At DiversityInc’s black-tie event, we honored eight companies for their remarkable and unique achievements in specific areas of diversity management. CEOs and top executives were on hand to receive the awards and explain their commitment to diversity management and their results.
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Here are the awards, the recipients, their comments and the reason we selected these companies. The companies will be featured all year long in this magazine.
Top Company for Executive Development
Ernst & Young, No. 5 in The 2010 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity
Steve Howe, Americas Area Managing Partner
Ernst & Young has a strong and disciplined approach to talent development, coming from a deep understanding of how a diverse and innovative staff enhances client relationships and drives new business. Under the direction of Billie Williamson, Americas inclusiveness officer, the firm has set the standard for finding and nurturing talent, especially from traditionally underrepresented groups.
Specific efforts include:
- Leadership Matters: A program to develop transformational leadership capabilities that explores the impact of unintended bias and inspires inclusive leadership at all levels
- Career Watch: Identifies women, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, LGBT professionals and those working with disabilities at all levels who have been at the firm for at least five years and have potential to make partner, a process that generally takes 12 to 14 years
- Inclusive Leadership Program: Pairs high-potential Blacks, Latinos, Asians, LGBT professionals or those working with disabilities in mentoring relationships with members of the Americas Executive Board
Steve Howe, Americas area managing partner, accepted the award on behalf of Ernst & Young and encouraged DiversityInc “to keep pushing us because you are making us better.”
“Our focus on diversity and inclusion continues to be very high on our strategic agenda,” Howe said. “We believe at Ernst & Young we need to attract the very best. They need to believe that they will be included, that they will have every chance at development, that our leaders will engage them and that they really can have a successful career.”
Top Company for Global Cultural Competence
Procter & Gamble, No. 18 in the DiversityInc Top 50
Bob McDonald, Chairman, CEO & President
In the complex and evolving world of global diversity management, P&G is one of the few companies to define its efforts to understand local cultures, supporting its purpose to touch and improve lives. With 127,000 employees in 80 countries, P&G has a Cultures @ Work program that enhances understanding of all its employees.
- Started in Asia in 2003 and now has 170 certified practitioners globally
- Employees observe and analyze cultural similarities and differences and receive individual coaching
- There are customized trainings for teams
Accepting the award on behalf of Procter & Gamble was Bob McDonald, chairman, CEO and president, who said that leveraging diversity and inclusion “leads to bigger and better innovations” and that innovation was the lifeblood of his company.
“Our diversity and inclusion mission is simple and, we think, inspiring: everyone valued, everyone included, everyone performing at their peak,” McDonald told the audience. “But the essence of our diversity and inclusion mission is we have to touch and improve the lives of our employees, one person at a time. We all have the same needs, the same need for recognition, accomplishments, success, belonging, fulfillment and respect. But our needs are expressed differently through different languages, customs, practices and rituals. This means the Golden Rule is no longer good enough. It’s not good enough to treat others the way you want to be treated. We have to follow the Platinum Rule, and this is the rule at P&G. Treat other people the way they want to be treated.”
Top Company for Talent Pipeline
AT&T, No. 3 in the DiversityInc Top 50
Laura Sanford, president of AT&T Foundation
This remarkable company has a very deep-rooted commitment to improving the communities it serves, which starts at the top with Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. AT&T also recognizes the gap in future workforce talent that will be coming over the next few years and is proactively addressing that problem. The AT&T Foundation has committed an unprecedented $100 million to AT&T Aspire, a philanthropic effort to stem the high-school-dropout rate, which is particularly acute among low-income Black and Latino students. AT&T Aspire includes:
- Job shadowing for 100,000 students in conjunction with Junior Achievement, the largest corporate job-shadowing Junior Achievement has ever undertaken
- Grants for school districts and nonprofits focused on high-school retention and preparing students for the workforce, with particular attention to at-risk students
- Commissioning the next chapter of major research on solutions to the high-school-dropout rate
“AT&T believes our greatest challenge and our obligation as business leaders is to make sure we are preparing our nation’s children to enter the workforce and fill our talent pipeline,” said Laura Sanford, president of AT&T Foundation, who accepted the award on behalf of the company. “Let me share with you some alarming statistics: By 2020, three-quarters of all jobs in America will be highly paid and require high skills that will require an estimated 123 million Americans to fill those jobs. However, at current high-school- and college-graduation rates, an astonishing shortfall of only 50 million Americans are expected to qualify for them. This reality is why we created AT&T Aspire.”
She said AT&T’s signature philanthropic giving program focuses on high-school success and workforce-readiness initiatives.
