By: Ber Leary on December 9th, 2021

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5 Companies With Inspiring Examples of Diversity Equity and Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) is not just a moral issue, it’s also a practical one. All data says the same thing: diverse and inclusive companies are more profitable, perform better, and have an easier time attracting recruits.

But what should you be aiming for in your DE&I strategies? It’s a tough question for HR managers who find themselves responsible for building an inclusive workplace. There’s so much to do that it’s hard to know where to start.

A good place to start is by looking at the companies getting it right. Here are some of the biggest innovators in the world of DE&I.

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5 of the best companies for diversity, equity and inclusion

Most of the companies below are major multinationals. They have the people and resources to allow them to run ambitious DE&I projects on a global scale.

Your company might not be quite as big, but you can still learn a lot from their strategies. Also, it’s worth noting that these initiatives are guided by extensive internal research. These companies are pursuing these strategies because they know they work.

Accenture – Building strong Employee Resource Groups

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are mutually supportive groups that give colleagues a chance to share experience, receive coaching, and advocate change. Healthy ERGs can play a key role in your DE&I strategy – but only if they have leadership support.

Accenture consistently ranks as one of the best employers for DE&I in the world. That’s partly because of their well-supported ERGs that offer international support for employees from marginalized groups.

Two of their biggest ERGs are:

  • Pride, with 120,000 members, including LGBT+ employees and allies
  • Disability Champions, whose 27,000 members advocate for accessibility and inclusion

Accenture also has a lot of other things to be proud of, such as the fact that 42% of Accenture executives are women. But these ERGs play a massive role in creating a welcoming experience for staff at every level.

Related Reading: The HR Leader's Complete Guide to DE&I

Microsoft – Amplifying Black voices

2020 was a turning point for many organizations. The murder of George Floyd and the civil unrest that followed caused leaders everywhere to think about their role in ongoing inequality.

Microsoft took a bold step forward by committing to their Black employees and working on increasing Black representation within the company. In July 2020, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that the company would:

  • Use analytics to help improve their internal approach to DE&I
  • Use their clout as a major company to encourage suppliers and vendors to be more inclusive
  • Increase the internal DE&I budget by $150 million over five years
  • Double the number of Black and African American senior leaders by 2025

The company also launched its own Amplifying Black Voices program, a multimedia series that highlights some of the Black leaders, thinkers and innovators that are changing the world.

ViacomCBS – Women in the C-Suite

Gender disparity is still a major issue, especially at the top. Women only 23.5% of board seats at companies on the Russell 2000 index, and that number drops to 16.9% globally. At this rate, we can expect to see gender parity in the boardroom sometime around 2040.

But some companies are ahead of the curve, and a few even have majority-female boards. One such company is the communications giant ViacomCBS, an organization that where women represent:

  • 58% of the board
  • 49% of leaders at VP level or above in the U.S.
  • 48% of leaders at VP level or above globally

These numbers are not accidental. ViacomCBS has invested heavily over the years in its Female Talent Program to help women step into a leadership path. The company has also pursued a robust internal DE&I strategy to create a supportive and encouraging environment.

Proctor & Gamble – Putting accessibility first

Organizational culture can be a significant barrier for people with disabilities. Many companies simply don’t put enough thought into accessibility, which is why 60% of employees with disabilities feel excluded at work.

Proctor & Gamble has been working to reverse that, and is currently on a mission to become “the most accessible company in the world”. They are realizing this vision by taking some serious internal steps, such as:

  • Creating the new global position of Accessibility Leader
  • Backing an ERG, People With Disabilities Network, to offer internal support and advocate for accessibility
  • Launching the Disabilities Challenge, which solicits employee ideas for more accessible products

This is a great example of how internal DE&I initiatives can make for a better customer experience. Accessibility is such a fundamental part of the conversation at Proctor & Gamble that it has now started to influence product development and marketing.

KPMG – Leadership DE&I training through reverse mentoring

One of the biggest issues in DE&I is the lack of shared experience. Many people want to be more inclusive, but they simply don’t understand what it’s like to be part of a marginalized group.

Reverse mentoring is one strategy that can help bridge this gap. KPMG has been running an internal reverse mentoring scheme since 2018, which involves:

  • Senior leaders paired with junior employees of a different gender, race, or sexuality
  • Leaders get to learn how they can be more inclusive
  • Junior employees feel more empowered and engaged

Reverse mentorship is a win-win for both parties. Studies show that both parties gain knowledge during a reverse mentoring session, which is not always the case in a traditional mentoring arrangement.

How will your business tackle DE&I this year?

The companies above are leading the way in DE&I progress, but they still all have one thing in common: they’re not quite there yet.

DE&I is a journey rather than a destination. There will always be new challenges to deal with and new opportunities to make improvements. For HR leaders, that means that you always have to make DE&I part of your long-term strategy.

Need some expert guidance? Set up a no-obligation consultation call today and speak to a Helios HR consultant. Let’s chat about how you can take your DE&I strategy to the next level.

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