Yvette Hunsicker - Leaders recognized for establishing consistent DEI strategies in their organizations
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your role at your company?
A: I lead Honda’s philanthropic efforts in the U.S. and inclusion and diversity initiatives in North America. My role also includes overseeing the Honda USA Foundation and community relations programs, and work to advance inclusion and equity both within the company and society. My career at Honda has spanned more than 30 years, including a broad range of roles and leadership positions. I started my career at Honda as a welding associate in a manufacturing plant and steadily advanced through the company’s manufacturing operations while earning my bachelor’s degree in business management. These experiences have given me a unique perspective on Honda’s diversity, equity and inclusion.
Q: Why is diversity equity and inclusion important to your company?
A: Honda philosophy is grounded in respect for all people. Our founders established a culture of initiative, equality and mutual trust where every person is afforded respect and the opportunity to fulfill their life’s potential.
We believe our differences can make us stronger and that a diverse workforce is the key to innovation. That’s why we’ve long strived to bring together people who represent different cultures, backgrounds, race, gender and sexual orientation to work as one Honda team.
Q: How has your company’s DE&I strategy evolved over the past couple of years as the spotlight has been put on the country’s lingering racial inequality and social injustice issues?
A: Like many in America, the social awakening of 2020 led us to reexamine our efforts and ensure that we are truly living our values as a company. After deep reflection, we committed to new actions that will advance our own inclusiveness and strengthen our commitment to fairness, justice and racial equality.
One of those actions was being more transparent as a company with our diversity information, which led us earlier this year to publish Honda’s first-ever Inclusion & Diversity Report: “Living Our Values.” The report shares comprehensive data on the diversity of our U.S. operations, including our workforce, dealers, suppliers and corporate giving. We issued this report to share our progress, but just as importantly, to hold ourselves accountable for putting our values into action.
We also have implemented several initiatives to increase inclusiveness within our company. These include improved processes in our [human resources] hiring practices to create diverse interview panels, including processes to ensure diverse candidate slates, mentorship and sponsorship programs, Business Resource Groups (BRGs), and inclusive leadership and anti-racism training programs, and ensure equitable promotions. And, we developed a metric to guide the company’s commitment to reflecting society at every level of the organization, particularly in leadership by 2030. As a company, we acknowledge that we have more work to do when it comes to inclusion and diversity. We are making progress, and we will continue to work to create the inclusion and diversity that will make us stronger as a company and as a community partner.
Q: What area of DE&I is still a challenge despite increased visibility and acceptance?
A: Despite increased visibility and focus on DE&I across all industries, one of the major challenges that remains is stabilizing the workforce. Many companies are facing labor shortages, and the competition for talent is steep, especially when it comes to diverse talent. We need to continue to look for ways to bolster their diverse recruitment activities.
Q: How does supplier diversity and minority business development fit into your company’s DE&I strategy?
A: We are committed to growing inclusive business relationships in both our supplier and dealer networks, and we have dedicated initiatives to help us achieve that. One of Honda’s critically successful initiatives is an annual conference we host, the Honda Partnership Network, which is aimed at connecting our Tier I suppliers with minority-owned suppliers. We set specific diversity spending targets for our Tier I suppliers, and the conference is a “match-making” event where they can meet with representatives of diverse-owned businesses. Through this Honda Partnership Network, supplier engagement and other activities, we have increased our purchasing spend with diverse companies by nearly $1 billion since the program launched in 2015.
Q: What is the next-step change in DE&I, and why is it important to reach that level?
A: It’s important to commit to advancing inclusion and diversity in both the workplace and society, but that alone is not enough. We must continue to accelerate ethnic and gender representation at every level, but particularly in leadership. We need to move forward toward intentional actions and activities such as ongoing associate development, implementing new hiring and promotion processes, boosting diversity recruitment activities and leveraging strategic partnerships to encourage change and continue to attract diverse talent.
To learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion at Honda, visit csr.Honda.com/diversity.