When the doors to the Marriott Metro Center Ballroom in Washington, D.C., flew open on the evening of March 9, the chatter among the crowd of nearly 400 people, representing about 100 major corporations, government agencies and organizations across the nation, hit a fever pitch in anticipation of the sold-out The 2010 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for DiversityÂ® announcement.
The evening began with a stellar performance by Ron Carter, renowned jazz bassist, who in his 45-year career performing, composing and arranging music has worked with recording artists ranging from Miles Davis to James Brown. Carter currently sits on the board of directors of the Harlem Jazz Music Center.
Carter’s musical backdrop set the stage for Â the much-anticipated announcement of the DiversityInc Top 50 list, now in its 10th year. With 449 participants, an increase of 12 percent from last year’s 401 participants, DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti noted that the competition “has gotten much stiffer” and that this was a challenging year for business.
There was significant movement on this year’s 2010 DiversityInc Top 50 list. Here are a few highlights:
- Ten percent of the 449 participants competed for the first time
- Six companies made the DiversityInc Top 50 for the first time this year. One, Northrop Grumman, the first defense company to make it to the list, was participating for the first time
- Thirty companies moved up in rank; 19 fell. An additional eight fell off DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy list this year. That list is determined by our senior editorial staff and consists of companies that have strong potential to earn spots on the DiversityInc Top 50 next year
The DiversityInc Top 50 list is based on a survey that’s divided into four parts: CEO Commitment, Human Capital, Corporate and Organizational Communications, and Supplier Diversity. For more on the methodology, click here.
Visconti announced that criteria for the 2011 list will be stiffer as the questions will be reviewed and enhanced to further denote significant diversity progress. Personal interviews of the top 100 companies will take place. In addition, a 200-person employee-engagement survey will be required for companies earning spots on the list to measure the connection between diversity-management best practices and workforce results.
To learn more about employee engagement, reserve your tickets to DiversityInc’s Nov. 8â€“9 learning event in Washington, D.C., now.
A prime example of a company that connects diversity metrics to employee engagement is Sodexo, which moved up to the No. 1 spot from No. 6 in 2009. Sodexo has risen steadily over the years and set a new benchmark for diversity in 2010. Visconti noted that the collaborative efforts of Global CEO Michel Landel, U.S. President and CEO George Chavel and Senior Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Rohini Anand have put the company on the front lines of new and expanded diversity initiatives.
Other notable companies that moved up significantly in ranking include Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (No. 19 in the 2010 DiversityInc Top 50), which increased 20 spots from 2009, and KPMG (No. 15), which inched up six spots from last year in the extremely competitive professional-services sector. (Companies are measured directly against their industry competitors.)
Companies new to this year’s DiversityInc Top 50 list include: Cisco Systems (No. 37), Target (No. 40), JCPenney (No. 46), Northrop Grumman (No. 47) and ADP (No. 49). Companies new to DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies list include: AXA Equitable, Continental Airlines, Intercontinental Hotels, Pfizer and Southern Company.