Promoting Diversity's Not a Career Killer

Sodexo top leader saw her career flourish after being tapped to head up women's diversity effort.

Lorna Donatone was appointed Sodexo's Region Chair for North America and CEO of Schools worldwide in January, overseeing 133,000 employees and all Sodexo business in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

Her rise in leadership at the company has been impressive, but she wondered early on if taking on a diversity role at the company would hurt her career. Clearly, it did not, and it actually helped propel career.

Here is the first in our new video series, Leadership Career Advice, where Donatone shares a story about taking on the role of leading Sodexo's Women's Network Group in 2002.

And the following is a Q&A with Donatone conducted by DiversityInc's CEO Luke Visconti.

LUKE VISCONTI: Studies show that women and minorities who support and promote diversity at their organizations often pay a career price. Clearly, that wasn't the case at Sodexo. Why?

LORNA DONATONE: The whole question about paying a career price for being focused on diversity and inclusion, I think, exists. I think I would be naïve to believe that it didn't exist. It was exactly the opposite for me, though, and I want to tell you a story, because it was a big concern of mine. I first got on the executive committee as a new division president in 2002, around the same time as we were starting our diversity and inclusion initiatives, and really getting focused on that, and Rohini [Anand] was here. And I was asked to chair our Women's Network Group. And we were launching. And I had never done any work in the diversity space. And I was concerned that being new on the executive committee, I was going to be labeled.

VISCONTI: Right.

DONATONE: That was a big concern of mine. And so I went to my boss at the time, Michel Lendel, and I asked him, because by that time in my career, I knew if I have a question I just need to ask. And I said, “I am concerned I am going to get labeled as just focusing on diversity issues. And I want to be known for results." And he looked at me, in probably one of the shortest meetings in my whole life, and he said, “If not you, then who, Lorna?" And we concluded the meeting. I walked out. And I became chair of the Women's Network Group. And it was fantastic for my career.

VISCONTI: Now I don't want to minimize the role that Michel Lendel had in this. Not every boss is going to get it.

DONATONE: No.

VISCONTI: So you have a global CEO who truly does understand the subject.

DONATONE: Yes, and I think it's why Sodexo has become the organization that we have become, because he has been laser-focused on that. He saw it early on. He pushed the organization. We hired a fantastic chief diversity officer who made us take a hard look at ourselves, at our processes, our procedures, our hiring practices, the inclusive nature of our organization or the lack of inclusiveness. And then he made it a safe space to do that. I could easily have had a CEO who didn't want that. And he was like, “This is the only way we are going to change, you know. You are sitting at the executive committee; who better to role model this behavior?"

VISCONTI: Well in essence, he was mentoring you. And so that goes to the second question: how do your mentors and your sponsors help you in your career? And were you a good mentee? And could you have advanced without a sponsor?

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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.

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

To access a PDF of this presentation, click here.

04:18 – 05:09: Southern Company Introduction

05:09 – 07:12: Career Development and Empowerment

07:12 – 09:43: Who is My Career Manager

09:43 – 15:03: What is a Mentor, What are the Benefits

15:03 – 16:57: What Successful Mentoring Looks Like

16:57 – 21:29: What is a Sponsor, What to Look For in a Sponsor

21:29 – 22:52: Quick Reference on the Differences Between Mentoring and Sponsorship

22:52 – 26:32: Mentoring and Sponsorship Programs at Southern Company

27:05 – 29:50: Nielsen Introduction, Approach to D&I

29:50 – 33:10: How Nielsen Develops and Accelerates Talent

33:10 – 41:09: Nielsen's Diverse Leadership Network, Results

41:09 – 44:31: Nielsen's Senior Leader Sponsorship Program, Results

44:31 – 50:10: Keys to Success

50:10 – 59:12: Q&A

Webinar: Mentoring Metrics

Sodexo experts offer best practices on the nuts and bolts of setting up and tracking mentoring pairs

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There's a fine balance between creating entrepreneurial, organic mentoring pairs and using data to make sure it's the right match.

But it can be done, and done successfully, maintains Jodi Davidson, director of diversity and inclusion for Sodexo. (Sodexo is No. 6 on the DiversityInc 2016 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, and among the Top 15 Companies for Mentoring.)

