IBM and HP: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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It is important to note that International Business Machines or IBM’s recent report on IBM 2020 Diversity & Inclusion is indicative of the fact that the company has a strategic plan to increase equity and related areas of improvement. The plan is rooted in three major steps, which were undertaken in the year 2020, such as introducing policies, investing in skills, and enhancing accountability (IBM, 2020). Similarly, Hewlett-Packard or HP is also putting a significant effort into diversity and inclusion promotion through new hiring policies, minority empowerment, global gender equalization, and increased industry recognition of women (HP, 2021). Both initiatives aim for equivalent goals for improving the companies’ stance on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The concept of diversity can be defined as an act which is aimed at “empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin” (Global Diversity Practice, 2021, para. 1). In addition, inclusion “is an organizational effort and practices in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed, and equally treated” (Global Diversity Practice, 2021, para. 4). Equity can be defined as a state or practice promoting fairness and equality.

According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation ranking, both IBM and HP scored 100 percent rating as top-rated employers of 2021 (Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2021). In the case of the differences in diversity, equity, and inclusion between IBM and HP, it is important to note that the former mainly focuses on equity more than on other factors since it heavily promotes fairness, advocacy, employee experience, and accountability. However, HP puts an emphasis on ensuring that diversity is put in place alongside inclusion, where it strives to empower minorities and women into positions of power and leadership by striving to the equalized distribution of these groups in all departments of the company.

In the case of the LGBTQ+ employees, both HP and IBM are ranked high as welcoming places for these individuals. It is stated that both companies are among “businesses that met all the criteria to earn a 100 percent rating and the designation of being a 2021 “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” (Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2021, p. 32). In other words, there are no major differences between HP and IBM since they both are leaders in this regard. However, some small distinctive elements can be spotted, where IBM is active in promoting all aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but HP mostly focuses on racial and women empowerment.

The best practices of IBM revolve around a clear message of embracement, which revolves around transformation and culture. The company has a clear plan of action, which includes growth, inclusion, innovation, and feedback, which shows that diversity and equity are part of a larger organizational culture. In addition, IBM ensures fairness and equity across all groups, including the LGBTQ+ employees, women, and ethnic and racial minorities. In contrast, HP’s best practices are reflected in its numbers and more direct approach towards diversity.

The company’s hiring and promotional policies clearly strive to achieve a quantifiable balance between different groups. For example, the board of directors is 46% women, which is why 62% of the new hires are people with disabilities, veterans, minorities, and women (HP, 2021). In other words, there is a clear process of ratio reinvention as indicators of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

The last important element of the comparative analysis is leadership, and IBM strongly communicates the notion of diversity, inclusion, and equity as its report opens with statements from the CEO and Chairman, Arvind Krishna. One should not underestimate the criticality of having a leader who is a person of color and minority because it sends a strong message that all representatives of different groups are welcome at the company, and there is no ceiling for growth for any IBM employee. IBM’s CEO states: “I fundamentally believe that as we continue to uphold the values of diversity, inclusion, and equity, we will make IBM a better and stronger company” (IBM, 2020, p. 3). In other words, leadership plays a central role in the implementation of the best practices outlined within the plan.

In the case of HP, the leadership is also critical at sending the right message and enhancing the integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion as key indicators of a successful and welcoming workplace. The board of directors of HP is comprised 46% of women and 54% of minorities, which clearly shows that the company is lead mostly by diverse leaders (HP, 2021). In addition, the leadership is 31% women, which shows that the gender is empowered, but still has a long way to go in order to achieve complete equality and diversity (HP, 2021). However, one can argue that the leadership’s role in the implementation is more prominent in the case of IBM than HP due to the former advocating for diversity, inclusion, and equity from the very top of the leadership chain.


Global Diversity Practice. (2021). What is diversity & inclusion?. Web.

HP. (2021). HP diversity, equity, and inclusion. Web.

Human Rights Campaign Foundation. (2021). Corporate equality index 2021. Web.

IBM. (2020). IBM 2020 diversity & inclusion report . Web.

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