GM finds an ardent voice on diversity in its own ranks

GM already had a diversity and inclusion group, but the new inclusion advisory board and McGruder’s role fortified the company’s commitment.

The company’s 2019 Sustainability Report, released in 2020, and 2020 Sustainability Report, released this year, both included dedicated sections that break down diversity within GM’s work force and outline its DE&I opportunities, challenges and accomplishments.

“The more transparent we can be with ourselves and publicly, the more we’re going to drive ourselves to leap toward those aspirational targets,” said McGruder.

The company will measure the percentage of representation on its board, the percentage of representation by employee category and pay equality by employee category.
Since last year, GM has made a number of financial and time commitments to DE&I, including:


  • More than $10 million in corporate giving and employee matching to support organizations that promote social and racial justice
  • Participation in OneTen, a coalition of companies and leaders committed to training, hiring and advancing 1 million Black Americans over the next 10 years into family-sustaining jobs with opportunities for advancement
  • Membership in the Gender and Diversity KPI Alliance, through which the automaker pledged to use three key performance indicators to measure and improve diversity.


Companies have long focused on diversity, but a truly diverse work force only comes together with inclusion and equity, McGruder said. “Inclusion leads, underpinned by equity. Until you have those, you won’t have diversity stick.”

GM will track diversity, equity and inclusion through surveys and employees’ reports of inclusive behavior, said McGruder.

She and her team created an inclusivity index that was incorporated into GM’s Workplace of Choice survey in 2020, which also measures engagement and diversity. Since 2019, the company had been working toward an inclusivity index, partnering with Deloitte on an inclusion model.

Measuring the impact of DE&I initiatives is crucial to developing paths for improvement, she said.

“As an engineer, I love results and action,” McGruder said. “Now we have a really robust way to measure inclusion that correlates back to the key attributes to an inclusive culture.”

Diversity, equity and inclusion leaders within large organizations have to break through silos, working across job functions and locations.

“The effect of the appointment of a DEI leader, on leaders/managers/employees, will only be felt if the processes, systems and values of DEI are inculcated into the fabric of the company,” said Alexander. “This takes passion, effort, direct communication and boundless energy, things that Telva McGruder has in her toolbox.”

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