Lockheed Martin’s U.S.-based initiative Women Accelerating Tomorrow comprises a variety of programs, processes, and tools to support women’s advancement as part of a broad strategic effort to attract, develop, and retain diverse talent in a highly technical and engineering-focused industry. In the early 2000s, Lockheed Martin recognized that a diverse and inclusive culture could be a competitive advantage and, in fact, was critical to the company’s future success. Lockheed Martin understood that in order to continue providing innovative solutions to meet customer needs, it had to attract, engage, and leverage a wider range of talent. This set the company on a deliberate journey to create a sustainable workforce for the future by making diversity and inclusion an integral part of the business strategy.
The initiative includes both internal and external components, and it is guided by five strategies:
Building a diverse and sustainable STEM pipeline through a variety of educational and recruiting efforts.
Engaging leaders, with an emphasis on men, through inclusion workshops and training, such as the Effective Leadership of Inclusive Teams (ELOIT) labs and summits.
Establishing strong talent management systems and processes and promoting employee engagement through networking and development events, such as the Women’s Leadership Forum, regional forums, and Leadership Development Programs.
Promoting supplier diversity through programs that enable small, disadvantaged, women- and veteran-owned businesses to become Lockheed Martin’s suppliers.
Establishing feedback mechanisms to track and inform diversity strategies, impact, and transparency, with tools such as the LM Voice employee survey.
Diversity and inclusion are woven into the fabric of expected leadership behaviors and actions, and performance management systems look at the “what” (i.e., results) as well as the “how” (i.e., behaviors). All leaders and employees are held accountable for both their results and behaviors and are expected to contribute to creating a more inclusive work environment. In addition, managers with more than five direct reports receive feedback from employees through the LM Voice employee survey, which is then used to build action plans for improvement.
A key to the initiative’s success is how the diversity strategy is integrated into Lockheed Martin’s three core values—Do What’s Right, Respect Others, and Perform With Excellence—and ethical principles. Diversity goals are also aligned with broader corporate sustainability efforts. A strong focus on ethics, transparency, and consistency of the messaging across the organization is instrumental in reaching employees in various locations, including those working at remote customer sites.
Lockheed Martin’s efforts have accelerated progress for women at all levels and across businesses. Despite a decrease in Lockheed Martin’s overall workforce between 2004 and 2013, women’s representation in the exempt population increased during that period from 19.8% to 23.6%. Among senior executives, women’s representation grew from 16.7% to 21.7%, and for director-level employees it increased from 16.0% to 19.5%. Additionally, women’s representation on Lockheed Martin’s Board of Directors has surged from 13.0% to 33.0%.