How a Large Company Like Comcast NBCUniversal Successfully Manages Diversity & Inclusion

The company has created the perfect synergy of engagement, accountability, advisory, and transparency to drive its success in managing diversity and inclusion.

Comcast NBCUniversal has had plenty of success in managing diversity and inclusion over the past seven years. That success shows in the company's ranking on the DiversityInc Top 50. The company is ranked No. 7 now, but was No. 49 just five years ago.

David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation, credits the success of the company's D&I efforts to the embedding of diversity within the business and functional areas of the company that are responsible for executing on business objectives.

Comcast NBCUniversal has a number of teams helping to drive this. Its Corporate D&I team coordinates company-wide initiatives and serves as a critical D&I resource to the rest of the company. The Corporate D&I team is also responsible for data analytics and D&I reporting.

The company's Workforce D&I team is embedded in human resources and has direct responsibility in hiring, setting hiring practices and initiatives, and executing on them. Comcast NBCUniversal's employee resource groups have over 30,000 members in more than 150 chapters across the country.In addition, disability inclusion initiatives are housed under Workforce D&I, and the company also has a dedicated Military & Veterans Affairs group that spans the organization. The company ranked No. 10, No. 4, and No. 6, respectively, on DiversityInc's Top Companies for Employee Resource Groups, People with Disabilities, and Veterans lists.

These teams, along with Programming, Community Impact, and Supplier Diversity (the company ranked No. 2 on DiversityInc's Top Companies for Supplier Diversity), work together to ensure there is a D&I lens at all times. Cohen explained, "We have been successful in moving the diversity and inclusion needle by embedding the responsibility for driving diversity and inclusion in the company right into the businesses where the decisions are being made that impact the diversity of this company and the feeling of inclusion that exists among our employees."

Internal and External Diversity Councils Drive Efforts

Comcast NBCUniversal has three diversity councils supporting its D&I efforts. Comcast and NBCUniversal each has an internal diversity council (IDC), which are chaired respectively by Cohen and Craig Robinson, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at NBCUniversal, and have senior leader representation from all areas of the two businesses. The internal councils set and implement D&I strategy and hold key stakeholders accountable for results. The IDCs meet independently and jointly throughout the year, and management bonuses are tied in part to D&I goals and performance.

The company's Joint Diversity Advisory Council (JDC), its external council, serves in an advisory capacity. Also chaired by Cohen, the JDC provides advice and guidance on development and implementation of the company's D&I strategy. The JDC is comprised of external national leaders in business, politics and civil rights and represents interests of women, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, veterans, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people.

Cohen noted that the JDC has been one of the most important tools the company has had in driving its D&I efforts. Cohen noted, "Having this outside set of advisors that cares about the company, that cares about diversity, has really helped improve the quality of our diversity and inclusion practices and has helped us to create a state-of-the-art diversity and inclusion program at our company." The JDC advises on all things micro, macro, and in between. Examples include advising on D&I policies, serving as a radar for how the company is being perceived in different communities, and holding the company accountable for its commitments.

The JDC also advised Comcast NBCUniversal on how to tell its D&I story. Cohen elaborated, "The JDC has been incredibly helpful in encouraging us to be clearer in the data that we are disclosing. They've helped us to make sure that when we're communicating the substantial data that we do communicate and the progress that we make, we're communicating in a way that is useful to people who may not be as intimately involved in the day-to-day of our diversity and inclusion programs as we are."

This level of transparency can be seen in the company's annual diversity and inclusion report. In the interactive report, the company includes workforce and management demographics (along with that of talent on air and behind the camera at NBCUniversal), information on spend with diverse suppliers, information on diverse content produced, and community impact initiatives. There are a number of companies on the Top 50 that produce annual diversity reports; however, this level of transparency is unprecedented.

Senior Leadership Engagement and Accountability Accelerates Progress

Cohen said that "the best way to move the diversity and inclusion needle quickly is to get buy-in from the senior leadership of the company at every level." A portion of senior leaders' bonuses is tied to the company's D&I goals, and that has helped the company yield desired results. But Cohen also credited success to what he called a "broad-based adoption" of a commitment to D&I by all senior leaders. Comcast NBCUniversal made driving D&I every senior leader's idea, and that in turn made each of them own their commitment to D&I. It also turned the competitiveness of the group up a notch and ultimately made the group hold themselves accountable.

Cohen illustrated one example: "We've got three geographic divisions in Comcast Cable, and when we publish results (quarterly, semi-annually or annually), we break them down by division. If the northeast division is falling behind the west division or the central division on some critical D&I metric, I don't even have to pick up the phone. They look at it and we'll often hear, 'Why are we in third place among the divisions? What are they doing that we're not doing? How do we turn that around?'And the divisional leadership puts in place the steps that are necessary to enhance the diversity performance in that division."

With the embedding of diversity within business and functional areas of the company, the IDCs and senior leaders taking accountability for executing on strategy and driving results, and the JDC's advice, Comcast NBCUniversal is set up for continued success in managing D&I.

Humana's David Best Shares an Enterprise-Wide Perspective on Veteran Recruitment

"Each year Humana's Veterans Network Resource Group (VNRG) develops specific goals centered around community, careers, and how we can provide added value to the business," says Best, Senior Talent Management Professional and Veteran Hiring Initiative Leader at Humana.