Joining Davidson was a mentee and a mentor who will discussed how it worked for them in their careers. They include Mia Mends, NORAM CEO for Sodexo's Benefits & Rewards business, an executive who found being mentored invaluable, and Joseph Cuticelli, CEO for Seniors, North America Sodexo, who has long mentored employees.

Gender Balanced Teams Boost Bottom Line

Video: Sodexo's CDO talks about the company's gender research and why they embarked on an internal study.

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If you want innovation and a stronger bottom line, you need gender balance among teams, maintained Rohini Anand, Sodexo's senior vice president of corporate responsibility and global chief diversity officer.

Gender balance, she continued, "leads to innovation and better, stronger sustainable results."

Earlier this year, the company released a report titled “Gender-Balanced Teams Linked to Better Business Performance," backing up her assertions. (Sodexo is No. 5 on The 2015 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity)

Sodexo defines gender balance as a male-female ratio between 40 and 60 percent and looked specifically at the correlation between gender-balance teams and performance. That 20 percentile sweet spot is what Sodexo refers to as “The Gender-Balance Zone."

The report analyzed key business performance indicators from 100 global entities and 50,000 managers in 80 countries, from the corner offices to site management, looking initially at employee engagement, brand awareness, client retention and three financial performance indicators.

What they found was clear: “Diversity is key to enhanced performance."

The report states:

Teams at Sodexo within the optimum gender-balanced zone have experienced on average an increase of four points in the global engagement rate versus only one point for other teams between 2010 and 2012. Similar correlations are found with other business metrics, including:

  • Brand Awareness:
 5% higher for gender-balanced teams
  • Client Retention:
 12% higher for gender-balanced teams
  • Organic Growth:
 13% higher for gender-balanced teams
  • Gross Profit:
 23% higher for gender-balanced teams

Anand talks about why the company embarked on the study and what they found:

Confronting Nation’s Racial Turmoil is Business Imperative

PwC’s new U.S. chairman launched company-wide discussion on race, buoyed by his desire to comfort employees and in the process bolster engagement, recruitment.

PwC’s new U.S. chairman launched company-wide discussion on race, buoyed by his desire to comfort employees and in the process bolster engagement, recruitment.

 

By Eve Tahmincioglu

Tim Ryan spoke to his employees via Snapchat

Tim Ryan, appointed PwC’s U.S. chairman on July 1, realized his workforce was hurting and decided to take action.

A Q&A With Tim Ryan

 

Q. You’ve directly emailed and are going to have a Snapchat conversation with your employees. This is unusual in our observation; what motivated you to do this?

A. We are a new leadership team, the most diverse we’ve ever had. The firm is in great shape brand and growth wise, but as a team we want to be faster, take a little bit more risk on some sensitive topics.

We have issues of race popping up again in our country; two weeks ago we woke up to Dallas. We communicated internally to all of our people, acknowledging that we don’t know all the answers. If we really care about our people we need to create an environment where people can talk about it.

In the world of social media, on the positive side, our people have more tools than ever to communicate with each other. If they’re empowered, they can communicate differently and positively. If not, they’ll communicate negatively. We use social media as a way to communicate with people.

They want to consume information differently, so as a leader, I want to communicate the way they want to: on Snapchat and Twitter. I need to adapt to the way they want to communicate, not the other way around.

Q. PwC has always had a culture of communications, but this is a step beyond typical; do you expect your leadership style to be emulated by leaders throughout your company?

A. Overall, I believe the most successful organizations going forward are ones where people are trusted, enabled and empowered. Putting power in the decision-making hands of our people is strategically the direction we’re moving in. This is a culture of communication, employment and trust. We want to be famous for that.

[The race discussion] was one of the proudest days we’ve ever had. I was proud we could actually talk about it as a firm. Hundreds of emails came in, with story after story after story. We all learned and care for our people better.

Thousands of people went home and talked about this around the dinner table, over a cup of coffee, over a drink.

I got an email yesterday from a contractor. It said, “I was in the office and happened to be walking by, and heard the dialogue taking place. I was blown away. It’s a company I want to work for.”

Q. How have your own life experiences impacted how you approach these issues?

A. I came from a very working class family. We didn’t have much at all; my dad had two jobs, a utility worker and night shift at a newspaper, and mom was a cashier at a market.

