Case Study: BP p.l.c.—Global Path to Diversity and InclusionJan 11, 2006
BP has developed a strategy that will enable its success in the 21st century global marketplace. That strategy leverages existing diversity—exemplified by gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, sexual orientation and identity, religion, and tribe, among other things—while preparing itself for the future by continuing to diversify its employee base.
BP’s Global Path to Diversity and Inclusion rests on three principles: 1) as a large global company, BP’s leaders should reflect the local communities in which it operates; 2) its change effort will proceed in phases, first targeting its 600 most senior executives, then the next 6,000 “senior-level managers,” followed by the remaining 90,000 employees; 3) diversity and inclusion is a business imperative, and as such it abides by the same internal accountability mechanisms as other strategic businesses. This strategy is monitored and implemented by a decentralized team of D&I experts led by Group Vice President Patti Bellinger. The D&I team shapes and manages a multitude of initiatives and programs, including diversity targets for executives; career advancement offerings for diverse high-potential employees; a diversity-and-inclusion index that tracks employees’ perceptions; global diversity networks; and dynamic workshops that focus on issues related to gender, race, and nationality. The strength of these efforts is enhanced by sophisticated local customization and is sustained by strong senior leadership support and increasingly transparent human resources processes. CEO Lord Browne of Madingley is an internationally recognized advocate of diversity who frequently speaks and gives interviews on the topic and is an internal role model. Performance contracts rate executives on behaviors (including those related to D&I) and business results; these ratings determine bonus pay. In addition, all D&I targets are tracked quarterly; if goals are not met, there is an intervention by the respective senior leadership.
The success of BP’s efforts is measurable and clear. Women’s representation among the 600 most senior leadership positions increased from 9 percent to 17 percent between 2000 and 2005.