David has been with Humana for slightly over 5 years. After serving a lengthy and successful Army career with multiple overseas deployments, he retired from active Army service and transitioned directly into Humana. He has served in three roles at Humana. As a Process Consultant, as an Operational Readiness Manager for a Lean Start-Up, and in his current role as Humana's Veterans Hiring Initiative leader.

David has a graduate degree in Computer Resources and Information Management from Webster University in Missouri and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. His Talent Management background spans over 22 of his 32 years of active Army service.

He served in positions of increasing responsibility worldwide with his last position as the senior Army retention director for the Afghanistan Theater of Operations.

When he's not enjoying the company of his wife, sons, and dog, David spends his free time reading, pursuing outdoor activities, and computing.

DI: Please describe Humana's military recruitment/outreach initiatives.

Humana has a deep commitment to the veteran and military spouse population. As a longtime partner to the Department of Defense's TRICARE program, Humana currently administers health benefits for more than 6 million active duty military and retirees as well as their families across 32 states.

Since the inception of TRICARE in 1996, Humana has worked to improve the lives entrusted to our care by partnering with the Government to create the right access, better health outcomes, and simplified experiences.

As part of our relationship, we actively seek veterans and military spouses because we understand they're part of a distinct and highly skilled professional talent pool.

In response to a request from President Obama to corporate America, we launched our Veterans Hiring Initiative in August 2011 with a commitment to hire 1,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014. We completed the first 1,000 hires in December 2012, which led to the launch of our Veterans Network Resource Group (VNRG). Because of the success of our effort, we recommitted to an additional 1,000 hires by the end of 2015. We achieved that goal in May 2014. Beginning in 2015, we made an ongoing commitment to hire 500 veterans and military spouses annually. In addition to this, we put a focus on hiring Wounded Warriors. Since the start of our initiative, we've hired over 4,500 veterans and military spouses.

To help maintain our commitment, we have a talent manager dedicated to veterans and military spouses. This role provides national outreach through partnerships with organizations serving veterans and military spouses. We send a list of open roles twice monthly to our partners as well as provide career coaching, resume and interview assistance, and advocacy to recruiters and hiring managers. The talent manager works with recruiters and hiring managers to bridge the gap on translation of military skills to the corporate environment. We have developed a specific training module as well for recruiters and hiring managers that helps them understand the value of the veteran in the corporate workplace.

DI: Is there a specific onboarding process after hiring veterans (and Guard and Reserve members)?

Each year Humana's Veterans Network Resource Group (VNRG) develops specific goals centered around community, careers, and how we can provide added value to the business. As part of our 2017 VNRG goals, we built an innovative onboarding experience for our new veteran and military spouse hires. Now, when we hire a veteran or military spouse, they have an opportunity before they start their first day in the organization to be paired with a volunteer from the VNRG known as a Pathfinder; the volunteer connects with them and facilitates their assimilation into our family. During the associates' first three months with Humana, they will have contact with their Pathfinder a minimum of seven times. As of November 2018, we made more than 350 pairings.

For 2019, we plan to implement a quarterly event where all of the new veteran and military spouse hires can discuss their onboarding experiences as well as learn more about Humana.

DI: Can you describe the programs you have in place to develop military talent?

Currently we have quarterly town halls specializing in topics of interest to our members. For 2019, we will be more intentional about career development by holding twice-monthly lunch-and-learns. We will have a development theme each month of the year.

DI: What is the Veterans NRG's role in military recruitment/outreach initiatives?

Our VNRG is instrumental in promoting the hiring of veterans and military spouses. Members act as ambassadors wherever they are located and refer veteran/military spouse talent to the program manager of the veterans hiring initiative. We also invite members to attend career events with the talent acquisition team as well as represent Humana at veteran events.

DI: Talk to us about the transition process and career development. How has Humana's focus on military members helped you with your career?

While I was winding down my 32-year active military career, I knew I had no understanding of corporate America. I dropped out of high school and joined the Army when I was 17. I was fully institutionalized, so to speak, and had a lot of anxiety thinking about how I would take care of my family when I came to the end of my military career.

My journey through the military helped me to understand the value of education. I left the service with a graduate degree in a technical subject as well as a certification as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Because of these qualifications, I had a bit of an easier time translating my military work into corporate language. I was able to show success metrics that transcended the military environment and equally applied to the corporate environment.

When I joined Humana I was fortunate to have as my leader a woman named Laura Padgett. She knew I was coming in to the team with no corporate experience. While having no military association herself, she intuitively knew I would need a little extra assistance with my assimilation into the corporate world. She cared about me and took it upon herself to mentor and develop me into someone with lots of corporate potential. I still consider her a mentor today, and I reach out to her from time to time for professional advice.

One thing that has stuck with me since my first day at Humana is how much they care about our veteran population. In the first year of my Humana employment, people that knew I came from the military directly to the corporate environment took extra time to help me develop and understand the corporate space.

After I had been with Humana for about 6 months, I had a chance meeting with a military veteran who was involved with our Veterans Network Resource Group. He helped me to understand the VNRG mission, and I joined right away. I volunteered my time and abilities to help grow myself and others. Because of my work with the VNRG and company-wide exposure, it led me to apply for the current role I have today working with veterans and military spouses seeking employment with Humana.

I directly credit our VNRG for helping me to have a solid second career. The networking opportunities, the volunteering opportunities and the relationships have inspired me to become more involved. Because of my involvement with our VNRG, I've been able to pay back what has been given to me during my time here at Humana.

