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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.

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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?

CLICK ON IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD

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.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD

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.

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Meeting in a Box: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

This educational tool, available for posting on your corporate intranet, includes a timeline, facts & figures and our popular "Things NOT to Say" series, all focused on National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

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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.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. It is the ideal time to increase your company's awareness of the untapped talent pool of people with disabilities and educate your company on a variety of disabilities, as well as the best time to learn or re-learn how to successfully bring people with disabilities on board.

It's also an excellent way to refresh your knowledge on the culturally competent way to recruit, retain, engage and promote this increasing demographic.

This Meeting in a Box is designed to make it easy for you to share the entire package or individual components with your employees. Each element is available in a PDF and is available to download for you and your team to print.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

• Timeline of legislation and events impacting the progress of people with disabilities and their achievements in the United States

• Facts & Figures demonstrating educational progress and continued employment and income inequities

• Our cultural-competence series "Things NOT to Say" focusing on people with disabilities.

This information should be distributed to your entire workforce and should also be used by people with disabilities and allies employee resource group, both internally and externally, as a year-round educational tool.

[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. Historic Timeline

We recommend you start your employees' cultural-competence lesson on people with disabilities by using this historic Timeline, which documents individual achievements of people with a variety of disabilities, plus legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which changed their legal opportunities for equality.

Discussion Questions for Employees

What are the variety of disabilities applicable under the ADA? Why has it been so challenging for people with disabilities to attain gainful employment?

Discuss the different experiences of people with different types of disabilities. Explain how hidden disabilities can be even more difficult to address when there are inequities.

Explain how your company changed its opinion, accommodation and treatment of people with disabilities. Can more be done?

What are the barriers to hiring, promoting and retaining people with disabilities?

CLICKABLE IMAGE of TIMELINE

2. Facts & Figures

After discussing the Timeline, the next step is to review available data and understand how and why hiring people with disabilities impacts our business.

In 2017, DiversityInc required companies to complete the National Organization on Disability's Disability Employment Tracker to be on the DiversityInc Top 50 or any of the specialty lists. The Top Companies for People With Disabilities list was selected based on answers to questions on the DiversityInc Top 50 survey about representation, accommodations, recruitment outreach, on-boarding, talent development and employee resource groups for people with disabilities.

Discussion Questions for Employees

As baby boomers retire, the need for skilled workers in the United States is intensifying. The disabilities population is an untapped resource, yet many companies shy away from this group.

How can your company — and you personally — create more awareness of the value of reaching out to the disability community?

How can you mentor and teach people with disabilities, especially those still in college?

How can companies work with disability non-profits to identify and recruit talent?

How can you educate managers and the workforce about cultural competence?

Do you encourage people with disabilities, especially those with hidden disabilities, to self-identify?

What are the benefits of a corporate culture where people can be free to bring their whole selves to work?

CLICKABLE IMAGE of FACTS & FIGURES

3. Things NOT to Say to People With Disabilities

This “Things NOT to Say" was written by Frank Kineavy, a staff writer at DiversityInc. Frank, who is living with cerebral palsy, shares what to avoid in the workplace when interacting with employees with disabilities.

Discussion Questions for Employees

What other phrases have you heard addressed to people with disabilities that were condescending or offensive?

Discuss how these phrases and stereotypes impact office morale and productivity.

What do you do when you hear an offensive comment in the workplace toward an employee with a disability?

After today's lesson, what would you do if you overheard a colleague make one of these comments?

Continue the discussion with each employee having a plan of action on how to address offensive language.

CLICKABLE IMAGE of THINGS NOT TO SAY

Meeting in a Box: National Hispanic Heritage Month 2018

From current events to the rise of Hispanic buying power, this Meeting in a Box provides valuable, up-to-date information just in time for National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Contributors: Keka Araujo and Christian Carew

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.

Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, the perfect time to increase your entire company's awareness of the very diverse group of people called Hispanics or Latinos; their contributions to U.S. business, government and society; the importance of understanding immigration issues; and the culturally competent way to recruit, retain and engage Latino employees.

We are supplying a Timeline of legislation and events impacting Latinos and their achievements in the United States and Facts & Figures demonstrating Latino advancement (and opportunities) in government, education, business, sports and entertainment. This information should be distributed to your entire workforce and also should be used by your Hispanic/Latino employee resource groups both internally and externally as a year-round educational tool.

[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 andDiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.]

1. Timeline

We recommend you start your employees' cultural-competence lesson on Hispanics/Latinos by using this Timeline, which documents discrimination and oppression of different Latino groups in the United States as well as achievements. It references the remarkable surge in immigration in recent years and its impact on U.S. society as well as the Hispanic/Latino population itself.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Which types of Latinos/Hispanics are most prevalent in your employee population? Do you understand the battles they and their predecessors have fought to live and work here?

Discuss the different experiences of immigrants from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and other places.

The influx of immigrants into the United States is changing education, healthcare, housing and the job market. How does this make you (individual employee) feel? Do those feelings carry over into the workplace in any way?

Why are "firsts" important to note? What other barrier breakers have you witnessed in your lifetime?

This is a personal discussion designed to help the employee note other barrier breakers historically. This discussion can be further explored after the Facts & Figures section below is discussed.

CLICKABLE IMAGE of TIMELINE

2. Facts & Figures

After discussion of the Timeline, the next step is to review available data and understand how, why and where Hispanic/Latino population growth impacts your business.

The data we have chosen to present here represents information of relevance to corporate America, such as education (available labor pool), buying power, and progress in gaining executive and management positions. Where applicable, national data is compared with DiversityInc Top 50 data to show what progress the leading D&I companies are making.

