By: Ber Leary on December 9th, 2021
5 Companies With Inspiring Examples of Diversity Equity and 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.
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.