AT&T Reaches 10-Year Milestone of Celebrating Employee Resource Groups

The annual gathering is significant because it's the "life blood of the culture of our company," said Corey Anthony, senior vice president-human resources and chief diversity officer.

AT&T (No. 3 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) reached a milestone this fall with its 10th annual Employee Resource Group (ERG) conference in Dallas. The company is committed more than ever to expanding its 12 ERGs, which grew in membership in 2018.

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Submitted by: TIAA

Diversity Awareness Month is about raising awareness for the need for diversity in the workforce, and celebrating the awareness of your own diversity within yourself and others, and sharing that unique diversity openly and proudly with others, which can help create inclusion and collaboration in the workplace.

During this month, TIAA celebrated how it has cultivated its commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I), making it a strategic priority and dedicated function 10 years ago. While this organization's D&I leadership began decades ago through the hiring of the first woman to our board of directors in 1940 and also the hiring of the first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 1987, TIAA has made significant additional strides in the last decade in many ways:

  • In 2016, TIAA launched "Journey to Inclusion" (JTI), an experiential, award-winning learning program that provides tools that employees can use to be more inclusive, every day. More than 70% of TIAA employees participated in JTI to date, including 90% of managers and senior leaders.
  • TIAA's Executive Committee is about 50% racially and gender diverse, which is due in large part to the company's hard work to ensure TIAA reflects the broad spectrum of its client base.
  • TIAA is recognized for commitment to diversity and inclusion by multiple organizations, including the DiversityInc. Top 50 (five years in a row), Working Mother's 100 Best Companies, Forbes' America's Best Employers for Diversity, ranked in Latina Style Top 50 for consecutive 8 years, and this year TIAA was certified as a Great Place to Work for the first time in its history.
  • TIAA expanded its creative scope by introducing an all-employee film premiere nationwide in TIAA offices about race amity, a film sponsored by TIAA that showcases close cross cultural friendships in U.S. and global history.
  • TIAA launched an Incubator that is comprised of the eight employee resource groups and representative of a variety factors such as different levels of seniority, varying lengths of tenure and business areas - that are tapped into to provide valuable business input from diverse perspectives to drive innovation for our customers in the form of new or improved products and services.

TIAA hosted several events this month to celebrate Diversity Awareness Month that demonstrated its continued commitment to being on the forefront of D&I for board and corporate diversity of all kinds.

For example, TIAA hosted its first-ever story telling story hour this month, which featured several employees in multiple office locations sharing short stories about pivotal life moments that have shaped who they are today and how it helps them engage and contribute day-to-day at TIAA. The purpose of the personal, short employee stories is to show and celebrate how diverse, talented, and skilled the TIAA workforce is, and how employees have overcome obstacles and challenges in their lives which they use today in their character & work ethic to turn challenges into innovative opportunities and solutions for change and growth for their teams and the company. The event reveals the power in building trust and perspective among colleagues to foster greater collaboration and communication. This sharing facilitates growth for individuals and work teams, enriching their service to the organization.

Cathy Ivey, a Diversity & Inclusion Director at TIAA in Charlotte, shared how she and her family overcame homelessness, and how she learned the importance of the value of money and saving. This experience, she says, helped define and shape the way she relates to people. Cathy said her life experiences taught her to be accepting, curious, and to avoid passing judgement and instead to look at being of service to others.

"Our Diversity Awareness Month is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the work we do to live our core values, empower diverse voices through our ERGs and celebrate the impact of inclusion at TIAA," said Ivey.

Other Diversity Awareness Month events at TIAA included a D&I Festival showcasing the eight Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), a Power of One speaker event, and a recognition ceremony celebrating 10 years of dedicated D&I impact featuring business leaders across the organization sharing how these principles have shaped their engagement with teams and enhanced business results.

TIAA continues to raise the bar for diversity and make inclusion a continued priority, increasing engagement and conversations on employees bringing their authentic selves to work.

How Hilton Increased Women Representation in its Leadership Pipelines

In 2017, Hilton increased the amount of women at the senior leadership levels by 57 percent and two-thirds of the highest ranking promotions went to women. The catalyst: deliberate senior leadership engagement and accountability.


Hilton catapulted into the DiversityInc Top 10 for the first time in 2018, moving up an impressive 20 spots from No. 30 in 2017. The company was on the DiversityInc Noteworthy list in 2014. How did Hilton make that kind of progress in just four years? A big reason was its focus on developing, preparing and moving women into its executive pipeline. Six of nine people promoted into one level below the CEO and direct reports in 2017 were women. Promotions for women into two levels below the CEO and his direct reports increased by 57 percent from 2016.

The progress was driven by CEO Chris Nassetta and his direct reports. Below chronicles their journey—a journey of engagement, accountability and execution.

Read more about Chris Nassetta: Hilton President & CEO: Resource Groups, Customer Service Keys to Our Success

Laying the Foundation

When Hilton first stood up its executive diversity council (EDC) some years ago, it went from talking the talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I) to walking the walk. The EDC involved Hilton's highest levels of management, including the Executive Committee (EC) and the company's board of directors. With engagement from the EC and help from the board, the council set standards on how it would communicate D&I, establish goals, monitor, measure and reward for progress.

