On October 1, Nichelle Grant became Head of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) at Siemens USA. In her new role Grant’s work will reach into topics that drive change and impact our workforce, workplace and marketplace. As a starting point, her leadership will help us pursue a more holistic approach to how Siemens builds a workforce mirroring the diversity of society, drives an inclusive work environment to maximize business success, uses data and analytics to address customer diversity requirements, and works with stakeholders to advance D&I across U.S. industry.
Grant currently leads the Vertical Markets team in Smart Infrastructure-Regional Solutions and Services and voluntarily leads the employee resource groups and diversity councils for Siemens USA. She has more than a decade of experience with D&I and, alongside her passion and commitment to the cause, brings a 19-year tenure at Siemens developing go-to-market strategies, focusing on the customer experience and driving operational excellence.
Below she shares insight into her experience at Siemens and her vision for D&I moving forward.
What motivates you to come into work daily?
I like my job! Whatever job or role I’m in, I like being a part of the Siemens company. Each day I think about how I can make an impact, not only through my day-to-day responsibilities, but on the people I interact with and the community we live in.
You originally got involved in advancing diversity at Siemens on a volunteer basis through employee resource groups and diversity councils. What motivated you to take that on in addition to your daily work?
I got involved because I was passionate about it. Siemens is a big part of my life. I not only want to do the job I'm doing or asked to do really well; I want to contribute to improving our culture and working environment. Diversity and inclusion plays a key role in that.
How do you ensure that D&I is core to our overall strategy?
We do it by building a D&I strategy that aligns with our overall business goals and how we leverage and build our workforce so that we are near our customer base, our suppliers, our partners and society. We will answer questions such as, “How do we tap into your ideas, knowledge, perspective and approaches so that we can maximize our business success? How do we make you more engaged and involved?” My goal is to be more transparent on what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and communicate more with the organization, so that people can get onboard with this wonderful journey.
Tell us about your priorities as you begin this new role?
One important focus area is continuing to provide an exceptional customer experience. Part of that is the diversity of our suppliers.
Our supplier diversity program tells our customers and our community that we value diverse, innovative suppliers that will provide them with the latest and greatest technologies.
Why do you think it’s especially important for technology providers like Siemens to focus on D&I right?
We’ve heard our CEO Barbara Humpton say that having a workforce drawn from all segments of society isn’t only the right thing to do, but that it’s a core part of our business strategy. It’s linked to our productivity and ability to innovate. I agree with that perspective, and I would add that this also matters to our customers. More and more customers are now inquiring about what we do as an organization around diversity and inclusion prior to them making a buying decision. We want to add value to our customer’s business, therefore we must evolve and provide our customers with what they need to meet their business goals.
People are becoming increasingly familiar with diversity as an initiative and business goal. How does the topic of inclusion fit in?
Diversity is about being invited to the dance, but inclusion is about being asked to dance once you're there. When you invite a diverse group of talented people to join your company workforce, we want to make sure we include them in our efforts to reach our business goals. We want to hire qualified individuals and keep moving the company forward by leveraging their talents to make a difference on how we make decisions, how we go to market and ultimately how we serve our customers.