“Our dollars target programs that serve those most at risk for dropping out and with the least access to programs that can help them develop the skills they need for career success,” Sanford told the audience. “We’re also pleased to see more programs emerging that stay with their clients through their early years in the workplace, helping them break through the barriers that still exist that are preventing all populations from being represented at the levels they should be in mid- and senior-level management.”
Top Company for Employee-Resource Groups
Aetna, No. 30 in the DiversityInc Top 50
Ronald A. Williams, Chairman & CEO
Under the guidance of Chief Diversity Officer Raymond Arroyo, Aetna has been raising the bar for employee-resource groups in corporate America. The use of innovative groups, the measurement of how the groups are improving the workforce and the ability to have these groups directly interact with Aetna’s corporate clients is making a difference at this company and serving as a role model for others. Specifically:
- Aetna has piloted a groundbreaking study of employee engagement, showing that employees who are members of employee-resource groups are 10 percent more engaged than those who are not
- Aetna has pioneered very innovative employee-resource groups, including a teleworkers group, an extremely active young professionals’ group and, recently, its first religious employee-resource group
- The company uses its employee-resource groups to drive client business and to meet with key external stakeholders at a level that is rare—if not unprecedented—in corporate America
“One of the things we are proudest of is the link between what we do around employee engagement and the values of the company,” said Ronald A. Williams, chairman and CEO, who accepted the award on behalf of Aetna. “What we have found is when we listened to our employees and took actions on what they told us, it was good for us, it was good for them and it was good for their customers.”
Williams told the audience that every year his company gives its employees an 80-question survey that takes about 40 minutes to complete.
“Last year we had 96 percent of our employees complete the survey, and the reason they completed it is they know we pay an enormous amount of attention to it at my executive committee table,” he said. “We started the whole notion of employee-resource groups back in 1992. Today, we have 15 [ERGs that] represent 14,000 employees. One of the most important groups that we listened to turned out to be a group we call the teleworkers, and these are people who worked at home. They formed an employee-resource group and helped us develop a business strategy … [and today] we have reached a point where 40 percent of our employees work at home. It’s been absolutely terrific for retention. Employee satisfaction has gone up and those employees, in terms of meeting the needs of our customers, have absolutely outstanding customer-satisfaction scores. ERGs are important for a variety of reasons but fundamentally they are a link between our business strategy and listening to our employees tell us what is important to them and how it links very much to the values we have as an organization.”
Top Company for Diversity-Management Progress
JCPenney, No. 46 in the DiversityInc Top 50
Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, Chairman & CEO
In the past two years, no company has made such dramatic strides in improving its diversity-management game as JCPenney. With a deep commitment from CEO Mike Ullman, the company has vaulted on to the DiversityInc Top 50 for the first time and is making great strides at reaching its increasingly multicultural customer base. Specifically:
- JCPenney started a diversity council, which is chaired by Ullman and consists of senior executives. This is a very active, involved council, which is reviewing metrics and strategies on a continuous basis
- The company has enhanced the visibility and use of its associate-resource groups, creating regional councils and working with the groups to understand specific customer markets
- A modest company, JCPenney is becoming more comfortable about publicly branding itself as a diversity leader as it reaches more employees, customers and suppliers
Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, chairman and CEO, accepted the award on behalf of JCPenney and said he liked the fact that his company was recognized for “progress.”
“We are on a journey,” he said. “We are transforming the company in a rather dramatic way.” Ullman told the audience that for the past two years, JCPenney has been ranked No. 1 in the American Express Customer Service poll—”ahead of Nordstrom, I’m proud to say.”
“We think that is in large part because of the quality of our associates and the talent we have been able to attract and retain at the company,” he said. “Five years ago, only 20 percent of our store managers were women … and I’m proud to say that five years later over 40 percent of our store managers are women. The diversity of our population has dramatically improved … We found out in a study that satisfied customers don’t spend any more [money] or come more frequently [to the store] than dissatisfied customers. So if that’s all you knew, you wouldn’t spend that much time focusing on customer satisfaction and customer service. But we also learned that highly satisfied customers come 20 percent more often and spend 16 percent more in the store, so our entire focus on customer satisfaction has been about associate engagement.”
Top Company for Generational Communications
Deloitte, No. 25 in the DiversityInc Top 50
Barry Salzberg, CEO
Recognizing the generational gaps well before other organizations, Deloitte has pioneered research and solutions on talent development, performance, engagement and communications, especially between millennials, Gen X’ers and boomers. Specifically:
- Deloitte has done extensive generational research, including an in-depth analysis on millennials, also known as Gen Y’ers, and their potential and needs to assume leadership roles
- The organization has also added industry-specific generational data/research, such as an analysis presented at the North American International Auto Show on Gen Y’s attitudes and perceptions about vehicles
Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte, accepted the award on behalf of the company and thanked DiversityInc “for keeping corporate America focused on the important issue of diversity and inclusion.”
