Successful D&I Strategy with Sarah Kaiser

We interviewed employee experience and diversity & inclusion lead at Fujitsu EMEIA, Sarah Kaiser about her experiences delivering successful D&I strategy, why diversity matters for business and her hopes for the future. Read on to learn about:

  • What first attracted her to work in D&I
  • How D&I is crucial to serving your customer base
  • Fujitsu’s journey to creating a more diverse workforce
  • D&I strategy she’s found most effective

What first attracted you to working in diversity and inclusion?

I’m really passionate about creating cultures where everyone can really thrive and perform to the best of their ability. What I love about the work we do on diversity and inclusion is that you get to have this incredibly positive impact that benefits both people and businesses so it’s an absolute win-win for everyone. But you really do get to see the results of your work very immediately in that really interesting way. It’s always new, it’s always challenging, there’s always something new to think about and consider.

Sarah Kaiser Employee Experience, Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Fujitsu EMEIA. STEM A-level gender

Diversity and inclusion is always new, it’s always challenging, there’s always something new to think about and consider. But ultimately you’re creating better cultures that do better.

Sarah Kaiser, Employee Experience, Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Fujitsu EMEIA

The benefits of good D&I strategy

For a company like Fujitsu, we need to create tech solutions that work really well for everybody. You can’t create an IT solution that only works for half the people that use it. The only way you can really do that and have that real insight and understanding into what exactly your customers need from the tools you’re providing is by having that really diverse workforce. So for us, having a diverse workforce you get all those benefits you’d expect around the best talent, no matter where people come from or who they are. But it’s actually very business practical and focused in terms of creating the most innovative and effective products and solutions and really building strong relationships with our customers.

In other companies I’ve worked in in the past, for example, when I was at the Tate Gallery, the kind of programmes you put on have a direct impact on the audience you get and art should be for everyone. To build art that’s going to attract everyone, again, you really need that insight into what people are interested in, what’s going to make them feel comfortable to walk through the door of that gallery, and very much to draw on that diversity of thinking and ideas to create something that’s going to really impact as many people as possible.
So generally, no matter where you’re working, by having a diversity of people working for you, you get the best out of people. They’re more productive, more engaged and more innovative. And you’re going to be able to do better for your customers, which is ultimately why more diverse companies tend to be far more profitable.

See also: Diversity tips for leaders

Fujitsu and being “human-centric”

Fujitsu has always prided itself on being human-centric, which is a funny Japanese-influenced word we use to say that we want to make things that work really well for people. We’re genuinely a very responsible business that is committed to looking at a positive impact on society.

Given that we are a responsible business, diversity and inclusion naturally had to be part of that approach. A few years ago we certainly came to a realisation that we needed to do far more around diversity, not just doing “the right thing” but being one of the best companies for diversity and inclusion. That’s when my role was first created and we started to work on this in a really strategic way.

What I find interesting is we’re not perfect yet. We’ve got a long way to go to create an environment where diversity is really self-evident in every aspect of our organisation and our business activity. We have made leaps and bounds over the past 3 years so if any of the companies and the people you are speaking to are at the beginning of their journey, it can feel really daunting. But if you have a genuine commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion, you can make progress really quickly.

See also: Inclusion Networks and National Inclusion Week 2018

Three successful strategies from Fujitsu

  1. We have an absolute commitment from our senior leaders in making a difference. They’re totally on board with D&I strategy and they really give us their support and their sponsorship to moving things forward.
  2. We have an active family of diversity and inclusion networks so we really get all our people involved in shaping this, feeling part of it, feeling ownership of it, and helping us to identify the things that will make the most difference to our people.
  3. We’re very evidence-based, very data-driven, so we’ve set ourselves targets and measures. We know exactly what we’re working towards and we’re really clear on what we’re doing that makes a difference and what isn’t as effective. So, we can make sure we’re always doing those things that are going to have the most impact.