We were taught to work hard; academics was not a focus.

My mother passed in November. She always taught respect, hard work and compassion. It didn’t matter whom you were talking about. That’s been informative. I’m not the smartest guy in world, but I learned very simple lessons on respect, compassion and hard work.

Q. What would you say to leaders who are scared to go down this road?

A. We were nervous as a team; I was guided by respect and compassion, knowing we had a big population that didn’t share and couldn’t share what they were feeling.

Two weeks ago today, I sent an email like many CEOs did, acknowledging the issues. But then what happened? Hundreds of emails came in thanking us. Because they didn’t feel like they could talk. We weren’t sure of the right next step.

We needed to create forums, for Black people to talk about it, and for others to listen.

We were nervous but kept going back to our core principle. We care about our people. I can be safe and avoid the things they’re concerned about.

We didn’t want this to turn into guns versus no guns, or white versus Black. What we wanted to accomplish was to show them demonstratively that we care. If you care, of course you have to create an environment to talk about it.

I said I want to be famous for trusting my people to lead. I trusted my people across the country to execute.

I would encourage CEOs to truly listen. When you listen to stories of your people it will cause you to take action. I’m sure there was something we could have done better, but what I learned is we’re on the right track. Action and trusting your gut instinct is a good thing.

In the aftermath of two videos of Black men being killed by police, and the murders of five police officers in Dallas earlier this month, Ryan sent an email to 45,000 employees acknowledging the turmoil the events sparked across the country. He ended up getting hundreds of responses from employees with a recurring theme: even though many were saddened and feeling overwhelmed by what was happening, few felt they could discuss the events, or issues regarding race, with managers or coworkers.

“It became clear that our people needed a forum to talk,” he said, and he decided to call for all the firm’s offices domestically to hold discussions on race on July 21, including diversity forums on Snapchat and Twitter.

It also became clear to Ryan that taking on these issues was a business imperative because such tragedies can impact employee engagement and the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce.

Ease Employee Baggage

Employees, he said, face a host of issues, such as caring for sick parents or pregnancy, and organizations try to address those in order to help employees be the most productive and engaged. However, “people are uncomfortable talking about race in the workplace. But many of our people were thinking of this in their heads,” he said about recent events.

Addressing the issues and talking to colleagues about what is weighing on their hearts is a first step in helping employees be able to bring their whole selves to work. “We can’t come to work with baggage and not be able to talk about it,” he said. “It’s about our clients and the communities we work in. If our people are fully engaged we will be able to give better answers to our clients.”

Be An Employer of Choice

As far as recruitment and retention, it’s critical to encourage dialogue. If a company wants diversity, they need to promote diverse dialogue, Ryan stressed. If not, he noted, “we’re not going to get the very best.”

And if reaction on social media about his initiatives is any indication, Ryan’s message is getting out. Here’s one tweet from a PwC partner in Chicago that summed up what many PwC employees were saying:

 

 

Don’t Fear Emotions

Confronting such issues isn’t easy and can open up emotions that many company leaders may be fearful addressing directly.

Indeed, employees were reportedly crying in the offices and conference rooms, including Ryan.

But if you ask Ryan, he’s proud of this accomplishment.

The discussions, which PwC estimates hundreds of employees and managers from all regions participated in, ended up opening his own eyes.

One PwC Black male professional, who has worked for the firm for nine years, referred to his business suit and tie as his “cape” because when he wore them he felt safe.

“It was shocking how many people said they feared being pulled over when they didn’t have their suit on,” Ryan said. Many Black employees said they carried business cards with them so when they got pulled over they could hand their license and business card to the officer.

“For most of the white professionals, including me, we never understood that,” Ryan said, admitting that he too got tearful upon hearing all of the heartbreaking stories. “It was the most emotional day ever in our firm’s history.”

Surround Yourself With Diversity

What gave Ryan the courage to take on the issue so directly, he said, was his leadership team. He got on the phone to discuss the tragic events with his new team, a team that’s the most diverse in PwC’s history, with 35 percent women and 40 percent minorities (25 percent born outside of the United States), as well as one LGBT person. (PwC is No. 5 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.)

“We said to ourselves, ‘How do we show our people we care, put words into action?’” Ryan recalled, a question he believes got on the table because he felt empowered by his diverse team.