Discussion Questions for Employees

As Baby Boomers retire, the need for skilled workers in the United States is intensifying. The Hispanic/Latino population is growing rapidly yet education dramatically lags other groups.

How can your company—and you personally—create more awareness of the value of education in the Hispanic/Latino community? How can your company—and you personally—mentor and teach young Hispanics/Latinos and steer them to careers such as yours?

Should employees who speak Spanish (or another language) be allowed to use that language in the workplace when conversing with each other?

How does it make you feel when people in the workplace talk in a language you don't know? How can your resource group make people feel more included and more willing to be social with people from other demographic groups?

Why are there so few Hispanic/Latino CEOs and senior executives in corporate America? How can your company/organization encourage Hispanic/Latino managers to stay and assume more responsibilities?

What cultural barriers do you think get in the way of Hispanics/Latinos moving up? How critical is it to have role models in an organization?

CLICKABLE IMAGE of FACTS & FIGURES

Meeting in a Box: Memorial Day

This Meeting in a Box includes information and statistics on veterans, as well as insight from veteran executives on what the day really means.

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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 Memorial 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 “Memorial Day: Think Before You Say 'Thank You For Your Service.'" 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?

To view/download a PDF of the Timeline click here.

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 15 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. 18 on the 2018 Top 18 Companies for Veterans list). This helps with recruitment, engagement, leadership development and procurement.

To view/download a PDF of Facts & Figures click here.

3. Memorial Day: Think Before You Say 'Thank You For Your Service'

Memorial Day tends to be viewed as either another instance of Veterans Day or the unofficial start of summer. But it is not in fact the day to thank a veteran for his or her service. Two veterans spoke with DiversityInc to explain what Memorial Day really is.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Why might Memorial Day be more difficult for some veterans than others?

No two servicemembers' experiences are the same. Discuss why some veterans may be more strongly affected by past experiences on Memorial Day than others.

If you can't say thank you to a living veteran, what can you do to give thanks on Memorial Day?

Connect with your veterans resource group to find out about any volunteer or tribute opportunities you can participate in around this time, such as visiting a veterans cemetery.

To view/download a PDF of the article click here.

Additional Resources: Career Advice on Veterans

PwC's Chris Crace Gives Advice on Overcoming Roadblocks, Getting Back on Track and Not Being Afraid to Fail

PwC's Veteran's Advocacy Leader Chris Crace gives career advice on overcoming roadblocks, getting back on track and not being afraid to fail.

Comcast Veterans Give Advice on Balancing Military and Civilian Careers

Veterans now working for Comcast give advice on transitioning, balancing your military life with the civilian world and more.

Wells Fargo Veterans Give Advice on Transitioning From Military to Civilian Work

Military veterans at Wells Fargo give career advice on transitioning to corporate life, including adapting your leadership and communications style.

Accenture's Tauni Crefeld on Challenges Veterans Face When Transitioning

After leaving the Air Force, Tauni joined Accenture as an analyst — at new joiner level — and 19 years later is a Managing Director in the company's Communications, Media and Technology Consulting practice, leading large complex delivery projects for clients.

EY Manager: To Emerge Stronger Professionally, Veterans Should Employ the Same Resilience Learned While Serving

Ben Bing is a Manager in EY's Advisory services practice and based in the firm's New York City office. Prior to joining EY, he was an Officer in the United States Navy, where he spent 11 years as a Naval Aviator and staff officer.

TIAA's Veteran Focus

Veterans are an important part of TIAA's employee-base and mentorship is crucial to making a transition back to the workforce successful.

Principal at EY: Military Experiences Taught Me I Am The Master of My Own Limitations

Jennifer Kamrowski, Principal in EY's Advisory services practice, talks about her military service and how it set her up for success at EY.

Meeting in a Box: Supplier Diversity

What is supplier diversity? What are best practices on how to start a supplier diversity program? What metrics are best to assess supplier diversity success?

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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.

This month, we give you information for all your employees on what supplier diversity is, best practices on how to start a supplier diversity program and what metrics are best to assess success. It's important that everyone in the company understand the value of supplier diversity and how it builds company growth and loyalty.

[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. Supplier Diversity Primer

Supplier diversity was started by former President Richard Nixon in 1969 through an executive order. Its goal, an outgrowth of the civil rights movement, was to encourage the use of vendors owned by underrepresented populations. Initially, those groups were minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs), which consisted of companies owned by Blacks, Latinos, Asians and American Indians. Women-owned business enterprises (WBEs), which consisted of companies owned by women, were included later.

Today, supplier diversity includes businesses owned by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people; people with disabilities; and veterans with disabilities. Some organizations consider veteran-owned companies diverse suppliers, and the U.S. Small Business Administration includes small businesses as diverse suppliers.

The biggest issues involving supplier diversity have been certification and making the business case for supplier diversity. To confirm that MBEs were actually at least 51 percent owned by Blacks, Latinos, Asians or American Indians, both government agencies and organizations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), formed in 1972, took an active role. The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) was created in 1997. In recent years, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) have certified vendors owned by LGBT people and people with disabilities, respectively.

Early industries that were supplier diversity leaders were those with significant government contracts, such as telecoms or auto companies. But increasingly, companies have seen the business benefits of supplier diversity whether government mandated or not.

Companies cite the main benefits as increased innovation and different solutions (also commonly cited as a benefit of more diversity in the workforce), as well as building a reputation in diverse communities. For many companies, their suppliers are also their customers, and building community wealth enhances customer relationships.