Matt Schuyler, Chief Human Resources Officer, says that accountability was very important to the company in managing D&I successfully. It was so important, the company decided to measure it in two ways:

  • Leadership Index: Annually, as part of their Team Member survey, Hilton Team Members rate their leaders across a variety of dimensions, such as how inclusive of an environment they create, how they talk about diversity and equality and how they show up in the D&I space. Combined, these questions create a Leadership Index score for each leader, and ten percent of a leader's bonus is tied to this index.
  • Talent Management: In addition to leadership index, Hilton established aggressive goals around talent management, including succession and various measures of diversity including ethnic, gender, veterans, disability, sexual orientation, etc.

The Human Resources department enforces this by measuring talent results and analyzing if progress was made. Schuyler added, "We set bold goals and hold our leaders accountable through specific measurements."

Read more about Matt Schuyler: Baseball Strike, Tech Turmoil, Financial Collapse: Lessons in Diversity of Thinking

Bold Strategy, Goals, Implementation and Execution

One of those bold goals was to significantly increase women representation in its senior leadership pipelines. To do so, Hilton implemented a two-pronged strategy, approaching the opportunity from both bottom-up and top-down perspectives.

For the bottom-up approach, Hilton's Women Team Member Resource Group (TMRG) was the catalyst for awareness and substantial insight that drove action around attraction, recruitment, hiring, development and retention of women. Schuyler attested that this was the company's preference, saying "The efforts were grassroots; we wanted it to be that way, to empower our female leaders and to ensure it was representative of all pockets around the company."

These efforts gave way to the company's top-down approach. In 2012, Hilton started the Executive Committee Networking Program to elevate its mentorship, sponsorship, and networking. Laura Fuentes, SVP, Total Rewards, People Analytics & Global D&I explained, "We were very careful in how we selected participants. We wanted to enable relationships where they may not naturally occur, and we focused first on women exclusively." The EC, including Nassetta and Schuyler, paired with two mentees each. The objective was for EC members to get to know these individuals better and support their growth.

The matchmaking served as a catalyst for a lot of movement around the company. Women who otherwise would not have had an opportunity to network with certain leaders, had the opportunity to do so. Schuyler noted, "Leaders would say, 'you know what, I know of a great opportunity for you.' And they looked to see if they had a match, and if the mentee was interested, they were connected to the appropriate business unit or department."

One of Schuyler's mentees was promoted to Vice President within Human Resources, but came from an IT background. "I got to know her through the program, realized she had an interest in HR. This connection helped - we worked to support her on that journey. For us, it was a testament that great talent can move quickly in our organization," said Schuyler.

Capitalizing on Momentum

The success of the program further engaged the EC. "When we all share talent and share the development of that talent, that brings a different level of collaboration between the EC members," Fuentes said. Hilton expanded the program given its success. The EC members were so engaged, they welcomed doubling the number of mentees for each of them to four.

Hilton also capitalized on the opportunity by integrating its Executive Development Program (EDP) with the Executive Committee Networking Program. As part of the program, the company had 20 people mentored by the EC and various leaders. Fuentes explained, "We expanded the scope to broaden that impact. We believe some of the responsibility should be below the EC as well. This allows us to extend our support to new populations that are hungry for that leadership."

Jon Muñoz, Vice President, Global Diversity and Inclusion added, "The EC members are also sponsors of the TMRGs so that is another layer of leadership where they are providing guidance. The TMRG chairs and co-chairs are provided these stretch opportunities to grow and develop leadership skills."

Hilton also took a new approach with expanded mentor/mentee pairing by asking the mentees who they wanted to be paired with, instead of choosing for them. The mentees gave their top three choices and the company did its best to match them. The company wanted more cross-pollination and did not want to fall victim to its own biases of who might be a great fit for someone else. The company got interesting match ups and found the best people leaders were the ones that people wanted to have as mentors.

In addition to delivering higher promotion rates for women, better connectivity and two-way learning, Fuentes explained that the Executive Committee Networking Program continues to build great leaders that then cascade and spread the wealth. "Those leaders that are EC mentored are now rising through the organization and pulling people up with them. And that's exactly what we were hoping. We've really built this into a high ROI investment and we'll continue to scale."

Fuentes herself participated in the EC networking program. New to hospitality, Fuentes was mentored by Nassetta (CEO), and the two have worked on a number of business projects, strategies and talent initiatives over that time. "Working with Chris has helped stretch my thinking and connect with other parts of the organization, which has been a great source of learning" Fuentes said.

Hilton is far from done. The company continues to find ways of leveraging engagement of its EC members, talent-development programs and TMRGs to drive talent results. Schuyler summed it up perfectly, "You're never done. There's no mission accomplished with respect to inclusiveness. You can always get better and have an even more inclusive work environment. But, you know you're making progress when D&I starts to become part of the fabric of the culture. It's part of the lexicon of our company and it's taking root everywhere. That means it's only going to get better. Our leaders are saying they want half of their sourcing pool to be diverse and the next half of their hires to be diverse. We're hearing that now without HR having to drive it. That's good progress."

More on Hilton:

Best Practices for Moving Women into Senior Leadership Roles

Mentoring - Keeping New Managers Engaged

Hilton's Operation: Opportunity Exceeds Veteran Hiring Goal

The TIAA Incubator: An Innovative Approach to Leveraging ERGs

At the company's ERG Summit, TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson acknowledged that its eight ERGs had been doing great work and positively impacting the company's culture and business. But Ferguson thought the groups could do more and he challenged them to create better experiences and outcomes for their clients. One year later, the TIAA Incubator was in operation and making a huge impact across the company.

