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Employees, leaders and customers must work together to maximize DEI

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Diverse teams are instrumental in envisioning innovative products and services

Incorporating inclusion, diversity, and equity (ID&E) into a company’s culture is not just a nice gesture; it actually yields substantial benefits for business. According to a study conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and Amazon Web Services, 75% of companies with a comprehensive diversity strategy experience positive effects on their market share and revenue growth. Embracing this fact, AWS is firmly committed to fostering ID&E within its organization.

The driving force behind the pursuit of diversity is the realization that diverse teams are instrumental in envisioning innovative products and services that cater to a global customer base. However, attracting and retaining diverse talent requires prioritizing inclusion. At AWS, inclusion takes precedence in our discussions, even before diversity and equity. We believe in moving beyond good intentions and implementing measurable actions that lead to an improved workplace culture and a positive impact on our customers and communities.

Developing a strategy to engage underrepresented employees and communities across the world is undoubtedly challenging, considering the unique systemic issues and cultural contexts in different regions and countries. Despite the difficulty, we persevere rather than shy away from the task.

To achieve a more inclusive global strategy, three key stakeholders play crucial roles: employees, leaders, and customers.

Empowering employees is pivotal, and AWS has instituted a program that fosters an inclusive culture by encouraging employees to drive ID&E initiatives within their respective organizations. Over 13,000 employees, known as “inclusion ambassadors,” have signed up for this program. Unlike traditional employee resource groups, inclusion ambassadors don’t promote specific cultures or identities but act as extensions of the ID&E team, advocating for the importance of inclusion and organizing relevant programs and events. Early research indicates that such strategic initiatives can lead to higher inclusion scores within teams.

Leaders also play a vital role in driving ID&E progress. While inclusive leadership training is essential, true influence is achieved when leaders immerse themselves in the experiences of underrepresented groups. AWS engages its leaders in volunteering activities, such as a STEAM summer camp in Ghana, alongside global inclusion ambassadors. This executive engagement instills cultural change from the top down and sets an example of commitment to ID&E, both within the organization and in interactions with communities.

Additionally, strategic customer partnerships can significantly impact the ID&E strategy. AWS customers around the world have employed cloud services to create more inclusive and equitable environments. By collaborating with customers like John L. Scott and Tarjimly, AWS leverages its resources and expertise to support underrepresented populations and cultures.

In conclusion, advancing ID&E globally for an organization is not achieved in isolation. Success comes from creative and strategic efforts that involve employees, leaders, and customers together on this journey. The power of unity enables us to reach and positively impact many more people from diverse backgrounds, ultimately helping us progress further together. As the saying goes, “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”

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