Meeting in a Box: Veterans Day

This educational tool, available for posting on your corporate intranet, includes a Timeline, Facts & Figures and a brand new guide for all employees on transitioning your veterans into your organization.


This Meeting in a Box tool is designed for distribution to all employees. You may use portions of it or all of it. Each section is available as a separate PDF; you can forward the entire document or link to it on DiversityInc Best Practices; or you can print it out for employees who do not have Internet access.

For Veterans Day, we are giving you a valuable tool to share with all your employees as you continue their education in cultural competence. We are supplying a Timeline of military battles, legislation and events impacting veterans and their achievements in the United States; Facts & Figures demonstrating veteran demographics; and a new feature: “Transitioning Veterans into Your Organizations: A Guide for All Employees," by Chris Wilson, VP of consulting at DiversityInc and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

This information should be distributed to your entire workforce and also should be used by your veterans employee resource group both internally and externally as a year-round educational tool. It also can be particularly valuable to your disability, women's and LGBT employee resource groups.

[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the full Meeting in a Box, our diversity-management training and educational tool available only to Benchmarking customers and DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.]

1. Timeline

We recommend you start your employees' cultural-competence lesson on veterans by using this Timeline, which documents significant military operations, legislation and other historic events impacting veterans in the United States.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Why — or why not — have veterans been valued in this country?

Ask employees what contributions veterans have made to their country and why after certain military operations there was more or less support for them. How does treatment and reputation of veterans impact their role in the workplace?

Why have some barriers, such as women in combat and Don't Ask, Don't Tell, been so hard to end?

How do the military, political and social climates in this country impact issues of civil rights in the armed services? How does this affect veterans and their spouses in the private sector?


2. Facts & Figures

After discussion of the Timeline, the next step is to review available data and understand demographics of veterans (important for diversity recruiters) as well as benefits they bring the workplace, such as education, leadership training and ability to act in crisis.

The data we have chosen to present here represents information of relevance to corporate America, such as racial/ethnic, gender, age, education and business ownership (vital for supplier diversity). We also feature the Top 10 Companies for Veterans and the best practices they employ, such as an employee resource group for veterans, having recruitment efforts aimed at veterans, hiring practices aimed at spouses of veterans and increased philanthropic endeavors and supplier diversity for veterans.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Does your company have an employee resource group for veterans?

If not, how would this group benefit your company in increased hiring, engagement and promotion rates? If so, does the group communicate regularly with other employee resource groups, such as groups for people with disabilities? Is the group tasked with improving recruitment, retention and leadership development, as well as community outreach?

Increasingly, veterans' employee resource groups are being used to also help with onboarding and ensure that veterans acclimate to corporate cultures. It's also vital to have their managers and other employees understand veterans to ensure a successful transition to corporate life.

Does your company have a supplier diversity program aimed at veterans and/or veterans with disabilities?

Veteran-owned businesses are a valuable part of your procurement chain and can bring important skills and criteria to your organization. Similarly, vendors owned by people with disabilities and especially veterans with disabilities are increasingly included (and targeted) as vital pieces of the procurement budget.

Does your company publicly support veterans?

Strong support from CEOs, such as Johnson & Johnson's Alex Gorsky and Prudential Financial's John Strangfeld, cements a company's reputation as a supporter for veterans (Prudential Financial is No. 4 on the 2016 Top 10 Companies for Veterans list). This helps with recruitment, engagement, leadership development and procurement.


3. New: Transitioning Veterans into Your Organization: A Guide for All Employees

Chris Wilson, vice president of consulting at DiversityInc and a United States Marine Corps veteran, contributed this new piece for the Veterans Day Meeting in a Box. This guide can be used as a tool for all employees to further their cultural competence training. Using his personal experience from an active duty Marine to working in Corporate America and then the non-profit world, Chris provides guidelines in four key areas: common misconceptions, mental health, social interaction and giving back to the community.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Does your company have the resources to help your veterans who may be struggling with mental health issues?