Supplier diversity is assessed in two ways. Tier I suppliers are direct contractors, those whose services are purchased by the company. Tier II suppliers are subcontractors. Companies that are supplier diversity leaders usually require their contractors to have diversity in their own vendor relationships.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Why did the federal government see a need to mandate supplier diversity? How is this related to the civil rights struggle?

Address whether minority-owned businesses have historically had the same opportunities in the U.S. marketplace and how this is changing.

What types of companies are usually diverse suppliers?

Are you seeing a change at your own company in the types of vendors hired who are from underrepresented groups, such as attorneys or those offering professional services? Why is this important?

How do you think supplier diversity benefits your company?

What is your company's reputation in underrepresented communities? Does your company publicize its supplier-diversity efforts? How can you help get the word out?

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2. How to Start a Supplier Diversity Program

Based on data and successful best practices, we've compiled a list for your company to follow. Here are best practices that all your employees should know:

• Supplier diversity should be operated out of the procurement department, with one person responsible for it. The diversity

department should be in frequent communication with this person.

• Supplier diversity should exist within the context of your company's business goals, supply chain and competitive-market climate.

• It's important to measure your success against other organizations and industry norms.

• It's critical to assess Tier II (subcontractor) supplier diversity as well as Tier I and to train your prime suppliers to find and mentor diverse suppliers.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Does your company have a supplier-diversity program? If it does, how well are its goals and successes communicated to employees?

What do you know about supplier diversity at your company? How can you get the word out about its importance?

How does supplier diversity help your company reach its business goals?

Use this teachable moment to honestly discuss different styles, including confrontation/criticism, self-promotion/branding, and decision-making.

Is your company helping your diverse suppliers grow?

Does your company offer educational opportunities and mentoring for suppliers, many of whom are small-business owners? This can include financial and technical education. Does your company make a significant effort to help its prime contractors find and nurture diverse suppliers — and does it track Tier II supplier diversity?

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3. Metrics to Assess Supplier-Diversity Success

The metric most often used to assess supplier diversity success is the percent of procurement budget allocated to Tier I and Tier II diverse suppliers. Some organizations also measure dollar amount spent with these suppliers, but it's important to understand that larger companies have more money to spend and so not all companies have huge procurement budgets.

Companies also look for accountability — is supplier diversity success tied to the compensation of procurement and other executives?

Other metrics include number of diverse suppliers, third-party recognitions received and savings as a result of contracting with diverse suppliers.

The 2017 DiversityInc Top Companies for Supplier Diversity are companies that have achieved success in their supplier diversity programs. Best practices include:

• Integrating supplier diversity into corporate goals

• Having the CEO sign off on supplier-diversity results

• Auditing supplier-diversity numbers

• Ensuring suppliers are certified

• Linking procurement-management compensation to supplier-diversity goals

The Top Companies for Supplier Diversity are:

1. Dell

2. AT&T

3. Accenture

4. Abbott

5. Comcast NBCUniversal

6. Hilton Inc.

7. EY

8. Kaiser Permanente

9. Marriott International

10. KPMG

11. Eli Lilly and Co.

Discussion Questions for Employees

If your company has a supplier diversity program, why is it important to assess success?

Is your organization metrics driven? If so, why is showing supplier-diversity progress important? How relevant are supplier diversity metrics to other business goals, such as increasing market share?

How can your organization increase the number of diverse suppliers it has?

How can you help your company recognize the value of supplier diversity and get the word out to potential suppliers?

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4. Maintaining Supplier Diversity Success

Once you've established your supplier diversity program, it must be maintained. Support from the top can be key not only in building your company's program but continued commitment from the C-suite is also vital to ensuring the program runs smoothly.

“Making A's is great in school, but a successful supplier diversity program involves aligning C's to move a program to a higher level," shared Keith Hines of PwC (No. 4 on the DiversityInc 2017 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list). “Diversity programs need support from the CEO, CFO, CPO, CDO and CIO. The success of a program can be directly attributed to your ability to align the C-suite to the supplier diversity vision and strategy."

Here are a few additional pointers from Hines on how to make sure your supplier diversity company flourishes:

• Make a company-wide commitment to supplier diversity. “Procurement departments should work to ensure the program has visibility across the entire organization," Hines said.

• The procurement team must drive knowledgeable “transparency, communication and strategy."

• Train and educate your teams. “Do not assume everyone in your company understands how to drive supplier diversity," Hines said.

• Work with people and companies you already know. “People do business with firms and individuals they like to work with," Hines pointed out. “Encourage your staff to invite diverse suppliers into the conversation around your supply chain."

• Don't look at supplier diversity as an extra task — “it should be viewed as an opportunity to include new ideas and points of view," Hines said.

Discussion Questions for Employees

How long has your company's supplier diversity program been around?

Whether it's still in its early stages or has been around a while but hasn't received much traction, how can you spread the word around the company?

Is supplier diversity a companywide initiative?

If so, discuss ways to keep the momentum going. If not, how can you appeal to fellow employees?

Do you provide educational opportunities centered around supplier diversity?

For employees who want to get involved but don't know too much about the program, one good way to get them on board could be by simply providing them with more information.

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5. Supplier Diversity Timeline

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DiversityInc Digest: Ramadan

Facts and tools to help educate your workforce about Muslims and Muslim culture, just in time for the start of Ramadan.

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Ramadan

Photo: Shutterstock

DiversityInc Digest provides you and your employees facts and tips on Muslim culture in light of the start of Ramadan, which began June 5 and ended July 5.

[Included in this digest -- a supplement to our Meeting in a Box series -- are Fast Facts on Ramadan, which answers some common questions your employees may have about the holiday; Muslims in the News, which features two stories about happenings in the Muslim community in the U.S.; Muslims in Popular Culture, which gives information about well-known Muslims in the media; and Additional Resources, which can be accessed by anyone who wants to learn any additional information.]

