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What Does Diversity and Inclusion Have To Do With Ethics?
by Jennifer Gilhool - 2018-06-28 10:05:53.0

The short answer: everything. The very foundation of an ethics program is respect – respect for your fellow human beings and respect for yourself.

We are first and foremost members of the human race. Everything else comes after this initial designation: our ethnicity, our gender, our socio-economic status, our sexual orientation, our political and religious affiliations and the myriad of other ways we identify and categorize ourselves and others.

As human beings we share experience of being human. Our diversity comes into play when we engage with the world and other human beings around us. None of us navigate the world in exactly the same way but we all experience joy, sorrow, pain, regret, love, failure and success. We may not experience joy in the precise way that our neighbor does, but we can recognize the experience in others. This is empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another – and empathy is fundamental to respect.

Our Code of Business Conduct includes many references to respect, but two stand out to me. The discussions of respect as a core value and principal of interaction include a discussion of the corresponding importance of diversity and inclusion to ON Semiconductor. This isn’t a coincidence.

In our statement of core values we remind ourselves that our diversity is a competitive advantage: We treat each other with dignity and respect. We share information and encourage different views in an open and honest environment. We draw out the best in each other, recognizing that diversity of backgrounds and experience are key strengths. We all win when we support each other.

When the Code of Business Conduct addresses how we interact with each other, we focus first on constant respect and embracing differences: As a global company, we value the diversity of individuals from around the world. Our company understands that it takes a variety of opinions, ideas, beliefs and practices to be successful. We embrace these differences, and treat each other with respect and fairness at all times.

Recognizing that diversity happens at the connections is not just true for how we interact with others but how we understand ourselves. Our self-perceptions are a culmination of our own diverse characteristics and identities. Each of us is a combination of characteristics and identities, such as our race, gender, nationality, religious beliefs, political affiliation and many, many other identifying characteristics. When we recognize the diversity in ourselves, it can make it easier for us to appreciate not only the diversity in others but also the similarities among us. Respect is essential in this process – self-respect and respect for others.

As the dialogue outside ON Semiconductor continues to be filled with polarizing language and points of view, we become increasingly desensitized to the disrespectful language around us. It is incumbent upon each of us to consider the tone and tenor of our words – spoken and written -- and to strive for respectful interactions. Passion and debate in the workplace are essential to achieving our objectives.

Our Code of Business Conduct is not designed to chill this related debate. To the contrary, it is designed to foster a speak-up culture where ideas are generated and robustly considered. Our goal is to engage in spirited debate and to reach consensus, and should our passion cross the line, an apology and a handshake can often get us back on track.

We live in a world where debate sometimes crosses the line of civility. It’s up to us to expect more from ourselves and our teams when it comes to workplace interactions. We are all striving for the same thing – to deliver high quality, energy efficient semiconductor solutions that enable customer innovations through a diverse workforce committed to operating in an ethical and socially responsible manner. We can only achieve this goal together through respect and inclusion.

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