Equity In Action:
The Un-carrier Approach to DE&I

By Holli Martinez, Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at T-MobileJune 24, 2021

Just over a year ago, the newly-merged T-Mobile set in motion our strategy to become a bigger - and better - company. As we drive the Un-carrier spirit forward, putting people first remains at our core. More than ever, customers, employees, and shareholders engage with and invest in brands that genuinely and authentically live their values - those that reflect and invest in their communities.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) isn't a new concept for the Un-carrier, and following our merger with Sprint, we recognized an opportunity to evolve and expand our commitment to these values that have always been at our core. Further catalyzed by the societal unrest and injustice we witnessed last year, this was a turning point for T-Mobile to leverage its new resources to better serve all of our employees, customers and communities where we operate. We seized the moment and created a way forward that we call Equity In Action.

Equity In Action (EIA) is more than how we talk about our DE&I efforts – it is a practical plan. EIA offers a roadmap that inspires us to lead by example, put people first and ensure DE&I remains at the center of everything we do.

And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING: the values we live by, the investments we make in our employees, the products and services we offer, the suppliers we do business with and the communities we advocate for.

First, we listened to our employees.

We knew that we had a lot of work ahead of us, and we wanted to make sure our plan incorporated direct, honest feedback from our employees. We hired an external diversity and inclusion consultant to conduct 13 focus groups with employees from different races, cultural backgrounds, skillsets and levels of work experience. This process took time, but we knew that no one understands our business, pain points and strengths better than our own employees. Their feedback offered a wealth of insight to help us map out a plan that addressed specifically where we need to evolve, shift and align our actions with our culture and values.

Our five-year EIA plan includes multi-faceted DE&I efforts across three focus areas:

  • Talent. We will recruit, retain and develop the best team in the history of our industry while increasing diversity in our leadership at every level.
  • Culture. Where others see numbers, we see people, and our culture is proof. We will focus on providing our employees with tools to build inclusive habits and behaviors as part of their day-to-day lives. By putting inclusion at the core of our culture, our employees will be inspired to build equitable products and services for our customers.
  • Brand. We will remain steadfast in advocating for underrepresented communities by doing our part to eradicate the homework gap and giving everyone access to cutting-edge 5G technology. We will also create workforce and educational opportunities that will help make the 5G era and the innovation economy equitable for all.

Championing DE&I is not only a social challenge, but also a systems challenge.

The first step of our EIA plan is to assess and update our systems so that we're laying the foundation for deep cultural transformation. Systems are current processes we have in place, including our Employee Resource Groups, our talent pipeline, and our customer-based product research and development. In some cases, we are creating new systems that will improve the employee and customer experience. Through hiring, training and developing each member of the T-Mobile team to their fullest potential, our systems will be optimized for equity.

Our work will take time, but we've already begun identifying the right priorities and goals, developing behaviors that drive those priorities, and fortifying the systems that reward and support those practices. This effort builds upon the public DE&I promises we have already made, with the support of our External Diversity & Inclusion Council.

We will work to fulfill these promises over the next five years, but their impact will be felt sooner –and it will extend beyond our initial plan as we continue growing and evolving as a company.

We’ve made a lot of progress to-date.

In addition to the EIA promises we’ve already completed and tracked, we’ve established new programs for our employees, customers and communities. For example, our NextTech Diversity Program provides career training and placement for thousands of underrepresented candidates to take on roles as 5G network technicians, and our Lead Magenta Next development program creates more opportunities for previously untapped talent and strengthens our recruiting pipeline. We also recently launched an enterprise-wide training called One Team, Together Learning Journey, which will take all employees through an expansive multi-year experience to help them form more inclusive habits in the workplace.

Right now, we're focused on empowering our employees. We've given everyone on Team Magenta the shared responsibility and accountability to be a part of Equity In Action and help us move this work forward. By starting with our team, we're doing DE&I our way, with integrity and authenticity.

But the work won’t end there. We are planning years into the future, and we’ll work in tandem with the extraordinary members of our External Diversity and Inclusion Council — some of the best advocates and thinkers in the DE&I space — to hold us accountable to the promises we’ve made. These are major steps, but they’re just the first on a lifelong journey of learning and growing. We take them together, collectively, as a company that supports and cares for all of the individuals who comprise it.