By Luke Visconti and Barbara Frankel
The process of determining The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list became more sophisticated this year with our switch to SAS software. This has enabled us to measure more human-capital ratios than ever before and to refine our measurements, which we believe give us better accuracy. We've also utilized the power of the software to better measure what actually constitutes top performance and to eliminate outliers.
We enhanced our accountability by having notarized CEO sign-offs on submissions from companies where we have not met with the CEO directly.
About the Survey
The survey continues to be completely based on empirical data. Participation in the survey is free and companies that do business with DiversityInc receive no preferential treatment. There are seven companies on this list—including two in the top 10—with whom we have no business relationship at all.
The number of companies participating in the survey has increased annually, but this year saw the largest jump of all—from 587 companies last year to more than 900 this year. The reason is twofold: We had a focused marketing outreach to many more companies, and interest in diversity management in corporate America is growing rapidly.
In order to participate, an organization must have at least 1,000 employees and fill out our detailed 300-question survey, which is divided into four equally weighted areas: CEO Commitment, Human Capital, Corporate and Organizational Communications, and Supplier Diversity. Each company is judged within its own industry, and each application is vetted by our staff. The data is kept secure and confidential; it is never shared with anyone outside of the company.
Although the weightings of the questions are not released, we do discuss the evolution of what correlates to measurable results—what, therefore, is emphasized. In recent years, we have placed increased importance on resource-group and cross-cultural-mentoring participation and best practices since they yield demonstrable human-capital improvements. Next year, we plan to increase the emphasis on what percentage of a company's gross revenue goes to philanthropy, since that is a critical indicator of corporate values and ability to build community support.