How are DiversityInc Top 50 Companies bringing their diversity-management expertise to the global marketplace? With sensitivity to local cultural norms and, increasingly, with the need for far more data and information.
For the past two years, almost every conversation DiversityInc has had with chief diversity officers included a fervent request for an assessment of global diversity-management best practices. This request even came from companies without strong global presences because they recognized the impact on the U.S. economy and their business.
While individual corporations and academics had looked at small pieces of what was occurring—and not occurring—globally, no one had taken a comprehensive look at global diversity management.
Since DiversityInc has 10 years of experience as the premier source of collecting and analyzing data on U.S. diversity management through The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity, we were the obvious choice to conduct this research.
We began our initial effort with the understanding that this was a first step in a multi-year process in which we will delve more thoroughly into both current diversity-management initiatives in countries and regions, cultural-competency issues, and recommended metrics and solutions.
Our next research, beginning this spring, will focus on comparing in more depth U.S.-based companies with European operations versus European-based companies.
For our first round of research, 11 sponsoring companies from eight distinct industries helped us determine which countries to survey. In the future, we will direct our global research at specific regions, starting with a more in-depth examination of Europe later this year. But for this first look, the 12 countries selected were: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The sponsoring companies were: American Express (No. 12 in the DiversityInc Top 50), Colgate-Palmolive (No. 14), Ernst & Young (No. 5), HP (one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies), IBM (No.8), Merck & Co. (No. 13), Novartis (Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. is No. 16), PricewaterhouseCoopers (No. 6), Rockwell Collins (one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies), Sodexo (No. 1) and Walmart.
After surveying government, media and corporate contacts in these countries to ascertain what is legal, we consulted with our sponsoring companies and developed a survey for companies to fill out in each of the 12 countries. We learned quickly that virtually no demographic information is collected in these countries except for gender and sometimes age.
Our survey, which went to all companies participating in the DiversityInc Top 50 survey with more than 10 percent of operations outside of the United States, was filled out by 45 companies. Participating companies that are DiversityInc Benchmarking customers can receive a global benchmarking of their results. For information, contact benchmarking@DiversityInc.com.
The results show that in most cases, prevailing best practices are significantly less advanced than those in the United States. These practices include work/life benefits, anti-discrimination/diversity training, employee-resource groups and mentoring. Since women are the only group that transcends all countries—and the only group for which demographic data is really calculated—we focused our measurements on them, although the full data report includes all groups.
Highlights of findings:
- Input from global headquarters about diversity efforts is surprisingly low: 29 percent of companies in Europe, 20 percent of all respondents and 14 percent of companies in Asia say they receive guidance from headquarters on local diversity initiatives
- The local company leader is involved in diversity efforts at 62 percent of the companies in Europe, 34 percent of all respondents and 24 percent of companies in Asia
- While 100 percent of the DiversityInc Top 50 have recruitment efforts for women, only 48 percent of the companies in Europe, 43 percent of all respondents and 33 percent of the companies in Asia do this
- While 100 percent of the DiversityInc Top 50 have talent-development efforts aimed specifically at women, 59 percent of the companies in Europe do this, as do 55 percent of all respondents and 40 percent of the companies in Asia
- While 64 percent of the DiversityInc Top 50 have mandatory diversity training for their entire workforces, only 14 percent of the companies in Europe, 14 percent of all respondents and 8 percent of the companies in Asia have this
- All of the DiversityInc Top 50 have same-sex domestic-partner benefits. Excluding countries where this is illegal, 41 percent of European companies offer these, as do 45 percent of all respondents and 9 percent of Asian companies
- While 94 percent of the DiversityInc Top 50 have disability-awareness training, only 39 percent of the companies in Europe, 36 percent of all respondents and 32 percent of companies in Asia have this
- All of the DiversityInc Top 50 have employee-resource groups, compared with 59 percent of the companies in Europe, 46 percent of all respondents and 19 percent of the companies in Asia
- All of the DiversityInc Top 50 have formal mentoring programs, compared with 67 percent of the companies in Europe, 67 percent of all respondents and 59 percent of the companies in Asia