Chris' company wanted to help but didn't have the means to do so. Assess what resources your company has to offer not just veterans but all employees who may be dealing with mental health problems.

How can your veterans group specifically help you transition your veterans to the corporate world?

Think about how you can use your vets group and other efforts like these to educate the employee population about what service means, how it impacts individuals and their families and how to maximize the value of veterans in the workplace.

Should you keep politics — or controversial subjects — out of the office?

Whether the subject is military service or race, using employee resource groups and facilitated discussions to openly address issues is the best course of action.

Are volunteer opportunities for employees widely known in your company?

If not, why? Come up with a plan to promote these opportunities. If so, is your veterans resource group specifically made aware of them? If your company does not offer volunteer opportunities for employees at this time, consider some causes that may be meaningful to your company specifically that employees would like to get involved in, or have your employee resource groups make suggestions.

What other offensive words or phrases have you heard directed at veterans or their spouses in the workplace?

Discuss how these phrases and stereotypes impact office morale and productivity. Many people are the children of veterans and also may be offended by these statements. Continue the discussion with each employee having a plan of action on how to address offensive language.


Meeting in a Box: Global Diversity

This educational tool, available for posting on your corporate intranet, includes diversity-management information on global diversity.


Photo by Shutterstock

This Meeting in a Box tool is designed for distribution to D&I staff, global HR, talent-acquisition and communications staff, employee-resource-group leaders and diversity-council members. You may use portions of it or all of it. Each section is available as a separate PDF; you can forward the entire document or link to it on DiversityInc Best Practices; or you can print it out for employees who do not have Internet access.

This month, we are giving you the latest trends, how-to’s and best practices on global diversity. We’ll show you the three main areas that are of concern to global companies: local cultural competence, developing female talent and global employee resource groups. For more on global diversity, please see the executive summary of our global research at

The greatest concern most companies have about global diversity is the lack of common standards and metrics to assess success. U.S.-based metrics often don’t translate well globally because far fewer demographics and best practices are measured. (In some countries it is illegal to ask about demographics such as age or race/ethnicity.) And getting local buy-in to the business value of diversity and inclusion can be challenging if these initiatives are seen as U.S. mandates.

[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the full Meeting in a Box, our diversity-management training and educational tool available only to Benchmarking customers and DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.]

I. Local Cultural Competence

The issue that most concerns companies starting or trying to increase their global-diversity initiatives is how to bring concepts of inclusion and best practices that may have originated in the United States to local markets while respecting local values and traditions.

The expression “Meet them where they are” is often used when referencing efforts on global diversity. However, multinationals, especially those headquartered in the United States, grapple with the best ways to do that while advancing inclusion in the workplace.

These concerns surface most often, but not exclusively, around gender and sexual orientation. Some companies choose to create “safe spaces” within their facilities in countries where gender equality or LGBT rights don’t exist. Others take a more active role in trying to change public policy but also try to “sell” local employees on the business benefits of inclusion.

A global diversity council can set policies that help advance inclusion, but local buy-in, especially from local leadership, is essential. Many large multinationals have had executive diversity councils, but the truly international focus of these groups has developed more significantly in recent years. Companies like Dell and EY have their CEOs chairing these councils, to emphasize the importance to the entire organization.

Our research, which this year included D&I initiatives in 24 countries in seven regions, shows that most of these councils meet in person at least once a year but have as many as four meetings a year virtually. They often have regional diversity councils, headed by the local leaders, reporting in to them. That includes the U.S. diversity councils.

Increasingly, their role is to uphold corporate values of inclusion and set a priority strategy for the year implemented by the local/regional councils.

Guided Questions for Staff

How are your global efforts monitored? What role do D&I staff play?

Global diversity is gaining in funding and in full-time staff in individual regions/countries as more multinational corporations recognize the need for global cultural competence on a local level to adhere to corporate values and goals. Our research shows most multinational companies have two D&I people in European and Asian countries, while the DiversityInc Top 50 average for the United States is 14.

Do you have a global diversity council? If so, is it chaired by your CEO?

