Konica Minolta Steps Forward with Confidence & Support

April 3, 2018

Konica Minolta Steps Forward with Confidence and Support

I’ve written before about diversity in the workplace and am proud to see strides taken within Konica Minolta to ensure that our people, and our community not only accept all people for who they are – in gender, in race, in age and in creative thought – but also recognize the important role that different thought leadership plays into our overall success.

Diversity Makes a Difference

A Forbes article on this subject (coined “inclusive decision making”) highlights better business performance with teams that incorporate variety in age, gender and geography. In a study that analyzed 600 business decisions made by 200 different business teams over two years’ time, they found the following differences:

  • Inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87 percent of the time.
  • Teams that follow an inclusive process make decisions two times faster with half the meetings.
  • Decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60 percent better results.[i]

Upward Movement at Konica Minolta

A few years ago, we launched our internal Step Forward program, which provides support for upward movement in a corporate environment.  It started in March of 2015 and we are entering our 4th year. Step Forward provides the tools, motivation and inspiration to help employees navigate on their individual journeys to success. The program is open to all employees, entry level to senior executives, millennials to baby boomers, and men make up 40% of the audience.

Monthly lunch meetings are held and we bring in speakers to talk about various topics to help the employees develop professionally and personally.  Out of a Ramsey campus of 500 employees, we regularly get between 100 and 120 employees at these meetings. We also share these presentations via video on our Step Forward Jam intranet site to reach over 7,000 of our employees nationwide.

Measures of Success

Objectively speaking, we have surveyed the employees that have attended and the overwhelming response was that the Step Forward program has helped the employees in their jobs.

The majority responded as follows:

  • They have been able to apply what they learned in Step Forward to help them perform their job better.
  • The Step Forward program has been beneficial to their career development
  • They have a better relationship with their manager, co-workers and peers because of what they learned through Step Forward
  • The knowledge gained from Step Forward helped them in their working relationship with their customers/vendors/etc.

Subjectively speaking, we can see that so much positive change has come from Step Forward. We aim to always have the employees leave the meetings with information, tools and inspiration to be the best that they can be. Whatever that means to each individual. We are constantly looking for ways to improve upon the program to help the employees on their journeys.

Having such a large support of men in this program has been very positive. There is more of an awareness and understanding of the challenges women face. There is also a better understanding of the differences between men and women. It is extremely important that men are part of conversation to help promote change and at Konica Minolta, we have achieved that.

At Konica Minolta, we work to ensure our commitment to upholding a culture that truly values differences and places a premium on inclusion. I’ve said this before, and I like to reiterate, that this high standard applies to all of our employees and all of our business partners. We are an organization dedicated to leveraging the unique creative talents of every individual, we advocate the principles of equal opportunity for all and are committed to the ideals of fairness, opportunity and mutual respect. I plan to carry on with my regular updates on this topic, so please continue to follow me on Twitter @kaydufernandez.


[i] Forbes. New Research: Diversity + Inclusion = Better Decision Making At Work. Sep 21, 2017.

Kay Du Fernandez
Senior Vice President, Marketing

Kay Du Fernandez leads the creation of innovative marketing strategies throughout the entire customer journey. Through digital disruption, brand awareness, a focus on customer experience, marketing communications and channel management, she works to improve the value we deliver to customers, partners and employees. Her responsibilities also encompass strategic business development and pricing to support sales efforts for Konica Minolta’s U.S. operations. Kay established the Step Forward Program at Konica Minolta to inspire women in professional excellence.