Fast Facts on Ramadan

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the holy month for Muslims. During this time, observers of Ramadan are seeking forgiveness for their sins.

Who celebrates Ramadan?

Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims, or followers of Islam — the world's second largest religion, following Christianity.

Islam is, by definition, “the religious faith of Muslims, based on the words and religious system founded by the prophet Muhammad."

In comparison, a Muslim is, by definition, “an adherent of Islam."

How is Ramadan observed?

Observers of Ramadan fast from dawn until dusk. A pre-dawn meal is called “suhoor," and a post-dusk meal is called “iftar." Iftars are often large feasts celebrated in large groups of communities or families. Traditionally, fasts are broken with a date. Fasting is supposed to represent more than the physical act of not eating but intends to cleanse the soul. The holiday also serves as a period of self-reflection and bringing attention back to God.

In addition to fasting, Muslims also abstain from impure behavior and thoughts. This includes drinking, smoking and engaging in sexual activity.

Muslims believe prayer should be performed five times a day. During Ramadan, they are often even more encouraged to meet this goal.

At the end of Ramadan, a large celebration called Id al-Fitr takes place. Id al-Fitr begins the day after Ramadan ends and lasts for three days. Communities and families celebrate the end of the holy time together and often engage in feasts, prayer and gift-giving.

Is anyone exempt from fasting?

Pregnant or nursing women, travelers, children who have not yet reached puberty, the sick and the elderly may all be exempt from fasting during Ramadan. If possible, it is expected to make up missed days during the fast at another time in the future.

When does Ramadan take place?

This year, Ramadan began on Sunday, June 5 and ended on Tuesday, July 5. Ramadan does not begin and end on the same day each year because the Islamic calendar is lunar-based, following the phases of the moon.

How could Ramadan affect my employees and/or coworkers?

Here are a few tips and best practices to keep in mind during the month of Ramadan:

Be aware of potential side effects of fasting. During this time, some employees may experience low blood-sugar levels and/or be more tired.

Allow for flexibility, if possible. For instance, some employers may let employees observing the holiday work through their lunch hours. Also, if possible, accommodate for employees who will try to engage in the required prayer five times a day. This includes allowing time for breaks and trying to provide a quiet, private space for prayer.

Photo: Shutterstock

Consider Ramadan when scheduling events or meetings. Try not to center mandatory workplace meetings around food. If this is not possible, be respectful that Muslim employees in attendance will not be eating. Arif Patel, president of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey, also suggested trying to avoid evening meetings or gatherings.

Don't avoid conversations about food. Patel said that this is not necessary, but understand that Muslim employees will likely not participate in the discussion.

Take discussions as an opportunity to learn. If you invite a Muslim employee to lunch, for instance, they will likely not be offended but will simply tell you they're fasting. Patel added that this could be a chance to have a conversation about Ramadan and to further cultural-competence.

Use your employee resource groups to educate workers about the culture. This would also be a good time to teach employees how to recognize Ramadan. Appropriate greetings include “Ramadan Mubarak," or “blessed Ramadan"; “Happy Ramadan"; and “Ramadan Kareem," or “Generous Ramadan."

Muslims in the News

U.S. Census Bureau Considers Translating Questionnaire into Arabic for 2020

U.S. Census questionnaires may be offered in Arabic for the first time in 2020. Spoken by 1.1 million people nationwide, Arabic is commonly spoken by the country's Muslim population, which is estimated to be 3.3 million. In 2010 the Bureau offered assistance to Arabic-speaking participants.

But even since then, the Arabic-speaking population has grown. Between 2010 and 2014, this subset has increased by 29 percent. Not including English, Arabic is the seventh most spoken language in the United States.

Choosing to translate the questionnaire into Arabic will pose several challenges unique to the Arabic language:

  • Unlike English, Arabic is read right to left
  • A respondent's “official name" or address may have several translations between Arabic and English
  • Arabic does not have capital letters
  • The current layout has individual blocks for letters, which will be problematic for respondents who are accustomed to Arabic script

In addition, the Census Bureau is also considering adding an option for “Middle East/North Africa" under questions regarding ethnicity.

The Bureau has not yet made a final decision.

Olympic History: First Hijab-Wearing U.S. Olympic Athlete to Compete

Ibtihaj Muhammad will make Olympic history this summer — before the games even begin. Muhammad, 30, will be the first U.S. Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab.

Ibtihaj Muhammad

Muhammad, who currently ranks No. 7 among the top saber fencers in the world, won a bronze medal in Athens, Greece at the Women's World Saber Cup on Jan. 30. While the Olympic team for 2016 will not be officially announced until April, this win gave Muhammad enough points to secure her spot on the team.

Muhammad began fencing at age 13 in high school. Fencing uniforms cover athletes' heads, which is part of the reason Muhammad's parents introduced her to the sport, the athlete recalled in an interview with BuzzFeed News.

“My parents were looking for a sport for me to play where I wouldn't have to alter the uniform as a Muslim woman," she explained.

Muhammad enjoyed a variety of sports in high school and said her parents were always supportive of her — but also made sure she took competitions seriously.

“Most parents tell their kids before matches to do their best, or to have fun," Muhammad said. “My mom always said the same thing: 'Don't waste my money.'"

Muhammad was eventually recruited for Duke University's fencing team and stuck with the sport after college so she could be a barrier-breaker in the sport.

“It wasn't diverse enough," she said. “Being an African American Muslim woman, I can be that change."

