Sustainability 2011/12


Promoting a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

Our definition of diversity includes all those things that make each of us unique individuals. Our backgrounds, opinions, experiences, perspectives and life situations are just some of the distinctions we bring to the global workplace. At Ford, diversity is:

  • Respect – for our employees, customers, communities, dealers, suppliers and retirees
  • Appreciation – of our differences
  • Inclusion – of every person and every perspective
  • Integrity – to do the right thing, always

We integrate our diversity strategy into our business using five strategic areas of focus:

  • Leading the way – The executive leadership team, led by our CEO, champions diversity and inclusion at Ford. To work together effectively across the global enterprise, the leadership team ensures that diverse perspectives are integrated into business objectives and key human resources processes.
  • Supporting our diverse workforce and strengthening our external partnerships – Ford currently supports a number of employee networks, including 11 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that help to foster diversity and inclusion. These include groups for employees of African ancestry; Hispanic, Asian-Indian, Chinese and Middle Eastern employees; veteran and active military employees; employees dealing with disabilities; female professionals; working parents; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees; and the Ford Interfaith Network, which brings together separate affinity groups for Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and other faiths. A number of the groups have chapters in our business units throughout the world. In addition to supporting our employees, these ERGs organize community volunteer activities and provide us with an opportunity to better understand the consumer needs and wants of individuals of diverse backgrounds. Some of their recent initiatives include mentoring students from local schools, assisting the homeless and sending care packages to our military overseas. Our Ford Hispanic Network, for example, partnered with Ford Credit to teach financial literacy workshops in local high schools and community organizations. They also “adopted” a local inner-city park for spring clean-up every year.
  • Fostering a respectful and inclusive environment – Ford’s commitment to inclusion is incorporated in ONE Ford expected behaviors and communicated in ongoing forums such as town hall meetings and training. As a part of these efforts, we have held a Diversity & Inclusion Summit each year since 1999 to recognize individuals and teams who have exhibited the inclusive ONE Ford behaviors critical to our success as a company. The participation of our employees from around the world in this Summit continues to grow. In 2011, our CEO and other senior executives honored 34 teams and individuals in a global ceremony, with participation from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S.
  • Supporting work/life flexibility – We encourage employees and managers to discuss both business and personal goals. Work/life flexibility creates a competitive advantage and addresses the needs of our global, multi-generational workforce. Ford Digital Worker is a global information technology program that supports ONE Ford and enhances employees’ ability to work remotely. Ford’s efforts to provide employees with tools such as WebEx, Instant Messenger and enhanced mobile access capability has increased employee productivity and satisfaction. Flexibility solutions vary depending upon locations, teams and employees. Examples include the following:
    • In the U.S., a significant number of the salaried workforce occasionally use “flextime,” which allows employees to vary their daily work times. We have approximately 3,000 employees on formal work programs that involve telecommuting, part-time work and compressed work arrangements. Many more employees develop informal arrangements with their supervisors for occasional work from home opportunities. Our Flexible Work Network provides “flex mentors” to help advise employees on effective ways to work differently.
    • In Europe, we offer a variety of flexible working patterns. In the U.K. and Germany, for example, we support part-time working and telecommuting and offer child-care facilities for the children of our employees.
    • In Canada, our many programs include “Summer Hours,” which give employees an opportunity to work with their managers to identify a compressed work-week schedule during the summer months.
    • Several countries within Ford South America have established programs aiming to leverage work/life flexibility, including flexible work locations.

Other employee resources include Employee Assistance Programs, “mothers’ rooms” for nursing mothers in some of our global locations, meditation rooms and wellness initiatives.

Ford has longstanding policies clearly stating that harassment in the work environment because of race, religion, color, age, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status is a violation of the spirit and intent of the Company’s nondiscrimination policies, and Ford has a commitment to zero tolerance of this type of behavior. These policies apply to all individuals, including part-time, supplemental and agency employees. Ford understands its responsibility to foster a respectful work environment free of harassment or discrimination at all levels of the organization. We take this responsibility extremely seriously and thoroughly investigate any claim of violation(s).

Our collective bargaining agreements address this issue and allow union-represented employees the right to use the grievance process. Ford’s Code of Human Rights, Basic Working Conditions and Corporate Responsibility, as well as several global Policies and Directives, directly address the issue of respect and inclusion. These include our:

  • Local Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement
  • Policy Letter No. 2: “Relationships with Employees”
  • Policy Letter No. 6: “Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action”
  • Directive B-110: “Anti-Harassment/Zero Tolerance”

Across the globe, a number of avenues are available to employees who wish to make and/or document a complaint. These processes are communicated to all employees through the Open Door Policy and through various policies posted online. These avenues include:

  • Reporting the incident or concern to a supervisor or any other member of management
  • Filing a complaint with the local human resources office
  • Contacting the human resources representative at the division office or personnel relations at World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan
  • Calling a hotline, through which concerns may be raised
  • In the U.S., using peer review, which is an internal alternative dispute resolution process

Also in the U.S., the Company has longstanding, strong relationships with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state civil rights agencies. We stand committed to cooperating with those civil rights agencies that provide resources to the people of our diverse communities in an effort to eliminate discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

Within the U.K. we have a highly robust, comprehensive Dignity at Work policy that sets out the expected standards of behavior and what steps can be taken if there are infringements. All employees are trained on the content of the policy, with further training for supervisors and managers who investigate allegations of harassment and/or bullying.