from communities of color — we understand we have work to do.
With your feedback as a foundation, I asked members of my team to develop an equity action plan that will raise the bar for progress on key measures of equity and inclusion for our people — and hold us accountable for clearing that bar.
Specifically, we are focusing our actions in three areas:
• Creating inclusion and equity for all: We’re committed to building diverse teams and holding ourselves accountable to equitable processes that promote trust and transparency. That includes purposefully addressing and interrupting bias, seeking out and championing diversity, and continuing to advance inclusion in locally relevant ways outside the U.S.
Over the next three years, we will take steps to close the largest representation gaps across the enterprise and continue to ensure compensation practices are fair to all. We’re asking our leaders to remove institutional barriers to equity and benchmarking our progress against industry leaders. And beginning in 2021, we will increase transparency by publishing our representation annually. Some of this work already is in motion, including a close examination of our own diversity gaps and a new interview process that will further enable diverse hiring decisions.
• Confronting racism head-on: We expect all employees to act with integrity, promote diversity and inclusion, and treat one another with trust and respect. Any behavior that runs counter to this will not be tolerated. We are dedicated to building an inclusive workplace, free of harassment.
To that end, we will work to increase the representation rate of Black Boeing employees in the United States by 20%, as we strive to have our workforce more fully reflect the local markets where we work. Similarly, we likewise will continue to work to increase representation for our other underrepresented teammates. We also will establish a Racial Justice Task Force with representatives from across the company to serve as our long-term think tank, which will include an advisory council composed of Black leaders and others from diverse backgrounds. And we’ll continue to act quickly when teammates speak up about behaviors that undermine an inclusive culture. We will not allow racist comments or behaviors to be part of our culture, whether in the workplace, on InSite, or any of the channels through which Boeing teammates interact. Externally, we will support the Black community through policy and engagement at all levels of government.
• Building and supporting a coalition among communities and suppliers: Today, we announced investments totaling $10 million to support racial equity and social justice nonprofits and programs in the United States. These investments build on our previous commitment to elevate underserved communities, combat systemic racism and advance racial equality at all levels. Additional announcements related to Boeing’s racial equity and social justice investment strategy are planned in the future.
Among our suppliers, we will leverage the Boeing brand and buying power to ensure the ecosystem in which we live, recruit and work aligns to our values. And we’ll continue building on our support of minority-owned suppliers.
We’re holding ourselves accountable to these actions. To ensure we see progress, all managers will set a business priority on inclusion, and all executives will be accountable for helping the company reach its representation targets.
But to be successful, we all have to come together and commit to these actions, united across Boeing by our shared vision of inclusion and racial equity. Please continue to lean into the challenging yet important conversations you’re having about racial equity. These new resources will help keep the conversation going. My team, the Board of Directors and I are prioritizing similar discussions because our commitment to improvement starts with building awareness and empathy.
As we move forward, we’ll continue this open dialogue with an emphasis on listening and learning globally — and taking action based on what we’ve learned.
Today, as we have teammates joining the Commitment March in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. King’s speech, his words ring truer than ever: “I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.”
Thanks to our Boeing Black Employees Association chapters, in coordination with our Boeing Global Engagement team and Global Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, for hosting a series of educational events around the anniversary this week. And thanks to everyone who has contributed to the conversation so far and helped build the understanding that we need to do better.
Every voice matters as we work together to drive lasting change.