Muslims in Popular Culture

Muhammad Ali

Boxer

Dr. Oz (Mehmet Cengiz Öz)

Surgeon, author, host of "The Dr. Oz Show"

Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson)

Rapper, actor, filmmaker

Shaquille "Shaq" O'Neal

Former NBA player

Fareed Zakaria

Journalist, host of CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS"

Ellen Burstyn

Actress

Zayn Malik

Singer

Additional Resources

For information on Muslim discrimination in the workplace, visit the EEOC's Questions and Answers for Employers: Responsibilities Concerning the Employment of Individuals Who Are, or Are Perceived to Be, Muslim or Middle Eastern.

For additional information on Islam, visit the Council on American-Islam Relations' Islam Basics.

For the truth behind myths and misconceptions about Muslim people, visit the Anti-Defamation League's Myths and Facts About Muslim People and Islam.

Sources: Pew Research Center; history.com; islam.about.com; Arif Patel, ISCJ

Meeting in a Box: Women's History Month

Our Meeting in a Box focused on Women's History Month, including career advice from and leadership profiles about women executives.

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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.

The significance of Women's History Month cannot be overstated in today's climate. As women continue making strides in the business and political spheres, they are also calling for drastic social change. Topics including harassment in the workplace have been brought to the forefront in a movement that has only just begun.

As women become more vocal about such issues, though, it is critical to remember not only how far women have come to reach this point but to remember that there is still a ways to go. In this Meeting in a Box we are providing you with a Timeline, showcasing history as well as current events surrounding progress for women's rights; Facts & Figures illustrating that gaps do in fact remain; Career Advice from Women Executives have overcome obstacles in their own professional journeys; and Leadership Profiles telling stories of where women started and how their unique paths have shaped their careers.

This Meeting in a Box is designed to be of use for all of your employees. It is beneficial not only during Women's History Month but can serve as an educational tool all year round, particularly for your women's Resource Groups. You may use all of the Meeting in a Box or select portions of it to download.

[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 beginning with this Timeline, which starts in 1789 and highlights events all the way up until this year. To fully grasp how far women have come since our country's founding, it is helpful to understand the point where they started out. Here, employees can journey throughout the last few centuries as they learn how women paved the way so many years ago for today's generation to continue making progress.


Discussion Questions for Employees

What have been the most significant changes in women's roles in the past 50 years? in the past 10 years?

Ask the employees why they think there has been so much rapid change and, most importantly, if it's enough. Have women talk about their own experiences and men talk about the experiences of their wives, daughters, sisters and friends.

Why are “firsts" important to note? What other barrier breakers have you witnessed in your lifetime?
This is a personal discussion designed to help the employees note other barrier breakers historically.

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2. FACTS & FIGURES

Once history has been discussed and established, we suggest moving on to the Facts & Figures. This section gives insight into population, business, educational attainment and finance in terms of how it pertains to women — and, where applicable, provides comparisons between men and women. Also included is how women are climbing the corporate ladder in the DiversityInc Top 10 Companies as opposed to the national average and Fortune 500.


Discussion Questions for Employees

Why has it been so difficult to get girls and women into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) positions, and what should schools and companies do to change that?

To learn how some companies are convincing students to pursue a STEM career, go to https://www.diversityincbestpractices.com/why-stem-majors-opt-out-of-stem-careers-2505491097.html.

How can you get more women in your company interested in operational roles versus traditional support/staff roles?
Brainstorm strategies that may help demonstrate to the women in your company that they too can be in top positions.

How can high potential women bolster their career paths?
To hear career advice from high potential women check out our webinar with Wanda Hope, Chief Diversity Officer, Johnson & Johnson (No. 5 on the DiversityInc 2018 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list); Caryn Parlavecchio, Head of HR and US Country Head HR, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; and Marisa Milton, Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition & Employer Brand + Communications, Marriott International (No. 8): https://www.diversityincbestpractices.com/career-advice-high-potential-women-2505497089.html.

Do women get the same support as men in your company?
Have an honest discussion on whether or not women in your company feel as comfortable as men when it comes to asking for help. For more information, go to https://www.diversityincbestpractices.com/career-advice-to-women-ask-for-what-you-need-2505495855.html.

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3. CAREER ADVICE FROM EXECUTIVE WOMEN

Next we are highlighting career advice from executive women who work for some of the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. Click the links below for tips and best practices on how they maintained and developed a successful career.


4. LEADERSHIP PROFILES

The final component is these leadership profiles. Read below to learn the stories of how executive women got their starts and what different things — from serving your community to taking charge of your own professional journey — impacted their careers the most.

[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.]

Meeting in a Box: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This educational tool includes a Timeline, Facts & Figures and our popular Things NOT to Say series, all focused on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

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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 May, which is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 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 legislation, which highlights events impacting Asian Americans and their achievements in the United States; Facts & Figures, which demonstrate Asian American advancement (and opportunities) in education and business; and our cultural-competence series “Things NOT to Say" focusing on Asian Americans. This information should be distributed to your entire workforce and also should be used by your Asian employee resource group both internally and externally as a year-round educational tool.

[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 Asian Americans by using this Timeline, which documents discrimination and oppression of different Asian groups in the United States as well as achievements. It's important to note how recently Asians have been treated inequitably and how issues such as the Japanese internment camps are taught in schools today.

Discussion Questions for Employees

What similarities historically are there among different Asian groups immigrating to the United States? What differences?

Ask the employees why they think there have been so many issues limiting the immigration of Asians and/or limiting their rights once in this country. How do those historic examples of discrimination carry over into the workplace?

Why are “firsts" important to note? What other barrier breakers have you witnessed in your lifetime?

