How Does DiversityInc Determine the Top 50?

Can you game the DiversityInc Top 50? CEO Luke Visconti provides inside info on what you can—and can't—do.

Read more Ask DiversityInc questions and answers here.


Q: DO YOU REQUIRE:

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 askDiversityInc@DiversityInc.com.

EY, Kaiser Permanente, Novartis, PwC and Sodexo have been inducted into DiversityInc's Top 50 Hall of Fame. The companies inducted into the Hall of Fame have demonstrated exceptional human capital management accomplishments and superior corporate values and culture.

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Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 18 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.

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Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 17 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.

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