Last week I was part of a group of Herman Miller employees from various Inclusiveness Resource Teams (IRTs) who attended a luncheon honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as part of the annual Civil Rights Celebration Week at Hope College. It’s the fifth year in a row that Herman Miller has sponsored the event.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Lawrence J. Pijeaux, Jr., President and CEO, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Dr. Pijeaux’s presentation, “MLK and Birmingham: Turning Point of the Civil Rights Movement,” brought to mind that impactful and powerful movements are often attributed to an individual or at most a few individuals, when in reality it is the words and actions of many that lead to the resulting change. This is also true in the business world. The CEO or president of a company may set the strategy for its success, but it is the many employees who execute the strategy that make it a reality.
At Herman Miller, I have seen the impact of the average employee as we focus on our strategy to work for a better world. Our IRTs and Inclusiveness and Diversity team have expanded our awareness of the uniqueness of each individual through education programs, policy changes, and access to more resources. We have made amazing progress toward our environmentally-focused 2020 goals through the work of more than 400 employees. And our safety incident rate has steadily declined because of the decisions made every day by every employee.