This is a personal discussion designed to help the employees note other barrier breakers historically. This discussion can be further explored after the Facts & Figures section below is discussed.

To view/download a PDF of the Timeline click here.

2. FACTS & FIGURES

After discussion of the Timeline, the next step is to review available data and understand areas in which Asians have made significant progress in the United States but major opportunities remain.

The data we have chosen to present here represent information of relevance to corporate America, such as education (available labor pool), business ownership, and progress in gaining executive and management positions. Where applicable, national data are compared against DiversityInc Top 50 data to show what progress the leading D&I companies are making.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Who do you see as the leading Asian role models in your company?

Have a higher-level discussion on what it takes to become a senior executive at your company, the role of employee resource groups and mentoring in supporting this, and what employees see as valuable ways to increase the pipeline.

Do Asians — men and women — have different employee and management styles than those of other racial/ethnic groups?

Use this teachable moment to honestly discuss different styles, including confrontation/criticism, self-promotion/branding, and decision-making.

To view/download a PDF of the Facts & Figures click here.

3. THINGS NOT TO SAY TO ASIAN AMERICANS

Our popular “Things NOT to Say" series includes interviews with three Asian American leaders about offensive phrases they've heard in the workplace and how best to respond to them to further cultural-competence education.

Discussion Questions for Employees

What other phrases have you heard addressed to Asians and others from underrepresented groups?

Discuss how these phrases and stereotypes impact office morale and productivity.

What role do you think the company should play when offensive comments occur?

Have the employees talk about under what circumstances they would report offensive comments and what they believe the company should do.

After today's lesson, what would you do if you overheard a colleague make one of these comments?

Continue the discussion with each employee having a plan of action on how to address offensive language.

To view/download a PDF of the Things NOT to Say click here.

Meeting in a Box: Black History Month

Our cultural competence toolkit focused on Black History Month.

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This Meeting in a Box tool is designed for distribution to all employees. You may use portions of it or all of it.

During this time, employees may not know how to address racial issues in the office. But today's climate has changed. Employees may feel they cannot bring their whole selves to work if they don't think racial issues are up for discussion in the office. This is not true — as long as it's done the right way.

For this reason we are providing additional resources for all employees along with this MIB.

As always, we are providing our Timeline, highlighting events pertaining to Blacks throughout our nation's history and up to the present, as well as our Facts and Figures, giving information on Blacks in corporate America, education statistics and financial figures.

In addition, we are providing links to a host of articles and videos all centered around career advice for Blacks as well as best practices in how companies just like yours are addressing — rather than ignoring — today's racially charged climate. These companies have successfully navigated these real, sometimes painful, conversations.

CLICK HERE to view/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

The unique history of Blacks in the United States is the clearest indication of evolving human-rights values and represents a moral and economic battle that split this nation.

Discussion Questions for Employees

Black History Month started in 1926. Is it still relevant to have a month-long celebration?

Your guided discussion should focus on the many contributions Blacks have made to U.S. history and the continued debate about whether one month is sufficient. Point to examples of recent groundbreaking events. Discussions on new achievements, challenges and victories are always relevant.

Why are “firsts" important to note? What other barrier breakers have you witnessed in your lifetime?

This personal conversation will help employees note additional events that they may not have been aware of.

How does understanding the past help us deal with the present?

Can similarities be drawn between civil rights activism during the era of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the goals of today's Black Lives Matter activists?

To view/download a PDF of the Timeline click here.

2. Facts & Figures

Our Facts & Figures section highlights statistics on Blacks in corporate America, as well as disparities among races in educational attainment and income. Where applicable, national data are compared with DiversityInc Top 50 data to show what progress the leading companies are making.

Discussion Questions for Employees

What does it take to move into the senior-executive pipeline at your company? Do you think it's important for younger managers to have role models who look like them?

Discuss the increase — or lack thereof — of Blacks in various management roles. Analyze the benefits of not only cross-cultural mentoring relationships but also the benefits of Black employees having managers and bosses who look like them.

The Black community represents an increasing share of the consumer marketplace. What efforts are you undertaking to reach Black consumers or clients?

As the population grows more diverse, so does your company's need to be able to serve people of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds. Discuss how critical it is to have client/customer-facing staff members who mirror the communities. How active are your resource groups in community, marketplace and client outreach?

To view/download a PDF of the Facts & Figures click here.

3. Career Advice From Black Executives

A DiversityIncBestPractices.com reader survey found that 68% of non-whites feel strongly about receiving career advice from individuals who look like them, while whites don't mind who the advice comes from. Access the survey results here.

Below is career advice from accomplished Black executives on things to focus on to develop your career.

4. Microaggressions

A microaggression is a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously, or unintentionally, expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group.

Below are videos on how to handle microaggressions.

How to Respond to 'I Don't See Color in the Workplace'

5. Leadership Profiles

Black executives give insights on how they developed and maintained a successful career.

6. Racial Discussions in the Office

Webinar: Should Senior Leaders Address Racial Tensions in the U.S.?

EY gives insights into why senior business leaders should address racial tension in the U.S. in their organizations.

Meeting in a Box: LGBT Pride Month

Our educational tool provides up-to-date statistics and information about historic and current events, all surrounding LGBT Pride Month.

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For June, which is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride Month, we're providing a valuable tool to share with all your employees as you continue their education in cultural competence.

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.

• Below is a Timeline of barriers that have been broken, major legislation and legal decisions, protests and landmark events impacting LGBT people and their allies.

• Facts & Figures on demographics of open LGBT people; income/buying power/customer loyalty; and major LGBT people in business, sports, entertainment and politics.

