IBM has put its drive for diversity in the hands of it workforce by empowering them to harness their creativity and make the company an employer of choice.
The computer giant, which employs 22,000 staff in the UK, has set up more than 150 diversity group networks, where staff with 'common philosophies' can meet and share knowledge and experience that will make IBM more competitive.
The voluntary groups, representing women, Asian staff and those with disabilities, meet locally to discuss the sensitivities of workers, customers and competitors. They are organised by a core of 500 employees, but are open to all staff. The information and views collected are sent to HR, which can then 'champion the networks'.
The company also hosts annual national forums, where respective local groups can share concerns and ideas. This includes an IBM women's conference, where more than 300 female staff discuss how they can be role models and play an active part in the growth of the company.
Dave Heath, HR director at IBM, said the networks were the company's main driver towards a diverse workforce and gave everyone in the business a voice.
"The networks are more than just talking shops," he said. "They focus the population of IBM on diversity and on how our competitors operate. This can only enhance business success."