A global D&I council will be less metrics-focused and more strategic than a U.S. D&I council, our research shows. Most of these councils will set an overarching goal, such as increasing women in management or a greater emphasis on mentoring, and rely on local leaders and councils to implement. They often require quarterly or semi-annual reports on progress.

What are the greatest challenges you face in implementing D&I globally?

Talk frankly with your staff about the global challenges and the differences between countries and cultures. Examine what other companies are doing in similar situations and what lessons you can learn.


II. Developing Female Talent

Gender inequity remains the greatest concern in all of the countries we examined. The greatest barrier to women’s advancement continues to be family demands.

Best practices include:

Mandatory diverse slates. One company in the United Kingdom insists that all executive short lists have 30 percent women candidates. Another company in the United Kingdom insists that its headhunters must include at least one credible female on the short list for all major selections.

Finding women in tech industries and non-traditional roles. Increasingly, every company views itself as a technology company, and more are working with girls in schools to raise awareness in interest in STEM careers.

Looking at talent-development initiatives carefully. A company in the United Kingdom says its high-potential development programs must be 50 percent female. These programs include two-day meetings focused on driving innovation, with the high-potentials developing new products, custom relationships, and improving diversity and employee engagement.

Emphasis on workplace flexibility. Also in the United Kingdom, one company has recruiters partner with hiring managers to determine whether a new role is conducive to a flexible schedule.

Understanding need for role models. Multinationals help lead and support country efforts to mandate more female representation on boards of directors.

Guided Questions for Staff

How cognizant are you of the cultural differences in your different regions—and countries—for women?

Some best practices involve sensitivity to local cultural values, such as the needs of mothers-in-law in India and women appearing in public or in mixed gender groups in Saudi Arabia.

Do your local HR people have specific efforts in place to recruit women? Our research shows less than 20 percent of multinationals have actual recruitment plans in place in most countries, especially in Asia. Those plans would include dedicated recruiters working with women’s organizations and schools, and specific training programs for girls and women.

Do you have a women’s employee resource group in most countries?

Our research also indicates more than 90 percent of global employee resource groups are still based on gender yet most U.S.-based companies have not started global resource groups yet. If you aren’t ready to start them in a country, try a region or a grouping of companies. Use virtual tools to get them going and ensure they communicate with each other about best practices as well as with your D&I staff.


III. Global Employee Resource Groups

The number of global employee resource groups is growing. While most are groups for women, our latest round of global-diversity research showed 15 percent of multinationals now had some LGBT resource groups globally versus 5 percent a year ago. And 18 percent had groups for younger workers in countries outside of the U.S. versus 12 percent a year ago.

Best practices for these groups include:

• Coordination from D&I staff at headquarters with sensitivity to local cultural nuances.

• Ability for groups to talk to each other virtually in a coordinated way (portal, regular virtual meetings) to share best practices and challenges.

• Support from local leadership is essential if the groups are to be recognized as valuable to business goals and create momentum in membership.

Guided Questions for Staff

Which of your employee resource groups would work on a global basis?

Consider LGBT groups, groups for people with disabilities, generational groups and veterans groups. For the most part, groups based on race/ethnicity don’t translate well globally.

Are you creating a framework for the groups to form charters, have goals and gain members?

Use your D&I staff to give people the tools to succeed with local ERGs. Adjust goals to local needs and abilities. For example, a metric to increase recruitment by a specific percentage might be too difficult for a group starting out in certain countries. A better goal would be to help put in place a means to increase recruitment.

How well are your communication networks set up?

It’s critical that global groups talk to each other, as well as to local leadership and to your D&I staff locally and globally. They can share best practices and be monitored to ensure they are focused on business-related goals.


[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the full Meeting in a Box, our diversity-management training and educational tool available only to Benchmarking customers and DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.]

Web Seminar: Global Diversity With Accenture, Wyndham Worldwide

How do you make the business case to local leadership? Who should be on a global diversity council? How do you structure global resource groups?