To highlight the challenges companies are facing integrating four very different generations into one harmonious workplace, Salzberg directed the audience’s attention to the simple analogy of “rabbit ears,” the 1950s-style moveable antennas that, once upon a time, sat on top of television sets to help viewers get a clearer picture.
“In a way, the difference between the older generation and the younger generation is very much like the difference between rabbit ears and cable television,” he said. “Watching TV with rabbit ears required commitment. Adjusting the reception was a hands-on job and, very often, the minute you sat down the picture got fuzzy again and you had to get up and start all over. Sometimes you could only solve the problem by wrapping aluminum foil around the top of the antennas or getting up to change the channel—which, by the way, were few in number. Now for the younger generation, by comparison, all you have ever experienced in this scenario is turning on the television with a remote control and the picture is always high quality, always synched up perfectly with the sound. If you wanted to change to one of the hundreds of channels available, you don’t even have to leave your seat. You just push the button. And so it is with our workforce, where the older generation may prefer and expect more traditional, more direct, hands-on methods of engagement, and the younger generation may find these methods off-putting and counterproductive and vice versa. So the key for us has been understanding these differences and using that knowledge to help find ways to connect people and leverage their experiences to achieve their collective goals.”
Top Company for Community Development
Rockwell Collins, one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies
Clay Jones, Chairman, President & CEO
Whether it’s helping build diversity awareness in its hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, launching a global diversity and inclusion strategy in every country where it does business, partnering with nonprofits from traditionally underrepresented groups, or helping low-income students aspire to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, this aerospace and defense company is clearly committed to championing the principles of diversity and inclusion and education in its communities in which it does business. Rockwell Collins:
- Was instrumental in the formation of Diversity Focus, a Cedar Rapids nonprofit whose goal is to increase diversity and cultural competence in Eastern Iowa through education, programming and connecting people
- Supports a wide variety of educational efforts financially and through enthusiastic employee volunteerism, including Engineering Experiences, targeted programs to introduce at-risk students to science and engineering education and careers, and donating computers to nonprofit educational organizations
- Actively supports the Society for Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers and HENAAC to attract more diverse talent into the engineering and technology professions
- Is involved with many nonprofits, including the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), The PhD Project, MentorNet, the National Gem Consortium, the National Organization on Disability, Out & Equal and Women in Engineering Program Advocates Network
Clay Jones, chairman, president and CEO, accepted the award on behalf of his company and joked that even though Rockwell Collins has yet to make the coveted DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity�® list, it was his next target.
“There are a whole bunch of people at that table right back there that are trying to fix that problem right now,” said Jones, pointing to his employees. “And they’re working real hard at it, and Luke [Visconti, CEO of DiversityInc], we’re coming after you. And not to be making excuses [but] there a couple of reasons why we are not there yet. One is because our modern diversity journey is fairly new. We only started it 7–8 years ago. I use the term modern diversity journey because our other [diversity journey] simply didn’t work because it was based on the concept of compliance. As a defense contractor, [compliance] is driven into you, and about 7–8 years ago we realized we had to change. We put a business case together that we could explain to our people, a strategic plan and a host of programs, and frankly, today we are very proud of it and are making a difference in the diversity and inclusiveness of our company.”
Top Company for Working Families
Pfizer, one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies
Cavan Redmond, Group President, Pfizer Diversified Business
On its website, Pfizer states unequivocably: “When you choose a Pfizer career, we provide the resources to help you develop and succeed in both your career and your personal life.” The increasing commitment to its employees’ well-being—and the well-being of their families—makes this company stand out in a field of companies where work/life initiatives are common.
Pfizer’s extraordinary efforts include:
- Adoption reimbursements of up to $10,000 a child
- Educational assistance, loans and scholarships for employees and their children
- Extended family and medical leave, educational leave, civic leave, parental leave and other accommodations to help families. Also, referrals and support for relocation, childcare, eldercare and self-care
“At Pfizer, we take a look at not just our healthcare mission and providing medicines for people around the world but ways we can look at what the individual family needs and create programs that we hope are robust enough to meet the diversity of the needs of those individual families and the diversity of what a family is defined as by you,” said Cavan Redmond, group president of Pfizer Diversified Business, who accepted the award on behalf of the company. “Our hope is that, by leading the way in healthcare and taking a look at family as the core driver in terms of where each of us individually are anchored, we are able to affect lives in a very positive way and affect both the people that we work with and those that we touch every day.”