DiversityInc, a diversity publication, came out with The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity 2017, earlier this month. An annual feature since 2001, the list “reflects how rapidly companies are adapting these (diversity) strategies.” Over 1,800 organisations were a part of the survey, and were evaluated within the context of their own industries. Furthermore, every organisation that participated, regardless of whether it made it to the list or not, will be sent a report card with assessments in talent pipeline, talent development, leadership accountability and supplier diversity.
The survey is comprehensive for it assesses initiatives to hire, retain and promote women, minorities, people with disabilities, LGTB and veterans. Although one of the criteria for participation is having at least 1,000 American citizens as employees, most organisations that made it to the top are multinationals with a presence in several countries.
For the sake of brevity, here are the top 20 companies for diversity this year:
2. Kaiser Permanente
5. Johnson & Johnson
8. Marriott International
9. Wells Fargo
13. Procter & Gamble
15. Prudential Financial
16. Eli Lilly and Co.
18. Cox Communications
19. Comcast NBCUniversal
The Top Companies for Recruitment are: AT&T, PwC, Kaiser Permanente, EY and Sodexo.
Top Companies for People with Disabilities are: EY, Northrop Grumman, Accenture, Comcast NBCUniversal, and Prudential Financial
A few better-known names in the Top Companies for LGBT employees are (the list announced did not prescribe any ranks): Accenture, AT&T, Dell, EY, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, Marriott International, Nielsen, Procter & Gamble, Sodexo, Time Warner and Wells Fargo.
Top Companies for Employee Resource Groups are: EY, New York Life, AT&T, Dell and Johnson & Johnson.
Top Companies for Mentoring are: EY, PwC, Procter 7 Gamble, Hilton Inc., and KPMG.
Top Companies for Progress are: Southern Company, Praxair, Cummins, Northrop Grumman and Cox Automotive.
Top Companies for Veterans are: Northrop Grumman, Boeing, First Data, AT&T and Southern Company.
A few better-known names in the Top Companies for Global Diversity are (the list announced did not prescribe any ranks): Abbott, Accenture, Dell, EY, General Motors, Hilton Inc, Intel Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, Monsanto, Nielsen, Procter & Gamble, PwC and Sodexo.
Top Companies for Executive Women are: EY, Northrop Grumman, Cummins, KPMG and Marriott International.
The lists acknowledge and appreciate the progress that organisations have made in ensuring workforce diversity. Although the entire exercise is based in the USA, the results are relevant for everyone. One, several organisations have operations is multiple countries, and therefore are likely to promote diverse practices and cultures outside of USA as well. Two, the study discusses best practices followed by the top organisations in hiring, retaining and promoting a diverse workforce. What is noteworthy is the fact that ‘diversity’ – a complex term in its own sense – has been broken down into account for women, veterans, minorities, people with disabilities and LGBT employees individually.
The list also shows just about how far behind Indian organisations are. While the discourse globally is expanding the definition of diversity, and trying to accommodate its essence in a very real sense; diversity in India, at best, means taking women along as well. For far too long, policies that encourage diversity have remained on paper in India, and the time has never been more opportune to truly follow them in spirit. Lastly, as the entire study shows, having a diverse workforce is not an end in itself, but what is more important is how the diversity within is managed. The safeguards that exist to ensure that every employee, regardless of his/her gender, ability, sexual orientation, is on an equal footing are just as important. However, probably the most essential ingredient to ensure a diverse workforce and have equal opportunities for them is, the intention to do so.