Please click on the play button to start the presentation. Click on the full-screen button in the upper-right corner of the player (the two arrows) to increase the size of the presentation.

Click here to view the PDF presentation of this Web Seminar.

Plummer, Crowley

Cécile Rochet, Senior Manager, Global Inclusion and Diversity Team, GU connection - Ethnicity, LGBT, PwD, Cross-cultural, Accenture; and Lucida Plummer, Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion, and Anna Marie Crowley, Vice President, Organizational Capability & Effectiveness, Wyndham Worldwide, share best practices on local cultural competence, global diversity councils, global resource groups, making the business case to local leadership, and talent development for women.

*DiversityInc Web Seminar content may not be shared or reproduced. Downloads of the presentation are available for purchase at

Advice for Crafting a Diversity Plan

What are the key do’s and don’ts the fraternity can learn from 14 years of DiversityInc Top 50 analysis of diversity plans, including having a chief diversity officer, mandatory diversity training, and an external advisory board.


By Barbara Frankel

For organizations looking to boost diversity among their ranks, the best place to start is with a thought-out plan.

The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity survey has measured the impact of diversity-management plans on thousands of organizations in the last 14 years, so we're providing metrics-based do's and don'ts for three key diversity initiatives:

  • • appointing a head of diversity and inclusion,
  • • instituting mandatory diversity training,
  • • and creating a national advisory board.


1. Appointing a Director of Diversity and Inclusion

The decision to appoint a person as head of diversity is important—but if the person isn’t the best qualified for the job and doesn’t have access to top leadership, no progress toward an inclusive culture will occur.

In the early days of diversity and inclusion (and some organizations new to D&I still do this), companies often appointed someone who was “diverse” (a woman and/or a Black person) to head diversity without ensuring that the person wanted the job or was the best qualified. Today, DiversityInc Top 50 companies look at a variety of qualifying factors, including interest, varied background and business contributions.

Traditionally, chief diversity officers have come from HR backgrounds, but increasingly DiversityInc Top 50 companies such as Kaiser Permanente, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Toyota are choosing line executives to head their diversity offices. Other DiversityInc Top 50 companies such as Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Prudential Financial have experienced attorneys heading their diversity initiatives.

The benefits of having someone who really understands the goals of the organization can’t be emphasized enough. That person has credibility within the organization and can link the diversity efforts directly to business (or organizational) goals, such as recruitment, retention and engagement, talent development, cultural-competence education, and community involvement.

The importance of direct involvement with senior leadership—whether it is a formal reporting structure or frequent access—also is critical. Companies where heads of diversity are involved in business decisions and are consulted when issues arise report far more long-term success in creating an inclusive culture (as measured by retention and engagement scores).

DiversityInc Top 50 – Chief Diversity Officers

Have CDO82%100%
CDO Reports to CEO16%28%


2. Implementing mandatory diversity and education program

Diversity training can be very valuable if done correctly, but too many organizations buy cookie-cutter programs that are expensive and don’t have associated metrics to assess the value of the training. The best training is personal and shows a value to the organization.

Effective diversity training also includes—and often starts with—the leaders of the organization, most often white men.

The question of whether the training should be mandatory or not has been analyzed in the DiversityInc Top 50 for years. Most DiversityInc Top 50 companies make the training mandatory for managers only because they are the conduits to effective diversity management through an organization. More and more, that training deals with unconscious bias and stereotypes, not finger-pointing and blame. But again, training without goals—such as higher engagement and retention rates—is ineffective.

Annual Cost of Diversity Training

(U.S. figures from SHRM)

DI Top 50$350
<1,000 Employees$922
1,000-10,000 Employees$761
>1,000 Employees$375


3. Appointing national advisory committee on diversity and inclusion

Only 5 percent of DiversityInc Top 50 companies have external councils to advise them, but these organizations have often helped during times of crisis. After its $156 million racial-bias lawsuit 15 year ago, The Coca-Cola Company was ordered to set up a board to monitor its activities, which helped turn the company’s diversity efforts around. In fact, the company voluntarily kept the board going longer because of its impact.

