Tulsa Companies Recognized for Inclusive Workforces

With spotless floors and spic and span workstations, the new Baker Hughes barely resembles the old one.

"It was a dirty, grimy, greasy environment," said Baker Hughes Operations Director Ron Neill.

Profits weren't that shiny either. So a culture change was implemented, and with it, a new look at potential employees.

"The talent pool was just tremendous as we kept broadening what we were looking at and going out there and looking at different cultures, different mindsets, it was just, the light bulbs started going off," he said.

An approach that helped them earn recognition from the Tulsa Regional Chamber for embracing inclusion.

"When it comes time to bring people to Tulsa, or retain them, they have to feel like they are welcome," said Denise Reid of the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

It's an issue for which Oklahoma as a whole has a ways to go.

"I think over 60% of our participants said Oklahoma is not welcoming," said Risha Grant, citing a survey her firm recently conducted. Her company, Xposure, Inc., has been working for nearly 15 years to get companies up to speed on diversity.

"At first, I felt like the lone ranger for a very long time, " she said.

In part, because companies didn't equate inclusion with improving the bottom line.

"And our whole focus is the economics of diversity, not the feel good, we should all get along, and we should all love each other, but how does this increase my bottom line? And it does that by creating a competitive advantage through the value of your employees," she said.

"Yeah, we have a big variety of diversity here," said Shalisa Klintworth at Baker Hughes.

The real world results of which can be seen at Baker Hughes.

"Our efficiencies have dramatically gone up, our profitability has skyrocketed," said Neill.

Embracing diversity, with a payoff that's more than just dollars and cents.

"Well, because it takes all kinds of people to make the world go round," said Klintworth.