The call resulted in Ryan writing an email, edited by his team, that was sent out to all U.S. employees acknowledging what had happened and soliciting input from the workforce.

Ryan is hopeful the daylong discussion on race will set the wheels in motion.

The conversations were kicked off by a video of Ryan discussing race issues in light of recent events with Elena Richards, PwC’s minority initiatives leader in the office of diversity. The firm is also hosting a full-day Snapchat and Twitter discussion on diversity, promoted via #ColorBrave.

Here is a video of Ryan meant to kick off the national discussion on social media:

“I hope, for the sake of our country we all do better,” he said. “But if we do better at PwC, then we are a great destination for talent.”

Helping High-Potential Women From Burning Out

How do employers help high-potential women deal with burnout and, in the process, bolster retention?

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Helping High-Potential Women From Burning Out

Keeping women in the talent pipeline and holding onto those who made it to the corner office is a gnawing problem for many employers.

Indeed, the rise of women into top management jobs remains stagnant, and while there are many reasons for it, one issue that plagues this group is the struggle with work-life balance and how that impacts career trajectories.

Research shows that some women opt to leave male-dominated fields where overwork is prevalent. So, how do employers help high-potential women deal with burnout and, in the process, bolster retention? We discuss facts about burnout and women, and share best practices for women and employers in DiversityInc Best Practices' Helping High-Potential Women From Burning Out webinar.

Executives from EY, No. 3 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity, shares best practices about how they’ve been able to get more women into leadership. When it comes to women in senior leadership, EY is nearly 8 percent higher than the Top 50 and 43.2 percent higher than U.S. companies overall. The EY leaders include Angela Spencer-James, EY’s tax practice leadership and national meals & entertainment practice leader, and John Riggs, EY’s national professional practice partner, Northeast.

And Indiana University sociology professor Youngjoo Cha of Indiana University shares her research on the impact of overwork on the gender gap.

Diversity in Minutes: Best Practices Video Series

Diversity in Minutes is DiversityInc’s new video series tailored for busy professionals looking for best practice advice on a host of topics and issues, everything from unconscious bias to the metrics of mentoring.

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Do you want to understand unconscious bias and how to deal with it?

Do you want to know how metrics can bolster your mentoring program?

Do you want advice on how to recruiting women into tech jobs?

Diversity in Minutes is DiversityInc's new video series tailored to busy professionals looking for best practices on a host of topics. We talk to thought leaders at the most diverse organizations in the country and get their insights on creating more inclusive and more successful organizations.

(Is there a question, topic or  issue you want addressed in a Diversity in Minutes video? Let us know at: etahmincioglu@diversityinc.com.)

 

Work-Life Management, Not Balance: Wyndham Worldwide's Chief Diversity Officer Patti Lee explains her insights on the "art" of work-life management and gives advice on how women can appropriately ask for flexibility.

 

What to Do About Unconscious Bias: Lissiah Hundley, diversity and inclusion strategist for Cox Enterprises, shares her thoughts on the realities of unconscious bias in the workplace, how to face it head on and best practices for overcoming it.

 

Measuring Mentoring: Marlon Sullivan, talent and development divisional vice president, Abbott, offers his key strategies for using metrics to bolster mentoring and its effectiveness.

 

The Women-in-Tech Imperative: Rita Mitjans, chief diversity and corporate social responsibility officer, ADP, makes a case for why it's so important to get more women in technology, including everything from the design perspective they offer to making the workplace more diverse.

 

Mentoring Basics: Rosalia Thomas, area leader for human resources at IBM, offers mentoring basics on how to create the best mentoring relationships.

 

Recruiting Women in Tech: Rita Mitjans, chief diversity and corporate social responsibility officer for ADP, offers her strategies for recruiting more women into technical jobs.

 

Supporting LGBT Movements: Wyndham Worldwide's Chief Diversity Officer Patti Lee shares her insights on why the company and all employers should support LGBT movements, especially if they want to recruit the best of the best talent.

Altruistic Program=More Productive, Loyal Employees

EY’s mentoring program for underserved high school students promotes societal good, but also ends up boosting employee engagement, productivity and retention.

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EY’s mentoring program for underserved high school students promotes societal good, but also ends up boosting employee engagement, productivity and retention.