• And our cultural-competence series, “Things NOT to Say," focuses on LGBT people this month. This information should be distributed to your entire workforce and used by your LGBT/allies resource group, internally and externally, as a year-round educational tool.

[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

The landscape for LGBT rights and being open has changed dramatically over the past few years, perhaps most notably with the legalization of same-gender marriage in June 2015. It's more vital than ever for your workforce to be culturally competent and to understand what LGBT equality means. We recommend you start your employees' cultural-competence lesson by using this Timeline, which documents LGBT organizations, important “firsts," fights against discrimination and significant political and legal changes in the United States. It's important to discuss how rapidly rights for the whole LGBT community are evolving and what that means for corporations, schools, religious institutions and government.

Discussion Questions for Employees

How can we build an atmosphere of inclusion, regardless of our personal or religious views?

Have you ever heard people at work making homophobic comments? What did you do? Do you know what your corporate policies are on hate speech at work? Discuss what it's like for companies located in states like North Carolina and Mississippi and what your company would do in those circumstances.

Why are “firsts" important to note? What other barrier breakers have you witnessed in your lifetime?

This is a personal discussion designed to help employees note other barrier breakers historically. How does someone prominently in the news, like Caitlyn Jenner, impact others in the LGBT community? This discussion can be further explored after the Facts & Figures section below is discussed.

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2. FACTS & FIGURES

After discussion of the Timeline, the next step is to review available data and understand why the ability for more LGBT people to be open and treated equally under the law has profound societal and business implications. It's also critical to note that almost everyone has an LGBT relative or friend, and that straight allies also frequently make purchasing and business decisions based on whether they perceive an organization to be inclusive.

This page includes the DiversityInc Top Companies for LGBT Employees. In compiling this list, we look at best practices that create an inclusive workplace for LGBT employees, as well as relationships with LGBT communities outside of the company. All companies have the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index (CEI) 2018 rating of 100%. Other best practices examined for this list include:

• Having active LGBT employee resource groups

• Percentage of philanthropic endeavors aimed at LGBT nonprofits

• Whether the company attempts to track the number of LGBT employees, including voluntary disclosure

• Whether the company certifies LGBT vendors with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

• Percentage of procurement spent with certified LGBT vendors

Discussion Questions for Employees

Since many national figures have come out, is it easier for employees in your organization to come out?

How would you feel if you couldn't show a photo of your significant other at work or talk about what you did over the weekend? Discuss if this has gotten better as more prominent people have publicly come out.

Is there a difference for gay and lesbian people coming out and bringing their full selves to work compared to transgender people?

Transgender rights specifically have been brought to the forefront this year, particularly with North Carolina passing its discriminatory bathroom law, which prevents transgender people from using the public restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Discuss other possible challenges unique to transgender employees.

Why are LGBT people and their allies so loyal to specific customer brands?

How should consumer-facing companies let them know that the company is gay-friendly? How should B-to-B companies communicate to clients about their inclusive culture? Discuss the positive impact this transparency could have on a company's reputation — and its bottom line.

How can you use your resource groups to reach out to the LGBT community and its allies, internally and externally?

Does your company have an LGBT resource group and, if so, are you a member? Does your group have the words “allies, friends or straight" in its title, and does it clearly communicate that it's a group for everyone? Is your group sponsoring community events as well as internal events?

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3. THINGS NOT TO SAY TO LGBT PEOPLE

Our popular “Things NOT to Say" series includes interviews with LGBT leaders about offensive phrases they've heard in the workplace and how to best respond to them to further cultural-competence education.

Discussion Questions for Employees

What other phrases have you heard, often uttered “innocently," in the workplace that are offensive to LGBT people (comments like “That's so gay" or “I don't care about a person's sexual preference")?

When dealing with a transitioning employee, do you know what pronouns are preferred or what questions are considered rude?

Discuss how these phrases and stereotypes impact office morale and productivity.

What active role should the company play when offensive comments occur?

Have the employees talk about under what circumstances they would report offensive comments and what they believe the company should do.

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Christi Shaw, George Chavel, Steve Howe, Bernard Tyson, Bob Moritz, Ajay Banga

DiversityInc Meeting in a Box

Senior Leadership Commitment

For diversity staff, diversity council members, employee-resource-group leaders and HR/communications staff

This month, we are giving you the latest trends, data and best practices on CEO and senior-leadership commitment to diversity and inclusion. How do you define it? How can top leaders visibly show how much they value diversity as a business driver? How do they hold people accountable for results? What best practices are increasingly common? We have identified three key areas to focus on: Visible Support, Chairing the Executive Diversity Council, and Building a Pipeline. We also recommend that you view our recent Web Seminar on Senior Leadership Commitment featuring Linda Verba, Executive Vice President, Head of Service Strategy, and Chair of Diversity Leadership Bank, TD Bank, No. 39 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list; and David Casey, Vice President Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health, one of DiversityInc's 25 Noteworthy Companies.

Note: For purposes of the DiversityInc Top 50 survey and this Meeting in a Box, we define senior leaders as those in the top three levels of the organization.

[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. Visible Support

Top leadership's consistently making a very personal and visible statement of support for diversity and inclusion is paramount in the success of diversity-management initiatives in an organization. Without clear and consistent messaging from the CEO and senior leadership, staff at all levels will consider diversity and inclusion a nice, soft addition instead of an imperative for future success.

For example, Christi Shaw, U.S. Country Head and President of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, No. 1 on the Top 50, stated this in a DiversityInc interview:

“Good or bad, I have a reputation as being someone who is always willing to challenge the status quo and I expect others to do so too … From the first day I joined Novartis, when recruiting for open positions, I would say to hiring managers, 'Show me your diverse slate.' And I would ask, 'Who else have you considered?'"

