DiversityInc research shows that diversity councils, especially those comprised of executives at the highest level of the organization, used to be almost entirely advisory boards. In the last two years, however, more than 50 percent of the DiversityInc Top 50 companies have set demographic goals and hold senior executives, including council members, responsible for those goals being met.
A company’s diversity council’s oversight and reliance on goals and metrics has a direct impact on human-capital results, DiversityInc Top 50 data shows. Consider these statistics, which come from analyzing the data of the 535 companies that participated in The 2011 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity survey: Companies with executive diversity councils have almost twice the number of Blacks, Latinos and Asians and 47 percent more women in senior management than companies without executive diversity councils.
We invited three chief diversity officers from companies with some of the best track records on councils’ impacts on management demographics to discuss their councils, best practices and results:
Jennifer Christie Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President, Executive Recruitment, American Express Co., No. 13 in the DiversityInc Top 50
Raymond Arroyo Chief Diversity Officer, Aetna, No. 19 in the DiversityInc Top 50
Kathy Hannan National Managing Partner, Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility, KPMG, No. 29 in the DiversityInc Top 50
The three CDOs sat down with DiversityInc’s Luke Visconti and Barbara Frankel to share their companies’ experiences with executive diversity-council structures, using the councils to set and meet diversity goals, and holding executives accountable for reaching those goals.
“We used the [DiversityInc] benchmarking data to actually set goals with our diversity councils. All of our market councils have specific goals that they have to set, and we measure against them. For example, we looked at the increase in women and African-American talent at different levels of the organization, depending on how our representation is falling and where we had gaps.” — Jennifer Christie
“At Aetna, we call it a diversity board. It is the body that actually governs diversity and covers diversity progress for the organization … The diversity board develops the strategy, the goals and the metrics. Those metrics get rolled to finance, to the national organizations and other groups, so they all support each other for the metrics.” — Raymond Arroyo
“The national entity is the diversity advisory board whose executive chair is our chairman, John Veihmeyer. As the chief diversity officer, I chair. It’s comprised of 20 senior partners who are on that board. We also have three external board members … We have members who support, who are in attendance from a legal perspective, communications. All those folks have a seat at the table. Most of the representatives are the senior partners who are leading one of the six national diversity networks [or] employee-resource groups. – Kathy Hannan
Read the full text of the diversity-councils roundtable discussion at www.BestPractices.DiversityInc.com.