To help deliver our global business objectives, ExxonMobil is committed to building and sustaining a diverse workforce. Diversity strengthens us by promoting unique viewpoints and challenging each of us to think beyond our traditional frames of reference. By fostering an inclusive work environment, we leverage this diversity to create competitive advantage, enabling teams and individuals to be more innovative, resilient, and better equipped to navigate the complex and evolving global energy business. This belief is reflected in our diversity framework and talent management approach.

We are proud of the progress we have made to diversify our workforce and leverage the rich talent pools around the world, but we know there is more work to do. Additional focus, attention and support can be helpful for specific under-represented groups, and our employee resource groups (ERGs) provide this support in line with our broad talent management objectives. Originating in ExxonMobil offices around the world, the ERGs help address population-specific needs, concerns, and opportunities that foster and build a sense of belonging and inclusion to help overcome barriers and develop unique professional skills. These groups allow diverse employees to build effective networks, showcase leadership and can act as a feedback mechanism to senior management.

Established ERGs and networks in Europe include the WIN (Women’s Interest Network); our LGBTQ+ network PRIDE (People for Respect, Inclusion and Diversity of Employees); and ONE (Organization for New Employees) – to name just a few. In 2020, a new ERG called EMBRACE was established in the UK, with the aim of promoting and developing ethnic diversity and inclusion.

Driving change

The idea for EMBRACE was born during the coronavirus lockdowns of 2020 when a combination of factors led to a realisation that there was more ExxonMobil in the UK could do to further support employees from ethnic minority backgrounds. Several external factors brought conversations about race to the forefront and recognition that additional steps could be taken to further support inclusion and diversity objectives for ethnic minorities. At the same time, as the pandemic created new stresses while depriving people of many of the de-stressing outlets that would normally be available, the importance of talking to and connecting with others became greater than ever.

EMBRACE was established and opened to ExxonMobil team members from all ethnic backgrounds and combines the strengths of ERGs like ACE (Asian Connection for Excellence) and BEST (Black Employee Success Team) that operate in other ExxonMobil locations. Aiming to drive positive change, one of the network’s core goals is to support furthering inclusion objectives through awareness of race and specific cultural considerations on workplace relevant topics.

“We want it to be normal to have conversations about race in the workplace,” explains EMBRACE co-chair Funmi Akinfenwa. The EMBRACE team believes it’s important to further create an environment where people can learn about the topic together with no expectations for anyone to be an expert or to have all the answers.

Overcoming obstacles

EMBRACE is committed to working on overcoming any remaining barriers to making progress towards ethnic diversity and inclusion. ExxonMobil strives to provide a productive work environment that values the wide-ranging perspectives of a diverse workforce and fosters individual growth and achievement. This comprises ensuring all employees, including ethnic minority employees, feel they can fully leverage the company’s foundational policies and programs to address potential issues that arise in the workplace and that are not consistent with ExxonMobil’s standards of business conduct.

The network’s activities include organising communications and events like lunch and learn sessions, diversity panels featuring members of senior management, and workshops exploring, understanding and mitigating unconscious bias. Some of these events are planned in collaboration with other ExxonMobil ERGs to broaden inclusion objectives.

EMBRACE has also contributed to a cross-ERG mentoring program. Working with the HR team, the network helped ensure that the program takes also in the perspectives of ethnic minority employees, reflecting their background, experiences, and specific challenges they may face.

Under the broader ERG mission, EMBRACE future activity will focus on furthering inclusion objectives through internal education and awareness to encourage employee retention, and attracting new talent through community outreach and external engagement.


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