DiversityInc Top 50 data shows a direct correlation between a CEO’s visible support of diversity—and emphasis on accountability—and results, measured in human-capital demographics and marketplace gains.
To explore successful CEO best practices on diversity management, we asked two chief diversity officers–Joy Fitzgerald, director of Diversity and Workforce Effectiveness at Rockwell Collins, and Sharon Harvey Davis, vice president and chief diversity offer at Ameren–to tell us about their relationships with their CEOs: Clay Jones, CEO of Rockwell Collins (No. 43 in the DiversityInc Top 50), and Thomas Voss, CEO of Ameren (one of DiversityInc’s Top 5 Regional Utilities).
Synopsis: Why They Are Exemplary Diversity Leaders
Both of these CEOs are very public in their belief that diversity drives business gains. Clay Jones, chairman, president and CEO of defense contractor Rockwell Collins (who was interviewed in our last issue), vowed to earn a spot on the DiversityInc Top 50 two years ago and has succeeded, personally driving initiatives throughout his company. This year, the second in which Rockwell Collins made the list, the company is No. 43. Read our Q&A interview with Rockwell Collins’ Clay Jones and watch the video below to hear Jones speak about his diversity journey.
Tom Voss, chairman, president and CEO of St. Louis–based utility company Ameren (interviewed in our spring issue), has literally changed his organization’s corporate culture to create an inclusive and supportive environment, including LGBT rights. Read our Q&A interview with Ameren’s Tom Voss and watch the video below to hear Voss speak on diversity and innovation.
You can read an excerpt of the 1,700-word article below. Visit BestPractices.DiversityInc.com to read the full ‘Diversity Is a Leadership Expectation’: Case Studies of CEOs of Ameren, Rockwell Collins article, view the charts and watch additional videos from the roundtable.
CEO Best Practice No. 1: Holding Direct Reports Accountable
Both of these CEOs ensure their direct reports are equally supportive of diversity-management initiatives.
Rockwell Collins: It is our CEO’s commitment that diversity is a leadership expectation, not a choice. If you are going to be a leader at Rockwell Collins, you will demonstrate inclusive behaviors.
CEO Best Practice No. 2: Be a Role Model of Visible, Personal Support
These two CEOs, along with the CEOs at the top of the DiversityInc Top 50 list, are public and very personal in their consistent support for diversity as a business driver.
Ameren: Tom Voss is involved in a way that is genuine, sincere and credible. What that looks like at Ameren is that we have four female vice presidents and Tom has personally promoted three of them. We have one African-American CEO in our company, the first one. Tom personally promoted him.
CEO Best Practice No. 3: Uphold Values at All Times
When there is a fear of a backlash, some CEOs back down. These CEOs remain true to the values of inclusivity at their company.
Ameren: We have had some pushback on our support of LGBT rights. Tom not only shows up at a dinner for a local LGBT organization but he chaired the dinner and invited his direct reports to sit at his table.
CEO Best Practice No. 4: Chief Diversity Officer Has Frequent Access
Whether or not the chief diversity officer reports directly to the CEO, he or she must have frequent access and the ability to weigh in on crucial business strategies.
Rockwell Collins: I report to the senior vice president of HR, who reports to Clay Jones. I have access to Clay; he’s actively involved, not through emails or voicemails but face-to-face in his office.
CEO Best Practice No. 5: CEO Leads Executive Diversity Council
The CEO’s personal leadership of the diversity council, as well as holding senior executives accountable for company-wide results, has a direct impact on the success of the council’s goals.
Rockwell Collins: Our executive diversity council is comprised of the leadership team. Clay is very involved in helping set the strategies on a yearly basis. They meet quarterly to assess these strategies.
CEO Best Practice No. 6: Succession Planning and Continuous Support for Diversity
These CEOs know the diversity efforts must be sustainable, even after they leave the organization. They are ensuring that their successors have as deep a commitment.
Ameren: Tom is in his 60s, and we know he will retire in the relatively near future. He has identified the potential next CEO to lead the diversity council so that if that person succeeds him, he will have a strong diversity footing in place.
Read the complete 1,700-word ‘Diversity Is a Leadership Expectation’: Case Studies of CEOs of Ameren, Rockwell Collins article at BestPractices.DiversityInc.com for in-depth best practices, data charts and additional videos from our roundtable. The article is available to subscribers for free.
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