Video shot and produced by Alana Winns and Christian Carew

TIAA, ranked No. 27 on the 2017 DiversityInc Top 50 list, has been a very strong company for diversity and inclusion (D&I) management. Led by Roger Ferguson, one of only three Black CEOs in the Fortune 500, TIAA has been ranked on the DiversityInc Top 50 since 2013.

The company has strong racial diversity and women representation in its workforce, management and leadership ranks. It also has best practices in place to help it recruit, manage and retain a diverse workforce, such as mentoring and employee-resource groups (ERGs). At the center of it all is Ferguson and his leadership team holding stakeholders accountable for results.

It was this accountability that lead to TIAA's breakthrough strategy on connecting D&I management to business impact. At the company's ERG Summit in 2015, Ferguson acknowledged that TIAA's eight ERGs had been doing great work and positively impacting the company's culture and business. But Ferguson thought the groups could do more and he challenged them to create better experiences and outcomes for their clients.

Kyle Kunde, Vice President DCIO Regional Sales Director, Nuveen (a subsidiary of TIAA), was invited to the ERG Summit that year. He was the business lead for military veterans ERG. After Ferguson's challenge, Kunde recalls thinking that the best route to an innovative solution is through a diverse group of folks working through it.

"If we've got five Kyles working on a problem, hopefully we'll get to a solution at some point," Kunde remembered. "But if we brought in others from different backgrounds and perspectives, the likeliness of us coming to an extraordinary innovative solution is much stronger."

While watching the D&I team and ERG members discuss and strategize on ideas, a light bulb went on for Kunde.

Kunde recalled, "We were sitting there and I thought what if we started to harness the power of D&I inside of an incubator solution where we could work with different business entities inside the enterprise. We could overcome group think. We could inject diversity into a number of the projects that our leaders are working through to hopefully get to innovative solutions."

The ball started rolling and the TIAA Incubator was born.

What is the TIAA Incubator

Kunde said the TIAA Incubator is "essentially a think tank." It took the company a year to think through how the Incubator would be structured and operate. Leading the way for the Incubator is a leadership council comprised of one person from each of the company's eight ERGs.

It also includes additional representation from the ERGs. The group strategizes to help leadership and the business entities solve problems.

Kunde explained, "The incubator basically engages with business entities to help create creative and innovative solutions to the problems that they are facing. The problems themselves can really be simple or could be an enterprise-wide, multi-year problem that we are working through."

Natasha Radden, SVP, Human Resources Business Partner, Client Services & Technology (formerly SVP, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer) added that the Incubator has worked on a number of business challenges so far, from reviewing the approach to the company's advisory model for certain groups and consulting with the internal teams to testing new products.

"The work that has come in has truly varied across the scale," Radden said. "The Incubator has been structured to allow leadership to pull members from each of the ERGs to reflect not only ethnicity and gender, but people who are on alternative work schedules or people in marketing or finance.

"We have people represented across all disciplines and so we get groups that are very diverse, in many different ways, to bring their talents and experiences to respond to the challenges we face."

Kunde added, "Our executive leadership and everyone under them can, when they are working through projects, tap into the Incubator for innovative minds, wealth of experiences and energized employees from all different areas of the organization."

One example of how the Incubator helped the company is when it launched a sophisticated IRA product late last year. The company used the Incubator before going to market to get a feel for what customers wanted and didn't want.

The business teams went through several pilots working side by side with the talent in the Incubator to ensure the product was a good fit.

"The businesses tapped into our intellectual capability, our perspectives, our diverse entity to help them come up with a product that makes sense," Kunde explained.

Participation in the Incubator

As of Q1, the Incubator base is 190 people and growing. Kunde said that the company has six Incubators going right now, each working on a different mid-to high-level project.

"What's cool about the incubator is it's like a start up inside of the organization," Kunde said. "Every year we're upgrading, we're adding new things, we're changing things to become more effective and efficient, to further drive innovation, diversity and inclusion."

There has been so much demand for the Incubator that three project managers were brought in (from ERGs) to help its leadership council. The project managers help the Incubator's leadership council spearhead the efforts. In essence, the Incubator serves as a project consultant to the businesses, similar to how D&I departments at many Top 50 companies serve as D&I consultants to their business units and departments.

"The incubator is now two years old and it took some time to stand up, get the processes in place and create an intake process for the businesses to bring issues to us," Kunde said. "We have projects going on simultaneously often times, we need to go out and solicit more people to come into the Incubator to work on the projects. I've been at leadership meetings where we are discussing a new product or an acquisition and leaders have asked about leveraging the Incubator, 18 months out from introducing the product. That says a lot about what has happened over the two years and how people, how our business leaders are looking at our ERGs and in particular the Incubator."

The Incubator also serves as a talent-development opportunity. It allows talent to be noticed by senior leaders.

Radden explained, "Employees who wouldn't naturally have an opportunity to have audience with our head of retail or the senior leadership team, through the Incubator, have the opportunity to have audience with senior leaders about business and really talk about something that's innovative and creative; and will potentially be one of the next new products that we introduce from that business."

Kunde is one example of this. He lives in Texas, is in sales and went on more than 100 flights last year. Kunde has aspirations of being in a leadership position one day.

"The Incubator has given me the opportunity to connect with some of the leaders inside of the organization and learn from them," Kunde said. "It is also allowing me to learn skillsets that are difficult to attain by just reading about them. In the Incubator, I get to learn and practice these skillsets. The impact the Incubator has on career development is real."

