Workplace diversity moves that could work for you.
Research has shown that, in addition to increasing diversity in the workplace, diversity-based programs can provide a number of additional, extremely positive outcomes — ranging from making companies more attractive to job candidates to encouraging innovation.
Workplace diversity also appears to be a key profitability predictor. Organizations with the highest diversity levels saw nearly 15 times more sales revenue, according to a study published in the April 2009 issue of the American Sociological Review, compared to companies with low racial or gender diversity levels. A growing number of organizations have added workplace diversity programs in recent years. Most, according to an SHRM report, began in the 1990s; roughly a fifth were started in 2000 or 2001.
Size appears to be a factor. A 2014 survey of SHRM members — HR professionals at companies ranging in size from 1 to 99 employees to 25,000 or more — found that some workplace diversity program elements, such as diversity training, were more prevalent at organizations with more than 500 employees.
Across the board, however, many companies don’t seem to be considering whether or not their workplace diversity programs are actually effective.
Although larger corporations are more likely to have a method in place to measure their workplace diversity program’s effect, 66 percent of organizations say they aren’t doing anything to gauge their initiative’s outcome.
Some organizations, though, are carefully calculating their program’s impact — and seeing workplace diversity soar as a result.
Each year, DiversityInc releases a list of the top 50 most diverse companies, ranked due to their talent pipeline, talent development, supplier diversity and CEO/leadership commitment efforts.
The publication’s most recent workplace diversity list includes organizations from a variety of industries, ranging from pharmaceutical to communications.
Could their practices help your organization enhance its current workplace diversity initiatives?
Long-term mentoring and talent development programs: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation has earned the No. 1 spot on DiversityInc’s list for two consecutive years for its ongoing diversity in the workplace efforts, which include a strong buy-in from leadership and Diversity and Inclusion Councils, employee groups that work to infuse diversity and inclusion within their functional areas and/or business organizations. Employee Resource Groups help support workplace diversity-based career development, recruitment and retention strategies. The results are clear: Since 2010, the percentage of CEO and direct report-level women at the healthcare company has tripled.
Respecting and responding to cultural needs: Kaiser Permanente’s members speak more than 150 languages; and the healthcare organization has worked to understand and address “a variety of cultural needs,” according to DiversityInc. As part of its workplace diversity initiative, Kaiser Permanente sponsors eight centers of excellence, with services that include 24-hour translation services for members and staff in more than 100 languages. It has also created a workforce that reflects the communities it serves. Nearly 60 percent of the staff is comprised of people of color, and more than a third of its physicians are women.
Formal training and development programs: All managers at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, which landed the third spot on DiversityInc’s list, participate in mentoring — including each top-level senior partner. The accounting firm’s workplace diversity efforts also include a White Men as Diversity Champions initiative, which produced a video on diversity and has hosted in-person sessions to address issues relating to diversity in the workplace.
Innovative efforts to cultivate talent: To help foster future leaders, EY’s international NextGen Club caters to a network of young entrepreneurs from 55 countries. Members have completed the tax and advisory service provider’s NextGen Academy educational course, designed to help them take their business to the next level.
Taking a public stance: When, in 2015, a religious freedom act stood to threaten LGBT equality in several states, MasterCard issued a statement stressing its concern about the legislation’s impact on the LGBT community and its dedication to eliminating discrimination and promoting workplace diversity. The company’s endeavors include providing benefits to same-sex couples; fostering a sense of inclusion for all employees; and supporting and participating in events in local communities.
MasterCard isn’t the only organization making a public commitment to diversity in the workplace. In fact, 80 percent of companies, according to Diversity Best Practices’ analysis, have published their diversity statement on their website and included it in informational materials.
If you haven’t already made your organization’s workplace diversity efforts public, you may want to consider communicating what you’ve done to customers, suppliers and other important groups. Find out how in our recent blog post on sharing your workplace diversity successes.