By Eve Tahmincioglu

When EY (No. 3 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) launched a mentoring program to boost the number of underserved high school students enrolling in college in 2009, few expected the impact on employees who volunteered to be a part of it.

Mentee De’Ara Purdie and EY Mentor and creative design manager Chris Simmons at EY's Richmond, VA, office.

The goal of the program is to help young adults aged 16 to 24 navigate the college application process, and ultimately prepare them for their future careers. The success has been clear: For those students who have gone through the program, 95 percent are going to college, with more than 1,000 students involved.

College MAP wasn’t set up to groom future employees. “We did not design the program as a pipeline program,” stressed Deborah Holmes, Americas director, corporate responsibility.

But inadvertently, it bolstered EY’s existing pipeline.

“We have proof that employees who have participated stay with the firm longer, and they are statistically more engaged with the firm. And their performance ratings are higher,” she explained.

Over the life of the program, 1,200 EY people have participated as mentors, and currently there are 900 active EY mentors.

And overall these mentors:

  • have longer average tenures with EY than colleagues at the same ranks.
  • are significantly more likely to be 4 or 5 rated in performance reviews (double-digit differences, on a 5 point scale with 5 as the highest performance).
  • have best-in-class employee engagement (3 points higher than U.S. staff-senior managers overall).

Why?

“It’s intensely rewarding,” said Holmes, who herself has mentored students via College MAP.

The program, she added, “brings to life our firm’s purpose — building a better working world. It’s tangible and a great source of pride for our people.”

The ultimate goal of College MAP is to ensure that as students enter college they are able to do well and eventually end up with a degree. Holmes pointed out that many employees within EY understand the struggles that some underserved students face since about one-third of employees are first-generation college graduates.

Indeed, the most vocal advocate of the program at EY is Gary Belske, Americas senior vice chair and chief operating officer of the U.S. firm. “He is first-generation college and he is so passionate about this program,” Holmes explained. “Anywhere he appears this is what he talks about.”

RELATED RESOURCES:

Employee Resources Groups Bolsters Business, Society

 

 

 

 

Diverse Tech Talent Not Banging Down Your Door?

Companies that want to attract and retain women and minorities for technical positions need to focus on branding and unconscious bias.

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Companies that want to attract and retain women and minorities for technical positions need to focus on branding and unconscious bias.

By Kaitlyn D’Onofrio

A recent study released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded a long-held belief regarding the tech industry: it still lags in diversity, for both gender and race.

The gender gap for executives remains persistent, with 80 percent of high tech executives being men and just 20 percent women.

This comes despite another study showing that eighth-grade girls outperform their male peers when it comes to technology and engineering.

So how can companies do their part to effectively recruit and retain this still underrepresented talent — and potentially apply it to recruiting all underrepresented groups? Below we offer best practices culled from recent panel discussions at DiversityInc’s Top 50 event earlier this year.

Here’s a video of a recent panel titled Recruiting Strategies for Women in Technical Roles:

These five best practices will boost your organizations efforts:

  1. Be authentic in presenting your company brand. When recruiting talent, potential candidates should see and hear an inclusive message, one that is actually part of your company culture.

Companies “have to be speaking from the same voice” when it comes to messaging and branding, explained Kaley Gagnon, executive director, College Recruiting, AT&T (No. 4 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity).

The inclusive message a company sends to customers, she continued, has to jibe with what it’s sending to employees and what those employees experience when they come to work for you.

Rita Mitjans, chief diversity & corporate social responsibility officer, ADP (No. 21 on the list) agreed.

“I think it’s about authenticity and about making sure that your brand, in fact, reflects not just the story we want to tell, but the reality of the situation,” she said. She also said that leaders in different locations may not all act the same way, so it’s important to hold leaders accountable to living up to the company’s brand.

“Your employment brand is your front door,” said Michael L. Cox, senior vice president of talent acquisition, Comcast NBCUniversal (No. 29). “That lets people know if they’re going to be welcome into your home, welcome into your company.”

  1. What’s worked in the past may not work now. Companies have different needs than they used to, and in turn, recruiting strategies may need to be modified. With such a focus on technology in nearly all industries today, it is crucial that all companies know how to recruit for technical positions.