Does Google Want to Fix Its Diversity Problem?

Google can fix its diversity problem if it really wants to — here's how it can start.

When we hear companies talk about why their workforces are lacking in diversity, without showing real effort or providing solutions, we cringe. That's like a company providing a reason for missing quarterly revenue projections but not providing solutions on how it will adjust to hit the next quarter's revenue projection. That wouldn't sit well with shareholders and investors — and not providing solutions to diversify your workforce shouldn't either. We're not even going to go into the business case for diversity. We haven't touched on that in seven years.

DiversityInc developed a methodology to evaluate companies that report they can't make progress with diversifying their workforce because of exogenous factors. It also evaluates those that make claims that they foster diversity and inclusion but their actions show otherwise. The evaluation will be coupled with best practices on how other companies manage diversity and inclusion well.

Our methodology was spurred by Google's inability to provide solutions on solving its racial diversity and women representation problem. Google's position is that its diversity problem can't be solved because there aren't enough Blacks, Latinos and women in the field (technology, computer science) that it recruits from. While true, that's a small part of the problem. The real issue is that Google has a rampant culture problem — we'll get to that soon.

The grid below compares Google's diversity section to that of another company with similar recruitment challenges, EY. EY has been dealing with a low percentage of accounting degrees going to Blacks and Latinos for years. The firm ranked No. 1 on the DiversityInc Top 50 in 2017 and is one of five inaugural inductees into DiversityInc's Top 50 Hall of Fame. EY has not relied on the excuse of not having enough diverse talent available to them to make progress in diverse representation. The chart below shows that EY is very transparent with its strategy to attract more Blacks and Latinos.



Quote about D&I from the CEO.



Executive Diversity Council is highlighted and its mission is detailed.



Overall D&I strategy and vision is detailed.



Outlines initiatives to help women and racially diverse employees.



Addresses people with disabilities and LGBTs.



Lists awards and recognition earned for successfully managing diversity.



Highlights supplier-diversity initiatives.



For those outside of Google looking in, the company doesn't seem to have a commitment from senior leadership, nor is there transparency on how the company plans to solve its diversity challenge. Let's analyze this.

The Background

In January 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki participated in a town hall that aired on MSBNC titled "Revolution: Google and YouTube Changing the World." During the town hall, Wojcicki is questioned about the women representation issue in Silicon Valley (this begins around the 12:30 minute mark in the video). Recode's Kara Swisher questions Wojcicki about this issue by first laying out a dreadful statistic — 2 in 10 workers at Google are women. When asked what she think needs to happen to fix the issue, Wojcicki's response was a profession of an inability to solve the problem. The crux of her response was that tech has a reputation as a geeky male industry and only 20 percent of women are graduating with computer science degrees, so that's why Google can't solve the problem.

Google has been embroiled in culture issues for a number of years now but "stuff" really hit the fan in 2017.

  • The Department of Labor accused the company of severely discriminating against its female employees by paying them considerably less than their male counterparts.
  • In May, Google's lawyers said calculating data to determine if a gender pay gap exists is too expensive of a project for the company. The cost of the project would have been $100,000. Alphabet, Google's parent company, reported net income of $6.73 billion in Q3.
  • In August, James Damore, then a Google engineer, slammed diversity and suggested women are inferior as leaders in a 10-page misogynist memo. This wasn't a big deal for Google because the CEO didn't immediately respond, nor its head of HR. Instead, Google had Danielle Brown, its brand new VP of diversity, integrity and governance, respond. I guess they hired her to handle this exact kind of thing, alone. Damore was fired and later turned the tables on his former employer, casting his firing as conservative (him) versus liberal (Google). Nonsense. Google's leadership dropped the ball.

We reviewed Google's corporate website to get a deeper sense of what was going on and why we're still dealing with this in 2018. On the surface, the company has an information rich diversity section, with workforce demographics, descriptions of its 13 employee resource groups (ERGs), its community engagement efforts and outreach to diverse suppliers. The company even has an "Insights" tab, which features videos and links to studies about unconscious bias, eliminating bias when reviewing résumés and how to structure and check for pay equity, to name a few. The diversity page is well-crafted – it is as if the company googled "diversity and inclusion" and other combinations with the word "diversity" and mirrored its page on the best results.

But Google's workforce representation tells a different story. Black representation, at 2 percent, has remained static for four years. Representation of Hispanics (4 percent) and women (31 percent) each increased by 1 percentage point from 2014 to 2017. Over that timespan, representation of Asians (35 percent) increased by 5 percentage points. Note that Black, Latino and Asian representation are U.S. only, and representation of women is global.

There's a similar story in the company's leadership representation. Representation of Blacks (2 percent) and Latinos (2 percent) each went up by 1 percentage point over four years, while representation of women (25 percent) and Asians (27 percent) went up by 4 percentage points each. We don't know how Google defines leadership, but the pool is much smaller than the workforce. So, a 4 percentage-point increase may just be one person.

Google has not made much progress in diversifying its workforce since it first publicized its workforce representation data in May 2014. Having a small percentage of computer science degrees going to women, Blacks and Latinos seem to be Google's go-to excuse. But other STEM companies that could make similar claims as Google don't use this excuse. Take the chemical company BASF for example. BASF, ranked No. 25 on the DiversityInc Top 50, has a robust diverse candidate program to help it recruit racial diversity and women. The program, implemented two years ago, has already yield strong results for the company. Its aspirational goals are to ensure 50 percent of the people interviewed for roles are diverse, and 50 percent of the people doing the interviewing are diverse.