Other companies, such as Toyota, have on their own brought together advisory boards with experienced leaders from government, the private sector and the nonprofit world to advise them. And companies and industries in trouble, such as the tech industry these days, often will ask diversity leaders such as the Reverend Jesse Jackson to guide their efforts.

Here are some pretty simple caveats on doing this: Get the right people (experienced professionals who don’t have anything personally to gain) and listen to what they advise. Most importantly, tie all recommendations to goals that can be measured frequently.

Companies Share Maternity-Leave Innovations

While most U.S. companies lack comprehensive paid maternity leave, DiversityInc Top 50 companies are leading the way with generous benefits.


By Barbara Frankel

Photo by Shutterstock

The United States is one of the only countries in the world that does not mandate that companies offer paid maternity leave. But private industry—especially progressive companies in the DiversityInc Top 50—are leading the way in creating extended paid leave and easier transitions for working moms.

Companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Accenture and KPMG (Nos. 5, 12 and 21, respectively, in the Top 50) have generous maternity-leave policies and also offer paternity leave and adoption leave.

But they are the exception rather than the norm in this country.

Have Paid Parental Leave

DI Top 50U.S. (SHRM)Global (ILO)

Globally, the average time off is three months, while at many DiversityInc Top 50 companies it is between three and six months off. How much of that is paid varies widely.

Here are some best practices on maternity (and paternity) leave:

At PricewaterhouseCoopers, women typically combine different types of paid time off to create their maternity leave, says Jennifer Allyn, Managing Director, Diversity & Inclusion. The company’s recent study on female Millennials found they highly value flexibility. At PwC, the most popular amount of maternity leave is 16 weeks, but it is a combination of the following:

• Parental leave of 6 weeks (this is offered to both women and men, birth and adoptive parents).

• Short-term disability of 8–12 weeks depending on the state and/or type of birth (for example, you get more disability for a C-section and 4 weeks before the birth in California vs. only 2 weeks prior in New York).

• Paid vacation of 4 weeks, for the majority of professionals. Also, vacation days accrue when an employee is out on leave so most moms get additional days of vacation to use.

Accenture just announced it is doubling its maternity-leave benefits by offering up to 16 weeks of paid leave for full- and part-time workers in the U.S. The new policy also offers up to 8 weeks of paid parental leave for other primary caregivers after the birth or adoption of a child.

“Providing our people with these career opportunities that are unmatched in the industry means that we must help them navigate the choices and challenges of caring for a new child while they continue pursuing their careers,” said Stephen J. Rohleder, Group Chief Executive – North America. “These expanded benefits will help us attract, retain and inspire the best people.”

The company also created an extremely flexible workplace. Executives such as Shelly Swanback, who leads Global Business Operations for Accenture Digital and has two children, say the flexibility has enabled them to thrive professionally and personally. And the company recently completed research on how multitasking can hurt women’s careers.

KPMG has up to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of parental leave for primary caregivers and two weeks for non-primary caregivers in the United States.

Vodafone, which only has 500 U.S. employees and thus is ineligible to compete in the DiversityInc Top 50, recently announced it will let returning mothers work 30-hour weeks while being paid for full-time work for the first six months back at work.



Career Advice on Handling Unconscious Bias

Executives from TD Bank and Monsanto collaborate to help us understand what unconscious bias is, how and why it exists, and how to address it from both an individual and organizational standpoint. The webinar concludes with almost 20 minutes of Q&A.


How Executive Diversity Councils Yield Talent Results

Sodexo's Rolddy Leyva, VP, Global Diversity & Inclusion, talks about how his company's Diversity Leadership Council sets strategic priorities & performance expectations for D&I at the U.S. regional level and drives accountability for progress.


The Differences Between Mentoring and Sponsorship

Randy Cobb, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Southern Company and Matthew Hanzlik, Program Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Nielsen talk about the differences between mentoring and sponsoring and give insights into how their companies leverage each.