- Working Mother Media released its 2019 list of companies rated for their diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies and practices. Organizations rated in the top 10% of participating firms — those that earned a rating of at least 82% — were Accenture, EY (Ernst & Young), Merck, JLL, L'Oréal, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, IBM, Baxter International, Ecolab, Boston Scientific, General Motors, Verizon and PVH Corp.
- Working Mother Media said the index helps organizations understand gaps in demographic representation and creates a "strategic roadmap" for internal change. Employers were rated on three factors: 1) best practices for recruitment, retention and advancement of LGBTQ people; 2) creation of an inclusive company culture; and 3) transparency around workforce demographic data.
- "The inclusion index continues to grow as more and more organizations are willing to be transparent about their progress and workforce demographics," Deborah Munster, vice president of Working Mother Media division Diversity Best Practices, said in a statement. "We applaud their D&I efforts, and will continue to set a high bar in order to drive change and accountability."
D&I programs can drive change, but they can't do so just by existing. A Boston Consulting Group report found that although 98% of the companies represented in the report had a diversity program, only 25% of the people these programs were designed to support actually saw benefits. The report said senior leaders, particularly men age 45 and older who are typically an organization's primary decision-makers, have difficulty seeing the obstacles facing such programs. Leaders also tend to underestimate the barriers facing women, people of color, people with disabilities and others, Boston Consulting Group said.
Leadership buy-in can be a key to successful D&I programs, and there are signs some employers are taking note of this observation. In June, the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion — which billed itself as "the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace" — received signatures from more than 150 CEOs. The CEOs pledged to cultivate work environments that welcome diverse viewpoints and experiences, encourage workers to discuss D&I and foster discussion about successful and unsuccessful D&I practices.
Still, employment experts warn such initiatives aren't easy to implement. Ground-level employees still have a role in living D&I initiatives during the day-to-day, and employers may need to look to outside-the-box strategies to succeed. Some organizations have even opted to tie their D&I programs to compensation.