In a remarkable interview with The HR Digest, Mary Hassett shared how ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’ is being firmly anchored into Lam Research’s philosophy, how the company is bridging the diversity gap in executive leadership, and shed light on the upcoming Inclusion Index.
Leading Through the Unexpected
The HR Digest: What changes from the past year are working well for Lam Research?
Mary Hassett: Our global team showed great resiliency in the face of unprecedented circumstances in 2020, and Lam had a tremendously successful year as a result. However, through employee listening sessions, surveys, and conversations with our global HR network, we heard our employees were struggling with feelings of fatigue and social isolation during the continued global pandemic environment.
In response, earlier this year, we launched a new series of initiatives called WorkWise, specifically designed to promote wellness, support, and engagement in the workplace. To start, we added wellness holidays and rolled out new meeting practices to limit video call fatigue, including adding time for breaks between meetings, setting reasonable boundaries around our workdays, and encouraging no video calls on Fridays. We’ve launched an internal site that we continuously update with new resources to support employee wellbeing and engagement. There were many existing resources available that we elevated, such as our Employee Assistance Program, our wellness platform, and care-giving support for children and family members. We’re looking comprehensively at things we can do to improve the employee experience and remain agile and resilient in times of challenge.
What challenges did you come across while working as a CHRO at Lam Research? How did you manage these challenges?
It’s been wonderful to be part of a growing company. And the unprecedented growth in the size of our workforce is one of our biggest challenges in HR. While we were already planning for a big hiring year, we are exceeding hiring estimates by over 40%, and that has required the entire HR organization to be agile.
Our talent acquisition team stepped up to hire quality candidates in higher-than-expected volume by dedicating additional recruiting, vetting, and onboarding support. And we are engaging more with every new hire to make sure they understand and feel part of our culture. This is especially important for new hires who are onboarding remotely or joining one of our new manufacturing facilities. We’re sending welcome packages, asking for feedback about the hiring experience, and local leaders are reaching out and making connections. The bottom line is making sure our growing team of Lam employees the world over have a consistent, fulfilling, and engaging experience.
You have focused on employee engagement and company culture extensively during your progressive years. How do you plan to maintain these HR practices in the ever-evolving industry?
We have a highly engaged workforce, and we are focused on maintaining that engagement through a period of unprecedented growth. We’re examining closely the moments that matter to employees, like the onboarding experience, the transition from individual contributor to people manager, and significant life events outside of work like the birth of a child. In my experience, the employee’s manager plays a critical role in these and so many other moments.
Managers really drive the employee experience through the quality of their connections with their teams, how they communicate expectations and priorities, and where and when they step up as their best advocates. As leaders, we can design policies and programs to strengthen engagement like flexible and hybrid work schedules, expanded parental leave, or added holidays to promote well-being. But we rely on managers to champion those policies and deliver the greatest positive impact within their teams. The ones who do it well often have some great advice to share, so we continue to learn from the best to help teach the rest.
Can you tell The HR Digest readers more about Lam Research’s strategies to raise the bar of leadership and diversity in the workplace?
We just launched a new brand a few months ago, and as part of that we added Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) as one of our Core Values. I&D is something we have always stood for —attracting the most talented people, fostering a culture where everyone can contribute their best, and leveraging diverse perspectives to drive breakthrough innovations. Making I&D one of nine drivers of how we behave is really one of the strongest commitments we can make, and we’re backing up that commitment with actions and holding ourselves accountable.
To offer a few examples —this year in our annual Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report, we shared more information about the diversity of our global team than ever before, and we publicly stated our plans to promote diversity in our workforce and in our supply chain. Also, beginning in 2022, every manager will be scored on an Inclusion Index based on their responses in our annual employee survey. The leaders of each team will then be asked to play their part to foster a more inclusive culture at Lam, and we’ll support them with the tools and resources to do that. We’re ready to take our commitment to Inclusion and Diversity to a new level.
What’s next for Lam Research?
We’re looking closely at the workplace of the future as we move toward a hybrid model with more flexibility in terms of where people work, activating managers to help us deliver a great workplace experience, and keeping always at the forefront the safety and well-being of our global team. Our industry is in a period of tremendous growth, so we’ll rely heavily on our new Core Values of Agility and Inclusion and Diversity to bring our global team together around our common goals and respond effectively to challenges and opportunities. And following the launch of our new brand this year, we’ll be raising our profile with prospective employees. For much of Lam’s history, our reputation as a technology leader and a great place to work has been largely known only to those in our part of the semiconductor industry. We’re looking to change that by spreading the word about our purpose and our value proposition as an employer of choice.
Mary Hassett joined Lam Research in August 2020 as the new Chief Human Resources Officer and is responsible for leading the company’s global HR organization. In this role, Hassett is charged with aligning Lam’s valued people resources to the company’s strategic priorities with a strong focus on leadership development, employee engagement and company culture.
Photo: Lam Research
This interview was published in the January 2022 issue of The HR Digest.