Cox pointed to methods of nontraditional recruiting, outlined by Patti Lee, senior vice president, human resources, chief diversity officer, Wyndham Worldwide (No. 27).

According to Cox, “Everyone in this room is responsible for recruiting diverse talent to our organizations, and we play a role in it every day.”

One way to recruit is through strategic partnerships.

ADP, Mitjans said, uses partnerships as a key element in developing ADP’s pipeline. And when developing partnerships, it’s important to make an active relationship.

“It’s not just writing a check, it’s engaging with them at their conferences and events, it’s showcasing your people at those conferences, and leveraging their membership base for help,” Mitjans shared. ADP has recently partnered with the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) and Women in Techology International (WITI).

  1. Be aware of unconscious bias; use data to see if it’s going on in your company. Lissiah Hundley, diversity & inclusion strategist, Cox Enterprises, discussed unconscious bias at the Top 50 learning session in her presentation, and the panelists all agreed how important it is to address that subject.

View Hundley’s full talk here.

According to Cox, this bias “exists whether we know it or not.”

“To dissuade that, we make sure the tone starts at the top,” Cox shared. For instance, if a leadership meeting contains no women, it is up to the men in the room to be a voice for the women. However, he noted, it is also vital that the women make sure the men know what their voice is.

Gagley emphasized the importance of having “courageous conversations” to address these uncomfortable topics. She said she had recently met a 19-year-old college student who was hesitant to ask her professors or peers about maternity leave “because the men don’t understand as much.”

“I said, ‘Then we need to have that conversation,’” Gagley recalled, “and being able to be open and courageous about those questions can really drive that forward.”

Mitjans called data the “catalyst” for having these conversations. She suggested looking at “patterns” in data on hiring, promotions and succession planning.

“At the very least, you should have equal representation in your succession planning for gender, as an example,” she continued. “And if it’s not there, then you should start asking questions why, and start digging deeper as to why.”

When backed with data, she said, people are less likely to feel defensive about the results because the facts are there.

  1. Always carry a voice for underrepresented groups, even when they aren’t in the room. In relation to unconscious bias, make sure someone in the room speaks on behalf of underrepresented employees. If these employees are confident their best interests are in mind even when they are not in the room to assert them personally, this reflects trust within the company.

Cox, Mitjans and Gagnon all spoke about the LGBT community, but the advice they gave could be applied to the recruitment and retention of all underrepresented groups, including women.

Cox spoke about LGBT, specifically transgender, employees, and stressed how important it is at Comcast NBCUniversal that “when that voice isn’t at the table, [we make] sure that we carry that voice.”

ADP leverages PRIDE, the company’s LGBT Employee Resource Group (ERG), for help on how to best recruit and communicate with LGBT candidates, Mitjans shared.

Gagnon said that “being supportive and listening … and continuing to adapt our policies accordingly” is also crucial.

  1. Create diverse opportunities for your employees. Gagnon stressed that at AT&T, one belief is, “You come for the work, you stay for the people.”

A company that has a diverse customer or client base leads to a need for diverse employees to connect with them. This in turn develops chances for workers to express their uniqueness through creating different projects and taking on different tasks.

By having these opportunities, a big company can feel like a small company, Gagnon explained, and may function like a family or community. But it all starts with having a diverse workforce because the opportunities come from a combination of what the company has to offer the employee and what unique skills the employee brings to the job.

Gagnon also suggested exposing employees to mentoring circles. This provides the opportunity for employees to advance their careers with the help of those who have already been in their shoes.

EY Mentoring Celebration Bolsters Minority Advancement

Event for mentors and mentees includes a celebrity chef, a marching band and Red Rooster Harlem.

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Event for mentors and mentees includes a celebrity chef, a marching band and Red Rooster Harlem.

By Eve Tahmincioglu

To be the top company in the nation when it comes to mentoring, you need more than just innovative programs and leadership commitment.

Marcus Samuelsson, chef and owner of Red Rooster Harlem, speaks to EY's mentors at mentoring celebration in the backyard of his home.

Sometimes you have to take time out to celebrate and invigorate mentors and mentees by sharing delicious food and great music, and creating opportunities for fun.

Marcus Samuelsson and EY's Diana Solash walk through Harlem behind Marching Cobras of New York.

