By Forrest Parrott, AVP Human Resources Communications, AT&T
DiversityInc has ranked AT&T among its Top 50 Companies for Diversity each of the past 16 years. In fact, the company jumped three spots to No. 4 on the overall list in the most recent ranking released April 19. “That’s important for a lot of reasons,” said Cynt Marshall, Senior Vice President-Human Resources & Chief Diversity OfficeratAT&T. “But there’s another ranking that matters even more, and that’s how our employees view AT&T’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
The good news is that more than 90 percent of employees said they believe AT&T is committed to diversity and an inclusive culture in its most recent companywide employee engagement survey.
The survey asks employees to respond to five statements about diversity and inclusion:
- Differing opinions are openly discussed in reaching decisions in my work team.
- My supervisor effectively works with people who are different from him or herself (in gender, racial/ethnic background, lifestyle, experiences, education, etc.)
- I believe our workforce includes a sufficient mix of people with different backgrounds, personal characteristics, and mindsets at all levels in order for us to be successful.
- AT&T management supports diversity in the workplace.
- The people who I work with treat each other with respect regardless of gender, racial/ethnic background, lifestyle, experiences, education, etc.
With 78 percent employee participation, the results show that AT&T employees believe in the company’s diversity efforts. Previous surveys yielded similar results; employees consistently give the company’s diversity practices the highest marks of all survey categories.
“This is significant, Marshall said. “A company’s employees inevitably view its policies and practices through a much different lens than outside groups. After all, they have personal, daily experiences. So while receiving awards and honors for diversity is important particularly from a recruiting perspective, we believe in asking our employees, so we know how we’re doing. The fact that nearly all 280,000 tell us they feel valued and included tells me that what we say: Every voice matters is what our employees experience.”
And it doesn’t happen without leadership from the top.
“AT&T is a leader in diversity and inclusion because it has the steadfast commitment from Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson,” said Luke Visconti, DiversityInc’s founder and CEO.
That commitment builds on a decades-long emphasis on diversity and inclusion. In 1968 AT&T launched its industry-leading supplier diversity program. Its LGBT ERG, LEAGUE at AT&T, was the first in the nation in 1987, and its women and African American groups Women of AT&T and Community NETwork are each more than 40 years old.
Employee participation in the company’s ERGs and employee networks has exploded recently, with total membership exceeding 127,000, and they played a key role in integrating AT&T and DIRECTV following last year’s merger. So it’s no surprise that DiversityInc named the company No. 1 on its ERGs specialty list, a key factor in its No. 4 ranking overall.
“When employees know they matter as individuals, anything’s possible,” Marshall said. “It’s reassuring beyond words to know that virtually all of our employees know they matter.”