More than 150 CEOs Commit to Advance Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Business leaders create CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion coalition with pledge to increase diversity and foster inclusion to improve performance, employee engagement and drive growth.

More than 150 CEOs from some of the world’s leading companies on Monday announced their pledge to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace by signing on to the newly formed CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion coalition, representing more than 50 industries in all 50 U.S. states and millions of employees globally.

The coalition, which includes more than 30 companies on the 2017 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list and specialty lists, is being led by a steering committee chaired by PwC U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner Tim Ryan (PwC is No. 4 on the DI Top 50).

By signing on to this commitment, CEOs pledge to take action to cultivate a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected, where employees feel encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion, and where best known — and unsuccessful — actions can be shared across organizations via a unified hub,, in an effort to advance D&I in the workplace.

“We are living in a world of complex divisions and tensions that can have a significant impact on our work environment. Yet, it’s often the case that when we walk into our workplace — where we spend the majority of our time — we don’t openly address these topics,” Ryan said. “CEOs across the country understand this isn’t a competitive issue, but a societal issue, and together we can raise the bar for the entire business community. By sharing best known actions and programs, we are helping to create a more inclusive environment that will encourage all of us to bring our greatest talents, perspectives, and experiences to the workplace.”

Each signatory has committed to taking the following steps to increase diversity and foster inclusion within their respective organizations and the larger business community:

  1. Continue to cultivate workplaces that support open dialogue on complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion: Companies will create and maintain environments, platforms, and forums where their employees feel comfortable reaching out to their colleagues to gain greater awareness of each other’s experiences and perspectives. By encouraging an ongoing dialogue and not tolerating any incongruence with these values of openness, companies are building trust, encouraging compassion and open-mindedness, and reinforcing their commitment to a culture of inclusivity.
  2. Implement and expand unconscious bias education: Companies commit to rolling out and/or expanding unconscious bias education within their companies in the form that best fits their specific culture and business. By helping employees recognize and minimize any potential blind spots, companies can better facilitate more open and honest conversations. Additionally, the initiative will be making non-proprietary unconscious bias education modules available to other organizations free of charge. This training will live on
  3. Companies commit to working together to evolve existing diversity strategies by sharing successes and challenges with one another. This will include creating accountability systems within their companies to track their progress and share regular updates with each other in order to catalog effective programs and measurement practices.

In the fall, the signatories will convene for the first ever CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Summit to assess initial progress, understand fundamental gaps and determine the next phase of this work. Companies that currently are not implementing the elements of the pledge can use the hub and Summit as an opportunity to learn from others that are already doing so, while companies that are already implementing some or all of the actions can use this platform to drive greater engagement within their own programs, submit best known actions as well as mentor others on their journey.

The coalition is led by a steering committee of CEOs and leaders from Accenture (No. 14 on the 2017 Top 50), BCG, Deloitte U.S. (No. 12), The Executive Leadership Council, EY (No. 1), General Atlantic, KPMG (No. 11), New York Life (No. 23), Procter & Gamble (No. 13) and PwC (No. 4)

Said Steve Howe, EY U.S. chairman and Americas managing partner, “EY’s longstanding commitment to D&I is paramount, especially in today’s social climate. We recognize that our strength comes from our diversity. The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge enables us to work with other business leaders who are also committed to creating inclusive cultures that value people’s unique perspectives to drive innovative solutions — and a better working world for us all.”

AT&T (No. 3) also joins the more than 150 CEOs to commit to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“At its core, diversity is not about tolerating our differences – it’s about understanding them. And that requires a commitment to honest and open dialogue,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “I’m proud to work with my fellow CEOs to help make that a reality in the workplace.”

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One comment

  • Things that make you go Hmmm.....

    I have never ever left a comment to anything I’ve seen published in online content, no matter how laudable or irksome. However, I felt very compelled to respond to this article on P&G’s “initiative” on Action for Diversity & Inclusion. Unfortunately, I don’t have any kind or encouraging words to impart. My thought on this initiative is that it is completely and utterly laughable on the one hand and insulting on the other. Can these CEOs even define diversity or inclusion and what each means to them? Because these are, in fact, two separate things – diversity AND inclusion – if they didn’t realize it. Just because you do one doesn’t mean you have automatically taken care of the other. You can have a diverse workforce and not be inclusive. And, you cannot be an inclusive workplace without being diverse. I recognize some of the companies on the list of 150 as ones that have been called to task time and time again, year after year for their lack of sensitivity, diversity and inclusion; for carrying on the same practices for years that they now pledge to combat. And those are just the stories that have been allowed to be published in the media. It doesn’t include the stories that have been hushed by settlements or strong-arming and taking advantage of employees that don’t have the means to defend themselves.

    But here is some advice these CEOs have all heard before: You cannot begin to address diversity and inclusion in the workplace, or anywhere else for that matter, without first starting with treating people – ALL PEOPLE – with common decency, civility and respect. Without that, what is the point? It does not matter how many programs you institute to, as you say, diversify your workplace and include those who don’t look, talk or worship like you, if you cannot and will not do these very basic things your programs don’t matter. Because what often happens is that they hire a diverse workforce then treat them, for the most part, like crap or like they’re invisible or like they have two heads.
    If these CEOs really wanted to, they could have accomplished much on the diversity and inclusion front years ago. These are CEOs of leading companies. They have been in the game for decades. They know how to make businesses run; turn significant profits year after year; and make complex projects succeed. You’re telling me they don’t know how to effectively diversify and include a workforce?! I’m sure that if their next multi-million dollar bonus depended on it, they could find a solution in a hurry. But, alas, they crunched the numbers over the years and determined that they can do without diversity and inclusion. So, really, why would they bother now? Have the numbers been recently revisited and companies are starting to realize that the dollars of non-white, non-male consumers are also green? That the swipe of the credit card of these consumers also adds dollars to their bottom line? I don’t think that’s it. I am looking at this chess game that is being played out and wondering what the next move is. Other than to win, what is their goal? What do they stand to gain? Do they get to expense the cost of all this diversity and inclusion on their P&Ls? Do they get to a week at some posh holdup in some exotic location as they ponder how to implement their Act!on plan? Do they get a gold star? Or have they figured out another profitable way to use their diverse yet un-included workforce as a means to achieve their end? Or is it, at last, due to some altruistic motivation? To be certain, none of this is being done out of the kindness of their hearts. What is going into the bottom line I wonder?

    Furthermore, I do not believe in “unconscious bias.” I despise that term. I think that is just some conscious b***s*** excuse that certain people use to avoid treating others who were not created in their image with common decency, civility and respect. It’s akin to saying the devil made me do it. Nooooo, s/he didn’t. You made you do it, and you can always choose to behave differently. In every situation where I don’t like or don’t want to associate with someone, I am always very aware of the reason why. I don’t perpetrate the excuse that I wasn’t cognizant of my real feelings or the way I was behaving. And in no instance will my feelings or behavior ever take money out of their pocket, remove the roof over their head, or gun them down on the street in cold blood.

    I do however hope that the CEOs of the 150 companies on this list are the ones that have the last laugh; I truly do. So, prove me wrong. As Nike says, “Just Do It.” (But I see Nike is not on the list, so I’m not sure who will make them do it.)

    And to all those who will comment on my words that at least they are doing something, I say to that, “Show ME the money.” The lack of diversity and inclusion over the past century has cost non-white, non-male workers BILLIONS in earnings.

    Give me a break!

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