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, CEOAction.com, 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:
- 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.
- 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 CEOAction.com.
- 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 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."