Apple and Diversity in 2015

Apple updated the Diversity section of their site, including a new letter from Tim Cook about the progress they've made since last year. He details numbers and efforts, and concludes (emphasis mine):

Some people will read this page and see our progress. Others will recognize how much farther we have to go. We see both. And more important than these statistics, we see tens of thousands of Apple employees all over the world, speaking dozens of languages, working together. We celebrate their differences and the many benefits we and our customers enjoy as a result.

Three words sum up Apple's attitude perfectly, and not just when it comes to this particular topic. Apple's greatest competitor is themselves, and the benchmarks to which they hold themselves accountable are based on the expectations they have for each other. Each win shifts that bar higher. Yes, they can be proud of the work that they do, but if they want to continue being proud, they need to surmount their previous successes. This is an idea that is at the core of their culture.

They have a lot to be proud of with regards to their emphasis on diversity. I was already impressed with them last year, when they first created this page and declared their emphasis on transparency with regards to their hiring efforts. They continue to lead the way with being open and honest, and it speaks volumes that a company as large and successful as Apple still sees a huge opportunity in how they do things.

Hiring a more diverse workforce isn't the only important thing, however, and that's why I love that their page is titled, "Inclusion & Diversity." Diversity for the sake of diversity is meaningless if the people calling the shots are still the established, segregated executive team. A company could definitely focus on hiring more minorities for the sake of padding their numbers, but Apple understands that it's about also giving everyone an equal voice.

"Inclusion inspires innovation." That's the header. Gather a team of different backgrounds, different culutures, different experiences. Let them work together. Treat them as equals (so fucking crazy, right?). Allow them to be individuals and to speak their minds.

Inclusion. Apple encourages this from the top down. It was drilled into our heads from the moment we began at Apple Retail, and it's something that's embraced wholeheartedly (for the most part). "Your unique experiences help us be better." Not only does this help teams work together more effectively; it ultimately produces better products, better experiences for customers and employees alike.

"We see both." I love this line. Tim drives this point home. They have work to do. Steps have been made, but they are striving for leaps. I've loved watching their Executive Profiles page evolve over time (especially the relatively recent inclusion of Denise Young Smith, who is just one of the most delightful people), and I can only imagine we'll see even greater changes as Tim continues to shape his version of the company.

I'm reminded of the first line of the Apple Retail credo:

At Apple, our most important resource, our soul, is our people.

Tim is enriching Apple's soul. There's a long road ahead for them, but they're shining a light down a path that all others would do well to follow.