That messaging starts with the corporate website. A clear and prominent quote from the CEO, directly linking diversity and inclusion to business goals, is very important. It's also necessary for both the CEO and senior leaders to frequently integrate diversity messaging into regular business communications, including the relevance of employee resource groups and of mentoring and sponsorship. Other best practices for CEO/leadership commitment used by almost all of the DiversityInc Top 50 companies include:

  • Meeting frequently with employee resource groups: The best practice for this is small-group meetings with employee-resource-group leaders so that frank discussions of impediments to retention and talent development can occur, as well as giving employee-resource-group leaders the opportunity to offer innovative solutions for marketplace and workplace growth. The exposure of employee-resource-group leaders to senior management has bidirectional impact: The employee-resource-group leaders gain practice in dealing with top executives and the senior leaders often recognize talent they can nurture. Ninety-two percent of the CEOs and senior leaders at DiversityInc Top 50 companies have regular meetings with resource-group leaders, more than double the percentage in 2005. And all of the CEOs in the Top 10 meet regularly with resource-group leaders.
  • Joining the board of a multicultural nonprofit: We see an increasing percentage of both CEOs and senior executives taking on leadership roles at multicultural nonprofits, especially those in which they are not personally a member of the targeted demographic. The learning experience for the corporate executive is dramatic and the relationship-building with the nonprofit and the community often leads to increased recruitment, retention and customer relations.

Guided Questions for Staff

How diversity-supportive is your website?

Is your CEO's message on the homepage? Are there images/videos of different people, including people with disabilities and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people? Is the diversity section easy to find and regularly updated?

If your employee resource groups meet with the CEO and senior leadership, what kind of preparation do group leaders receive from diversity-and-inclusion staff?

Do you present the group's strategic goals and milestones for success? Who funds your groups and how involved are the senior leaders?

How do the rank-and-file employees perceive your CEO's and senior leadership's commitment to diversity and inclusion?

What could be done to bolster the sense that diversity helps the business?

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2. Chairing the Executive Diversity Council/Accountability

How do CEOs ensure that their direct reports and others in the company, all the way down, make diversity and inclusion a business priority? Here are the best practices:

When the CEO chairs the council, there is enhanced visibility throughout the organization and accountability for actual goals. Sixty-two percent of DiversityInc Top 50 CEOs now chair their executive diversity councils, up from 32 percent in 2005 and 55 percent last year. In the top 10, 80 percent of CEOs chair their diversity councils.

  • Accountability: The most common way to do this is through bonuses and/or performance evaluations. At Sodexo, 5 on the Top 50, bonuses for D&I goals are the only ones paid regardless of the company's financial performance.

Some organizations are not comfortable directly linking compensation specifically to non-direct-revenue areas, so they instead include diversity competencies in performance reviews. These can include performance as an executive sponsor of an employee resource group and/or a multicultural mentor, being on the board of a multicultural nonprofit, increases in diversity in the staff under the executive, and supplier-diversity goals.

Guided Questions for Staff

Does your CEO personally chair the executive diversity council?

If not, is it feasible for him or her to do that, or to become a co-chair, or to be more involved? Is your council comprised of senior executives who have influence in various business units and areas of the company, including profit centers? Evaluate the role of your council and whether it is part of strategic business planning.

At your company, how are executives generally rewarded for making their goals?

How well can diversity goals fit in with your existing compensation structure?

In evaluating executive sponsors of resource groups, what factors should be considered?

Should you assess recruitment, engagement and promotion rates of the targeted demographic? Should the groups' contribution to marketplace growth be factored in? Should a 360-degree assessment of the sponsor by the group leaders be included?

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3. Building a Pipeline

In order to successfully recruit, retain and engage a talented workforce—and understand an increasingly diverse marketplace—the top of the organization (and the board of directors) needs to be diverse in every way. Getting more diversity at the top is a challenge for many organizations because there are few openings and because women, Blacks, Latinos, Asians and others from underrepresented groups often leave before they get near the top. For more information, see Diversity's Growing Value to Succession Planning.

What's increasingly important is the identification and nurturing of high potentials, especially from underrepresented groups. DiversityInc plans a fall event on this important topic and will feature content on it every month.

An effective pipeline to the top begins with recruiting a diverse group of people, including mandatory diverse slates for management positions. On-boarding people successfully, often with the support of employee resource groups, increases engagement and retention. Carefully monitoring which factors inhibit retention and promotion (again through the use of employee resource groups) helps promote a healthy pipeline.

The use of cross-cultural mentoring is the most effective way to increase retention and promotion of people from underrepresented groups, according to DiversityInc data and academic research. Increasingly, having a sponsor or several sponsors is also crucial to an employee's long-term success.

It's also very important to review the assignments given to people from underrepresented groups and ensure that they are stretch assignments and ones directly related to the revenue stream.

Guided Questions for Staff

Do you have mandatory diverse slates?

If so, at what level? And how is “diversity" defined for these slates? Is this requirement for internal and external recruiters? What type of cultural-competency training do recruiters have?

Are your resource groups used to find and develop high-potentials who are otherwise going unnoticed?

How much exposure to senior leaders do these high-potentials get and what other training would most benefit them?

How are you factoring diversity into finding and promoting high potentials? It is just a loose “we think about it" or are real metrics associated with the decisions and evaluations on your pipeline to senior management?

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Next: Supplier diversity for D&I staff, procurement staff, purchasing staff, communications staff, and Hispanic Heritage Month for all employees.

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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.

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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.

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