Can Google Solve This Problem?

Google can solve this problem if it really wanted to. Before focusing on this pipeline issue, however, Google must fix its culture problem. Even if Google could get diverse people in the door, why bring them into a toxic culture? Its culture problem starts with its senior leadership. There seems to be no accountability at the top of the organization in regards to diversity management. Yes, that engineer who wrote the memo was fired, but Google's leadership missed an opportunity to change the company's culture. The CEO should have immediately rebuked the memo and put a strategy in place to change the culture. By having the VP of diversity respond, Google's leadership signaled that this was a "diversity department" issue, not a company issue. And that is precisely why Google has made little progress in diversifying its workforce — because senior leaders are not holding themselves and others accountable.

Leadership accountability is not addressed in Google's diversity section. In fact, there is no statement about diversity from the CEO. Does Google really intend to change its culture? In comparison, in the middle of EY's diversity page is a quote addressing diversity from Steve Howe, US Chairman and Americas Managing Partner. EY also has a description of its Inclusiveness Advisory Council (IAC), otherwise known as an executive diversity council. EY states that its IAC "is dedicated to advancing Diversity and Inclusiveness (D&I) across the organization." The IAC is chaired by Steve Howe and Karyn Twaronite, its Global Diversity & Inclusiveness Officer.

The purpose of an executive diversity council (EDC) is to set and govern an organization's D&I strategy. Part of that, and the most important action the council can take, is to hold stakeholders accountable for results. If your company has a D&I strategy but doesn't have an EDC, odds are that strategy isn't being enforced. There's no evidence that Google has an EDC. If it did, it would have highlighted it on its diversity page.

EY has a section dedicated to its commitment to women's leadership. The firm states, "A strong 'tone at the top' from senior leaders holds our executives accountable for the development and advancement of women." EY backs up this statement by detailing its efforts and initiatives it has in place to encourage and ensure advancement of women at the firm. In December 2017, EY announced that Kelly Grier will succeed Howe in July 2018 as US Chairman and Americas Managing Partner.

Google only addresses women in its diversity section with two studies. The first study, released in May 2014, focused on "identifying and understanding the factors that influence young women's to pursue degrees in Computer Science." The second study, released in 2016, explored diversity gaps in computer science. There is no mention of what Google plans to do, or even aspires to do, to help fix its problem of low women representation.

For Google, the only way of fixing the problem is to produce external studies on what people already know. Google doesn't have a study on what's going on internally. The company should take a page out of EY's book.

EY has a D&I roadmap on its diversity page, which outlines the firm's D&I journey. The roadmap provides actions that the firm as a whole, and individuals, can take to ensure an inclusive culture. The firm references insights from external research on how D&I drives performance. However, to back that up, EY references an internal study that shows EY groups with best in class engagement have better retention, stronger revenue growth and higher profitability. EY is practicing what it preaches; Google is not.

What Should Google Do Next?

Google needs to change its culture, but the big question is, does it want to? In January 2018, Wired uncovered internal strife. Diversity advocates at Google reported being targeted by a small group of coworkers in an effort to silence discussions about racial and gender diversity. The ones doing the targeting are most likely those who, like the fired engineer James Damore, think straight white men are being discriminated against and it's conservatives (them) versus liberals (diversity advocates). Nonsense. Targeted employees report that Google's senior leadership is doing little to fix the situation. Google's leadership has been passive.

So how can Google change its culture if its senior leaders wanted to? It would have to start by starting up an executive diversity council. The council would reset the company's D&I strategy and, more importantly, hold senior leaders and other stakeholders accountable for D&I results. At many companies on the DiversityInc Top 50, the majority of senior leaders take a stake in helping to manage D&I. Without senior leadership commitment, there will be no traction and no progress. Google's CEO would have to chair the council to signal the utmost importance of its work. He'd have to meet often with the council, at least once a month, to get real-time updates. Utilizing dashboards and scorecards is critical to understanding which areas need the most attention. Senior leaders will also have to be held accountable for results, meaning D&I results have to be tied to their pockets.

The big question is, does Google's senior leaders want to change the company's culture?

Is Your Company Using 5 Critical Practices to Increase Disability Self-Identification Rates?

The 2017 NOD Disability Employment Tracker results reveal the practices of top companies to achieve a disability workforce representation of four percent or more.

Contributed by the National Organization on Disability

The 2018 Disability Employment Tracker™ is now open for enrollment. Complete the free and confidential survey by March 1, 2018 to receive a complimentary benchmarking Scorecard.

Completion of the Tracker is a requirement to be considered for the 2018 DiversityInc Top 50 and to compete for the 2018 NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal. Start today:

More and more American businesses share a goal to increase the number of employees with disabilities within their workforce, driven by motivators like competition for top talent, achieving a competitive advantage through diversity, compliance with federal regulations, or all three. As a result, increasing disability self-identification rates among new and existing employees with disabilities has become a priority to many human resources and diversity & inclusion teams.

Yet, at the National Organization on Disability (NOD), we've seen that despite making strides in implementing disability inclusion policies and practices—many companies still struggle to see their percentage of employees who identify as having disabilities rise.

