What Sets The DiversityInc Top 10 Apart?

What is the difference between the Top 10 and the rest of the DiversityInc Top 50? Deep CEO and senior leadership involvement, creating the need for best practices that lead to significant human-capital improvements.

By Barbara Frankel

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, DiversityInc, Top 10

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

There is a significant difference between the companies at that lead The 2015 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity and the rest – a difference that shows up in their human-capital results.

While all the companies on the DiversityInc Top 50 list are diversity leaders – these 10 companies – Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation,Kaiser Permanente,PricewaterhouseCoopers,EY, Sodexo, MasterCard,AT&T,Prudential Financial,Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble – have a real differential that starts with their leadership commitment and shows up in their human-capital results.

If you compare past DiversityInc Top 50 lists, you’ll see these same companies usually congregating at the top. That’s because of the deep CEO commitment and senior leadership involvement, which creates the need for best practices that lead to significant human-capital improvements.

CEO/Senior Leadership Involvement

The direct and personal involvement of the CEOs of these companies is critical to their diversity success.  In all their cases, they see diversity and inclusion as the vital element in their strategic and tactical business success.

For example, Christi Shaw, U.S. Country Head and President of No. 1 company Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, says: “Recently, we’ve taken things even further and made a big shift—so that D&I is linked not only to our Values and Behaviors, but is also part of our performance objectives. As a result, D&I is helping to move the needle on key aspects of our business—from new-product development, to clinical-trial diversity, to commercialization and marketing efforts.”

These CEOs don’t leave the D&I efforts to chance. Eight of the 10 personally chair the executive diversity councils, compared with 62 percent of the DiversityInc Top 50 CEOs.

Two of the CEOs who have been very involved with their councils are Stephen R. Howe Jr., Americas Managing Partner of No. 4 EY, and Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO of No. 7, AT&T.

“I set the tone in our organization as the leader in the U.S. and the Americas. People are watching the message I’m sending. My job is to run the business. This is fundamental to our business,” Howe says.

He notes how increasingly important diversity and inclusion has become to EY’s business as a professional-services firm. “I tell my partners that it is not at all uncommon for me in a meeting with a

Stephenson personally started the council and has chaired it since its inception almost a decade ago. “It didn’t feel to him that he could have someone else do it. He’s the chair and his direct reports are the members. … His being the leader lends a great deal of credibility,” says Belinda Grant-Anderson, Vice President, Workforce Development & Diversity.

MasterCard  President and CEO Ajay Banga also chairs the council. In accepting DiversityInc’s award as Top Company for Inclusive Culture last year, he said: “It’s important competitively. It’s important if you want to survive … it’s a passionate part of what we do … Competitiveness and survival drive innovation.”

     Top 10 CEO Leadership/Diversity Councils

  CEO chairs Council Meets Monthly Council Meets With ERGs
Top 10 80% 40% 100%
Top 50 62% 18% 92%

For example, George Chavel, CEO and President of Sodexo, No. 5, said this when accepting DiversityInc’s special award as Top Company for Mentoring last year: “Mentoring is one way to strengthen the depth and breadth of our teams …. Our formal program is called IMPACT. We ensure strong representation for women and minority managers in the pool for high potentials.” He noted that since IMPACT was launched in 2004, Sodexo has gone from 45 to more than 150 pairs annually.  He noted Sodexo has a 2-1 payback on mentoring when measuring factors such as productivity, retention and contribution to business.

Many personally develop mentor/sponsor relationships with high potentials from under-represented groups.In all of the top 10, the senior-most executives of the companies have a deep relationship with the diversity-management initiatives, such as cross-cultural mentoring and sponsorship. Many sit on the diversity executive councils and ensure the talent pipelines are diverse enough – and hold recruiters, hiring managers and HR people accountable.Senior Leadership Involvement

He also added this personal note: “The most gratifying experience of being a mentor has been learning from my mentees.”

At PricewaterhouseCoopers, No. 3, talent reviews include input from Chief Diversity Officer Maria Castanon Moats and Line of Service diversity champions. CEO sponsorship of U.S. leadership team members is critical. She talks movingly of how involved Chairman and Senior Partner Bob Moritz has been in her own career.  Moritz himself has discussed with DiversityInc’s audiences his own experience as a minority in Japan and how it shaped his relationship with high potentials in is own firm – “I came to realize that people from different cultures approach problems from varying perspectives and that my way was not necessarily the right way,” says Moritz. “Certainly it was not the only way.”

At Prudential Financial, No. 8, mentoring, coaching and sponsorship have been fully integrated into talent development, especially for high potentials from under-represented groups, Vice President ad Chief Diversity Officer Michele Green told DiversityInc’s audience this week. And that includes the participation of the senior executives.

And at Kaiser Permanente, No. 2, both internal and external recruiters are expected to build diverse slates and all executive openings are reviewed by Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Chuck Columbus and Senior Vice President, National Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Policy and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Ronald Copeland.

     Senior Exec Mentoring Participation

Top 10

Top 50

CEO & Direct Reports Participate in Mentoring



Next Level Down Participate



Human Capital Results

The strong involvement of senior leadership directs the focus at these top 10 companies on effective best practices, such as mentoring.  Human-capital results indicate the remarkable progress these companies are making:

     Management Representation


Women Managers

Black, Latino, Asian Managers

Women Top 3 Levels

Black, Latino, Asian Top 3 Levels

Top 10





Top 50











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