Diversity-management executives from Aetna, Kraft and CVS Caremark weigh in on the benefits they’ve gained from filling out The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity survey.
We asked Jim Norman of Kraft Foods, No. 7 in the 2012 DiversityInc Top 50; Raymond Arroyo of Aetna, No. 24; and David Casey of CVS Caremark, one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies, for their views on the DiversityInc Top 50 process. We came away with the three main areas in diversity management that they cite as having received value from the process.
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- They use the survey to create an overall diversity blueprint and determine areas of focus for their diversity management
Jim Norman of Kraft: The survey can be used by a chief diversity officer as a strategic tool to create conversations with partners in the organization that he or she has not had or has been dying to have, and to put some parameters around what “best in class” looks like. It’s work that you’re doing for yourself and the organization to get better and to monitor your progress each and every year.
Raymond Arroyo of Aetna: We have quarterly reports that mimic the DiversityInc Top 50 methodology so that we know whether we are making progress against the goals. This relates to the methods DiversityInc is going to measure, and the survey tells us that. We get all the data around new hires, retention and promotions.
David Casey of CVS Caremark: When I sent the CEO Commitment section to our head of communications (she’s kind of the CEO’s keeper), she started scratching her head, saying, “Wow, these are really the things we should be having them focus on.” It’s another way for me to get best-practice information out there in front of different parts of the business.
- The survey captures trends and best practices across various organizations that become the standard for diversity management
David Casey of CVS Caremark: What does the Top 50 really mean? It gives you a data point. It gives you a data set. It’s one thing to go into your board or to your CEO and say, “X percent of our workforce is people of color or women, and we’ve spent this much on supplier diversity,” but unless you give them an anchor and some kind of relative sense of what that means, it doesn’t work, and that’s what DiversityInc provides.
Jim Norman of Kraft: I know there could be criticism around any survey, and people get confused about why they’re doing it or why they would be involved. We have strategic plans. They’re about creating a better organization. The survey, then, is a tool for me to mark progress against a journey I’m already committed to. It holds me accountable. It’s a very usable tool. It asks questions that are critical to driving the kind of deep, sustainable organization change that I need to drive.
- The survey forces companies to track important data and understand how the results affect diversity management
Raymond Arroyo of Aetna: The survey asks the questions in a very, very specific way that every single time requires us to look at the data in a very sophisticated way. I love the stuff about human capital because it’s something that we should be doing ourselves anyway.
David Casey of CVS Caremark: Before the DiversityInc Top 50, there were not a lot of robust, true surveys or measurement tools for diversity management. There was just a lot of affirmative action and EEO recognitions and awards. DiversityInc’s Top 50 is by far the most robust analysis of what a company does in diversity management.
About the DiversityInc Top 50
The survey measures four key areas of diversity management: CEO Commitment, Human Capital, Corporate and Organizational Communications, and Supplier Diversity. Participation is free, and companies that do business with DiversityInc have no advantage. Each company that completes the survey receives a free report card assessing its diversity-management performance overall and in those four areas.
Note: Since this article was written, Raymond has taken a new role as the head of Alternative Distribution, Aetna.