As a new entity, having separated from Danaher Corporation in 2019, global dental products company Envista has both a long and short history. Part of an industry that has historically lacked both a diverse workforce and a focus on diversity and inclusion, Envista is seizing this opportunity to shift its focus.
“It hadn’t been an area of focus; it hadn’t been a priority. For so long, GP and orthodontists have been men, Caucasian men, but we’re seeing that landscape starting to shift,” says Meisha Sherman, chief diversity officer at Envista and vice president of HR at Ormco, a company under the Envista umbrella.
To Envista, prioritizing diversity and inclusion means building a diverse pipeline of talent, fostering a culture of inclusion and ensuring opportunities for the advancement of employees from underrepresented groups. One way the company is working toward this is by partnering with The Consortium, says Sherman.
“When you look at early-career, diverse talent, we know that The Consortium is definitely the place to go,” she says. “The way that talent is developed and the investment The Consortium makes in the talent and preparing them for incredible opportunities with great organizations like ours fits into our talent development strategy.”
For Consortium students and alums, Envista strives to provide not only quality career opportunities but also mentorship and resources — meaning people, money, time and knowledge, Sherman notes. Making sure they are giving back to the students via thought leadership and opportunities to understand the corporate world generally and Envista specifically is also important, says Sean Strachan, global university talent and programs manager.
A Culture of Belonging
More than just a diverse and inclusive workplace, Sherman, Strachan and their colleagues are working to build a culture of belonging, one where employees can be their “true, authentic selves,” Sherman says. “A diverse and inclusive culture also speaks to a place where we can be unapologetic about who we are.”
Adding to that, Strachan says that Envista wants to be a place where diverse perspectives and experiences are celebrated as well as utilized to achieve goals.
Through its employee resource groups (ERGs), Envista strives to create an inclusive culture and a safe space for employees to share experiences, discuss challenges and concerns and celebrate different cultures.
These groups — of which there are currently two, for women and multicultural employees — meet regularly, in alignment with Envista’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. They are currently working to plan a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event as well as events in recognition of Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March. In addition, in connection with some of the company’s national sales meetings, the women’s ERG is developing sessions focused specifically on women.
“Our women’s ERG is bringing our female customers, orthodontists, dentists and NGPs together to talk about their success in this space as a woman [and provide] panels for learning,” says Sherman.
These groups also serve another function by helping the company develop and advance its diverse talent.
“The purpose is to partner and align with the leadership teams to build a culture of respect, authenticity and belonging, to create a safe space for those groups that are underrepresented to grow and learn, to be a sounding board, to [help us] retain talent, acquire talent, promote talent — to drive business,” says Sherman.
The ERGS — of which Sherman says the company will eventually have more — are a resource to be tapped, especially when it comes to succession planning and ensuring diverse representation in those plans. These internal channels can serve as an invaluable resource, Strachan says.
“I think a lot of times, people forget about the networks in their own company with these resource groups,” he says, “and they forget to reach out to ask ‘Do you know of anyone who might have a great skill set or great background that matches or aligns with this position?’”
Through this approach, Envista is making an effort to focus not just on its external pipeline but also its internal one to help build diverse candidate slates for when openings arise. As a young company, however, Sherman admits they are still learning and growing in this area. But with a commitment from the top, a passion for this work and active engagement, she is confident in Envista’s ability to achieve the culture it’s so fully committed to building.
“We want to create the kind of culture, the kind of environment where we belong, where we can be authentic, where we value diversity,” says Sherman. “It’s a work in progress and we’re really building that foundation. Are we there yet? The short answer is ‘no.’ But we are certainly on our path, and I know that my voice is heard.”