So, as we analyzed the data gained from our 2017 Disability Employment Tracker™, the National Organization on Disability's confidential, annual survey of corporate disability inclusion policies and practices, we aimed to find out what differentiates companies that have been successful at building disability-strong workforces from those that have not.

As we pored over the 2017 Disability Employment Tracker™ results, which measure practices and outcomes of more than 175 companies that together employ more than 10 million workers, across a range of industries, we sought to discover what companies with an above average percentage of employees had in common.

We uncovered five practices shared by high achieving companies that reported a disability workforce representation of 4% or more:

  1. Strategy & Metrics. Senior leaders discuss and publicly promote overall diversity. Further, they have a plan of action for improving disability inclusion practices that is driven by a disability champion who is accountable to advance this strategy.
  2. Climate & Culture. Priority is given to creating employee/business resource or affinity groups that are specific to disability. Moreover—and this is critical—these groups have annual budgets that allow them to take visible and impactful action.
  3. Recruiter Training. Recruiters, who are on the front line in the pursuit of employees with disabilities, are trained in, and know how to find and use the company's accommodation process. This helps ensure candidates gain access to the supports needed to be successful and land the job.
  4. People Practices. HR teams are trained to proactively ask new hires if they need an accommodation in the post-offer and pre-employment stages. This ensures that there are no gaps in providing support to employees with disabilities from day one, and goes a long way to protect the employee experience. These “moments of truth" can make or break how the employee feels about their new employer, which, ultimately, affect retention and turnover rates.
  5. Workplace & Technology. As new facilities are built, universal design principles, a set of guidelines that ensure environments, processes, policies, technologies and tools work for people of every ability, are routinely applied.

NOD Tracker

Companies struggling to attract and keep talent with disabilities should reexamine their efforts against these key practices, which the Tracker results found are correlated to successful workforce outcomes, to identify opportunities for improvement. Without this foundation, companies may struggle to see disability self-identification rates rise.

While the research does show a lot of effort and hard work on the part of employers to advance disability inclusion practices, ultimately, we are not seeing significant increases in disability inclusion in the American workforce. On average, we found the workforce representation of people with disabilities was 3.2%—well below the target of 7% set by the Department of Labor for those companies that do business with the federal government. When you consider that one in five Americans has a disability, the gap is striking.

Admittedly, finding the right workers in any labor pool—especially one not yet fully familiar to many employers—may demand some skills and types of effort that are out of the ordinary. Recruiters and hiring managers need to know where to source this talent, and how to address the needs of candidates with disabilities in the pre-offer stage.

A cross-departmental effort, including representatives from IT, Facilities, Legal and HR, is needed to provide comprehensive accommodations in a reasonable amount of time, so employees with disabilities can be successful on the job. Most importantly, leaders must create a culture of trust and open communication to engender a spirit of 'disability pride' where employees with disabilities feel welcomed and supported in order to perform, produce and progress. Doing so, will create an employee cohort that will surely be among the most engaged, committed and productive.

The National Organization on Disability, the national leader in helping business tap the disability labor pool, offers companies a complete set of solutions, including benchmarking, program design and planning, and customized local hiring engagements. Our employment experts make the journey with companies, from initial exploration through stage after stage of improvement, all the way to success.

We've partnered with over a dozen Fortune 500 companies, like EY, Kaiser Permanente, Prudential Financial, PwC, Sodexo, and Toyota to help them advance their disability inclusions efforts to the next level.

For American businesses that prioritize disability inclusion the benefits are many. Employees with disabilities are a rich supply of talent, ready to be tapped, at a time when talent is at a premium, and the employers who hire from this pool consistently rank employees with disabilities among their best, most dedicated workers, with some of the lowest rates of turnover.

Furthermore, research has shown that the vast majority of consumers prefer to buy from companies who hire people with disabilities, and Americans with disabilities and their friends and families constitute a huge and growing consumer segment with over $3.9 trillion in disposable income.

To start the free and confidential Disability Employment Tracker™ today, visit

Best Practices on Effective Utilization of Employee Resource Groups

If your company had a particular segment/group that it needed to reach, doesn’t it seem like a prudent move to utilize employees most familiar with that segment/group?


Since July 19, most of the talk in the D&I space has been about Deloitte's decision to do away with its employee affinity groups. Many have reached out to DiversityInc to get our thoughts on it. We oppose the decision. We firmly believe that employee resource groups (ERGs) play a critical role in helping companies achieve business objectives. Our article, Analyzing Deloitte's Plans to Phase Out Business Resource Groups, outlined some benefits that ERGs present to companies including, but not limited to, providing leadership opportunities for members and increasing employee engagement.

In the past few weeks, I've read a number of articles that concluded that Deloitte made the right decision. All focused on talent development and how, in general, ERGs have done little to change the racial and gender diversity in senior leadership. In my experience, based on years of sifting through and analyzing D&I data, that's not the case. The articles also didn't cover other business objectives that many companies use ERGs for, such as recruitment, branding, community engagement and commerce. In addition, I've yet to read an article that acknowledges there could be coexistence between ERGs and inclusion councils.

This article, illustrated with case studies, addresses those areas I think the others missed.

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Health insurance giant Humana recently elevated the role of diversity and inclusion in the company with the creation of a new C-level position to oversee the function and direct its initiatives, naming longtime executive Maria Hughes to fill the role of chief inclusion & diversity officer — deliberately reversing the traditional D&I title to reflect its renewed focus.

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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.