That’s just what EY — No. 3 on the DiversityInc 2016 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list and No. 1 on the Top 15 Companies for Mentoring list — did last week, with a celebration of mentoring held at the popular Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem, owned by food television star and mentoring advocate Marcus Samuelsson, who played an integral role in hosting the bash.

“The event recognized mentors, celebrated EY’s mentoring culture, and strengthened EY’s internal networks and sense of community, while giving back to the community in Harlem,” said Diana Solash, EY’s director, global and Americas diversity and inclusion.

The EY mentees on hand were from a wide range of career levels with many at the manager and senior manager levels, representing all business lines, including everything from advisory to core business services.

The mentees, many of whom were from the Tri-State New York area, said Solash, were “primarily ethnic minority mentees and part of EY’s ongoing efforts to enable the advancement of minority professionals into leadership.”

Samuelsson and Deborah Holmes, EY's American Director, Corporate Responsibility, and an EY mentor.

And the mentors included partners, principals, executive directors and directors, who are actively engaged in leading EY’s diversity and inclusion efforts as mentors, sponsors and professional network executive sponsors. They are all “recognized as inclusive leaders,” Solash noted.

About 45 mentors and 45 mentees attended the nearly five-hour affair, which included a procession through the streets of Harlem from chef Samuelsson’s home to his restaurant. And leading the way was a drum and dancing band called the Marching Cobras of New York.

EY accomplished its goal of celebrating mentoring and bringing mentors and mentees together, said Solash. Indeed, she added, “people stayed the very end and past the end, and were mixing and mingling.”

The event was scheduled on the heels of the Harlem EatUp! Festival (May 19-22), a festival EY sponsors and that chef Samuelsson has spearheaded as a way to bolster Harlem’s gentrification and provide funding for neighborhood development.

 

 

 

 

One Diverse Résumé Seen as Token

The chances one woman or one minority among a pool of white male candidates will get hired aren’t good.

The chances one woman or one minority among a pool of white male candidates will get hired aren’t good.

By Eve Tahmincioglu

A hiring manager or recruiter who gets one woman or minority on a slate of candidates probably feels good about their diversity efforts, especially if the position is for an executive-level job.

But recently released research shows they may want to hold off patting themselves on the back.

It turns out having just one diverse candidate isn’t enough to shift the status quo, according to a study by three University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business professors of management, whose research was published in the Harvard Business Review last week.

From the article:

“When there was only one woman or minority candidate in a pool of four finalists, their odds of being hired were statistically zero. But when we created a new status quo among the finalist candidates by adding just one more woman or minority candidate, the decision makers actually considered hiring a woman or minority candidate.”

What’s going on? Unconscious bias.

The study’s authors, led by Stefanie K. Johnson, an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Leeds School, found that having just one minority or woman in the pool highlighted the fact that the candidate wasn’t part of the status quo and was different from the norm.

The authors wrote:

“Deviating from the norm can be risky for decision makers, as people tend to ostracize people who are different from the group. For women and minorities, having your differences made salient can also lead to inferences of incompetence.”

What happens is the one diverse candidate is seen as a “token,” Johnson told me in a recent interview. She advised that “if you have four candidates, you should have two women. If you can’t find two women you may not be doing a good job recruiting.”

Indeed, smart companies seem to get this, with many pushing to get more than just one diverse candidate in the mix when hiring.

Genentech, No. 49 on the 2016 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, requires its external recruiters to present a candidate slate with at least 30 percent gender diversity for at least 80 percent of executive positions. When it comes to women in senior leadership, Genentech outpaces U.S. companies by 83 percent, the Top 50 by nearly 40 percent and 17 percent of the Top 10.

Another way to deal with this unconscious bias is blind recruiting and removing names from résumés. A diversity leader at another Top 50 company told me that her company was testing this approach on a small scale to see how it works.

Because it’s too early to gauge its success, she doesn’t want to discuss details just yet.

But based on Johnson’s research, she believes removing names is a good idea. “At the very least,” she noted, “you’re creating an even playing field; and my belief is women will do better if hiring managers don’t know the gender.”

If you’ve tried blind recruiting, or are adding more than one diverse candidate to candidate slates at your organization, we’d love to hear from you. Email me at etahmincioglu@diversityinc.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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