In 2019, we were again recognized by the Human Rights Campaign on their 2019 list of Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality, the 100% Corporate Equality Index. Eaton has received this recognition for four consecutive years, earning a perfect score each year. Companies are rated on criteria in five categories: non-discrimination policies, employment benefits, demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBTQ diversity and inclusion, public commitment to LGBTQ equality, and responsible citizenship.
To be successful, we must create an inclusive, safe and engaging workplace where every employee has an opportunity to learn, grow and be healthy. To deliver on this, we sponsor and promote Inclusion Employee Resource Groups (iERGs). In 2019, these employee-led resource groups grew to more than 10,000 employees, including expansion into Mexico and China.
Our four pillars serve as the global focus areas for inclusion and diversity:
Inclusion Eaton Resource Groups (iERGs) bring together employees who share a common purpose, interest or background. These eight iERGs promote a welcoming, inclusive work environment that embraces difference and encourages the participation of all employees:
Inclusion ERGs are a place for employees to collaborate and provide or receive mentoring and professional development. Moreover, iERGs introduce new employees to our organizational culture and help to build and maintain employee engagement, satisfaction and retention.
Currently, our eight iERGs have grown over ten percent over the past year and now have more than 10,300 members in 60 countries, including expansion into Mexico and China.
The WAVE and ENGAGE iERGs operate on a global basis, with more than 120 local groups (called myWAVE and myENGAGE). In the United States, the Veterans iERG serves members of the military and support allies. In 2016, we launched three additional iERGs in the U.S.: SOAR in support of our Asian-American employees; iConnect, supporting Black/African-American/People of Color employees; and #VAMOS!, supporting our Hispanic-American and Latino employees. We also launched a North American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender iERG (Eaton Pride), which expanded to Mexico and parts of Europe in 2018. Our enABLE iERG is focused on raising awareness of physical, mental and emotional abilities and creating a supportive environment for employees with disabilities. Launched in 2018, the enABLE iERG expanded in 2019 across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
These iERGs help us identify priorities, break down barriers to change the culture, engage in business projects and get involved in initiatives to attract, retain and develop talent. Some of their activities include webinars, speakers, stretch assignment projects, networking events and roundtables with executives.
And the iERGs can be change agents:
We are proud of the impact iERGs have had at Eaton. Their activities are engaging and empowering thousands around the world.
The Eaton mentoring program is another resource for developing and advancing our diverse talent. The formal mentoring program is designed as a mutual process between a paired mentor and mentee to focus on specific development needs aligned with the employee's short- and long-term career aspirations.
The iERGs and mentoring program support our aspirational goals and nurture an inclusive work environment through mentoring, education and development opportunities. They also support the strategy and objectives set by Eaton's Global Inclusion Council and the four Regional Inclusion Councils.
In 2014, we launched our full-day leadership experience, Valuing Inclusion & Diversity at Eaton—The Power of Perspectives (VID), globally to all leaders of people. Since then, more than 5,800 leaders have attended, with the objective of increasing awareness of personal biases, developing inclusive leadership skills and advancing a culture of inclusion. Participants have said the experience is eye-opening and has positively impacted their perceptions. To reinforce their VID learning, leaders have access to Moment of Choice tools that were created to aid and encourage their journey from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion.
Balancing work-life effectiveness is a common concern voiced by our employees. And, with the number of dual income and single-parent households rising around the world, our culture must be supportive of our employees in weighing work, family and personal demands. Flexible work solutions and inclusive programs will help us remain competitive in attracting the best talent and make it possible for employees in various situations to be able to remain at Eaton.
As of the end of 2019, over 900 employees have participated in our Flexible Work Solutions program at 34 U.S. and over 20 global sites. Flexible solutions include compressed work weeks, remote working, job sharing, part-time work, flextime and telework. These inclusive programs will help realize our objective to hire and retain the very best talent and remain competitive.
Small and diverse businesses fuel the economy by creating jobs and delivering innovative solutions. We believe that encouraging these organizations to compete for our business benefits us and our communities. An ongoing effort by the office of Supplier Diversity identifies potential partners among the small businesses and minority-, U.S. veteran- and women-owned companies across the United States.
Eaton’s combined spending with minority, women and veteran-owned diverse businesses was greater than 33 percent of supplier spending in the U.S. in 2019 with a total of $829 million going to minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses. Collectively, we purchased $1.9 billion of goods and services from small and diverse suppliers in 2019. Eaton purchases with minority-owned firms increased by more than 1.5 percent while purchases with women-owned business grew over 14 percent and purchases with veteran-owned businesses increased more than 9 percent. Learn more about supplier diversity at Eaton.