We Evaluate CEO Commitment on Corporate Websites

Ask DiversityIncHow well is your company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion reflected on your website? Is your CEO’s support upfront and clear? DiversityInc’s Senior Vice President of Consulting Denyse Leslie ranks three insurance companies on their diversity-management messaging as part of an ongoing diversity-metrics series assessing diversity communications.

By Denyse Leslie, Senior Vice President of Consulting, DiversityInc

“Put your money where your mouth is.” “Home is where the hearth is.” I grew up with statements like these as guideposts of how to live in a community, how to be authentic and consistent, and a reminder to do what I say I will.

In my review of diversity and inclusion on websites, I found a CEO and diversity statement that both demonstrate these ideals.

GRADE A
Prudential Financial, No. 9 in The 2012 DiversityInc Top 50 

John Strangfeld, chairman and chief executive officer of Prudential Financial echoes these sentiments in what he says and does at Prudential and for Newark, N.J., Prudential’s home for 135 years.

From the Prudential homepage, one click takes you to “Our Company,” where the business case for diversity is well presented. Even though Prudential’s website has dual duty and must speak to consumer and institutional markets, the site conveys that it is invested in its people who, in turn, instill confidence and trust among consumer and institutional clients.

The CEO statement begins with “Difference can make all the difference in the world … we succeed through people …” The sentiment continues in the larger The Power of People statement: “Diversity objectives are treated just like anything else in our business cycle.”

Strangfeld’s bio is easily found on the Prudential site, and it reads well. He is what he says he is. He supports higher education and an equal chance. [Watch the video below to hear Strangfeld accept DiversityInc's 2011 Special Award for Top Company for Community Development at DiversityInc's annual event.]


For closed captions via YouTube, click here then press the CC button.

Prudential invests in the communities in which its employees work. Strangfeld has embraced urban economic development and educational access to quality schools—both public schools and charters. He is behind veterans’ re-employment and as suppliers. I’d say Prudential in the person of John Strangfeld is putting its money where its mouth is.


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GRADE D
MetLife, No. 50 in the 2012 DiversityInc Top 50

Snoopy is the beloved, welcoming and familiar mascot that greets consumer and institutional customers at the MetLife homepage.

Click to “About MetLife.” It’s all about the products and services with the central focal picture being one mainly of white people. The link to diversity is from this page. There, MetLife connects its business to its diversity commitments through case stories, resource-group initiatives and diversity champions. I particularly liked how the company positions its resource groups “to listen and serve”; resource groups are current-day listening posts.

I was impressed by the MetLife’s board diversity, with professional and life experiences that span leadership of the NAACP to the New York Stock Exchange. Still in pursuit of the CEO’s statement, I found on the Executive Officers page Chairman, President and CEO Steven A. Kandarian’s considerable business accomplishments and his external board commitments. However, the site lacks the CEO statement. MetLife’s diversity commitment is clear, but when the CEO statement is not prominent, it’s not as personal.

GRADE F
Company X

Another consumer-insurance company, which we will not name, has a prominent CEO statement on diversity and inclusion, but it is two clicks from the homepage. The statement, however, is outdated: “Diversity is about being human and doing the right thing.” Diversity is about these things, but it’s also about the changing workforce, the changing customer, investing in the economic viability of cities, and enjoying the full benefits of diversity at the senior-leadership table—diversity of thought.

Throughout the website, Company X is pragmatic and scrappy and open for business. It clearly has a number of solid diversity best practices in place that are celebrated on the site. The company’s heart is in the right place. What is personal in this CEO’s statement, however, is not connected to today’s diversity business case. The DiversityInc Top 50 companies have moved on.

Recommendations

  • Make the CEO statement easily searchable.
  • Serve it up early and strong, no more than one click from the homepage.
  • Have the faces of your company be diverse in more than the diversity and careers segments of the website.
  • The CEO bio is another excellent place to beef up and honestly record the many ways your CEO is engaged and that diversity does matter in his or her personal life.
  • Describe senior executives’ multicultural board commitments, how they have invested the company in community development where the company’s people work. Make their diversity personal.
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