40 Best companies for diversity: as a growing number of corporations place diversity on the back burner, our roster demonstrates that African American inclusion sharpens the competitive edge.

Author:Wilder, Kali
Position:SPECIAL REPORT
 
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For decades, there has been indisputable evidence that there's a business case for diversity. Unfortunately, much of corporate America has been slow to come to the table.

Take workforce diversity. Employees of diverse ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, physical abilities, and ages offer more expansive viewpoints and experiences that, in turn, can have a transformative impact on a given enterprise at every level. According to Innovation, Diversity and Market Growth research conducted by the New York-based Center for Talent Innovation in 2013, diversity unlocks creativity and results-driven growth. "CT1 research finds that innovative capacity resides in an inherently diverse workforce where leaders prize difference, value every voice, and manage rather than suppress innovation," says Sylvia Ann Hewlett, CTI's founding president. "When leadership lacks innate or acquired diversity, or fails to foster a 'speak-up culture,' fewer ideas with market potential make it to market. Sadly, we find that ideas from women, people of color, LGBTs, and millennials are less likely to win the endorsement they need to go forward because 56% of leaders do not value ideas for which they personally don't see a need. Fully 78% of our survey sample work for such a company and, as a result, innovation is stifled."

That's why it's vital for black enterprise to once again place a spotlight on our "40 Best Companies for Diversity"--a roster that we last presented in July 2012. The 40 firms on this year's list represent those that recognize the value of cultivating an inclusive environment, particularly for African Americans. In light of the fact that the working population is getting younger and more diverse, we placed a special emphasis on millennials. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau projections, the population segment age 18-29 will grow even more diverse over the next several years. By 2028, the Census Bureau reports that the group will be defined as "majority minority." The age of the labor force population, those 18-64, will acquire that classification by 2038.

In compiling this year's list, black enterprise Research found hundreds of companies that refused to take our survey. Some companies did not participate, stating that four months did not provide adequate time for them to provide diversity figures. Other corporations were forced to admit that their organization's numbers simply did not measure up.

Shannon A. Brown, senior vice president and chief human resources and diversity officer for FedEx Express, one of the companies on this year's list, best expresses why there's a vital need for companies to embrace a multicultural workplace, executive suite, boardroom, and supplier pool: "To meet the needs of a diverse customer base, it's important that we reflect that diversity within our organization. We are ever mindful that diversity in business is about recognizing and nurturing talent in all ethnicities and backgrounds. It means creating the best opportunities for talented people to succeed, and giving back to our communities so that others will have a chance to fulfill their dreams."

THE PROS & CONS OF HIRING MILLENNIALS

Findings of the latest Duke University/ CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey* highlights the pros and cons of hiring millennials. "One surprising finding Is how few U.S. companies have instituted workplace changes to accommodate millennials," says John Graham, a finance professor at Duke's Fuqua School of Business and director of the survey. "In the United States, only 41% of companies have made changes to adapt to younger workers. Other regions of the world have been more accommodating: for example, about 70% of Latin American and Asian firms have adapted to hire/retain millennials."

* THE SURVEY, WHICH ENDED DEC. 5, 2014, HAS BEEN CONDUCTED FOR 75 CONSECUTIVE QUATERS AND SPANS THE GLOBE, MAKING IT THE WORLD'S LONGEST-RUNNING AND MOST COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH ON SENIOR FINANCE EXECUTIVES. PRESENTED RESULTS ARE FOR U.S. FIRMS UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

% OF CFOs BELIEVE MILLENNIALS TO BE LESS EXPENSIVE TO EMPLOY 50% MORE INTERESTED IN PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT 27% EXHIBIT AN ATTITUDE OF ENTITLEMENT 46% MORE CREATIVE & INNOVATIVE 21% MORE TECH SAVVY 70% MORE DIFFICULT TO MANAGE 31% LESS LOYAL TO THE COMPANY 53% HOW WE COMPILED THE 40 BEST COMPANIES FOR DIVERSITY

BLACK ENTERPRISE'S editorial research team sent surveys to the nation's top 1,000 publicly traded companies and 100 leading global companies with strong U.S. operations to get an in-depth look at the ethnic composition of these corporations as well as to understand various programs designed to foster and maintain an inclusive working environment. The survey centered on efforts related to African Americans but also includes other ethnic minority groups as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Any Information provided by companies on diversity efforts targeting women, LGBT, the disabled, and veterans was used as secondary, supporting criteria for inclusion on the list.

BE performed an assessment of all corporate respondents and measured each company's diversity efforts against four key areas: employee base, senior management, board of directors, and supplier diversity. Based on an editorial analysis, along with additional reporting and research, BE editors developed our "40 Best Companies for Diversity."

Our survey measured companies against four key categories:

Employee Base:

The percentage of African Americans and members of other ethnic minority groups represented in a given company's total workforce.

Senior Management:

The percentage of senior management positions held by African Americans and members of other ethnic groups.

Board of Directors:

The percentage of African Americans and other ethnic minorities represented on corporate boards.

Supplier Diversity:

The percentage of total procurement dollars spent with companies owned by African Americans and members of other ethnic minority groups.

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