How Does DiversityInc Determine the Top 50

Read more Ask DiversityInc questions and answers here.


A certain percentage of women and people of color in management That the company has a diversity award program That the company has affinity groups That the company has mandatory diversity training for the workforce

A: We analyze the data from the hundreds of companies that apply and compare all companies against the accomplishments of the 50 best. It is the practices of the best companies that produce the standards, not something we dream up. The results are expressed as a percentage of standard deviation, with cut-offs at both the low and high levels. For example, a company that has 80 percent Black people does not receive more points than the high cut-off and having that high a percentage of Black people would certainly make it practically impossible for them to be competitive on Latinos, Asians and American Indians.

1. We do not require a certain percentage of women and people of color in management. The percentage of women and Black, Latino, Asian and American Indian people in management that is competitive to be on our list is a factor of the results of the companies that are the most equitable.

2. We don’t require the company to have a diversity award program. Although that may be a nice thing to do, it’s a minor factor of overall organizational communications.

3. Companies that make the DiversityInc Top 50 list are not required to have affinity groups. While it’s not a requirement, there is no case of a company producing competitive results in human capital without them. The correlation between employee-resource groups (ERGs) and talent development is very strong. Again, it’s not an absolute requirement and some companies in the DiversityInc Top 50 have rather low participation in their ERGs, but the connection between ERGs and competitive results becomes stronger every year.

4. Mandatory diversity training is not a requirement, but it’s increasingly difficult to attain competitive results without mandatory training.

There’s a very important point to be made here: I don’t think you can game the survey. Overall results are a matter of organizational culture, and that extends to many facets beyond ERGs or mandatory diversity training. For example, there is an order of magnitude difference in overall philanthropy spend between companies at the top of our list and companies that finished in the lowest quartile of all respondents. I think what we’re measuring is organizational empathy and commitment to equity. This is critical to effectiveness in many ways, but here’s a simple and profoundly important one: If all people are created equally, then talent is distributed equally, and that means quality is directly relative to diversity.

If you would like to send a diversity-management question, please email

Latest News

We, As Ourselves initiative

Tarana Burke, Founder of #MeToo Movement, Starts New Initiative for Black Survivors

When activist Tarana Burke coined the #MeToo movement, she knew it would start a culture-shifting conversation about sexual violence. But three years after that movement began, she believes that change hasn’t been as far-reaching as she’d hoped, especially for Black women who’ve faced some aspect of sexual abuse or violence. …

Thasunda Brown Duckett

Thasunda Brown Duckett Named CEO of TIAA; Second Black Woman Recently Named to Lead Fortune 500 Company

TIAA — Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America — has announced that Thasunda Brown Duckett will become the company’s new CEO, succeeding Roger W. Ferguson Jr. who announced in November 2020 his plans to retire. With her appointment, Duckett will join newly named Walgreen’s CEO Rosalind Brewer as one…

Black News Channel BNC

Cable News Expands to Include More Black Voices with Black News Channel

As the world of cable TV news becomes increasingly fragmented, BNC (Black News Channel) is promising to deliver an alternative news source that looks at breaking news stories through the eyes of Black Americans when it relaunches in March 2021. In a Wall Street Journal exclusive, reporter Lillian Rizzo writes…