What Drives Successful D&I Programs?
Reasons to Subscribe to Gain Companywide Access:
Best Practices, Case Studies, Leadeship Profiles
Monthly Webinars on Talent Management, Fairness and Current Social Issues
Meeting in a Box Content on Culturally Themed Months and Talent Management
Colleges and Universities
Federal and State Agencies
$1,600 / yr
With Fewer Than
5,000 Employees
$6,600 / yr
With Up to 9,999 Employees
More than 10,000? Call for quote.
$16,000 / yr

Résumé Review Revamp Boosts Diversity Hiring

Three strategies that made a Wyndham legal chief a diversity leader.


Three strategies that made a Wyndham legal chief a diversity leader.

By Moses Frenck

Paul Cash, general counsel of Wyndham Destination Network (WDN), had an opportunity to try a new approach when it came time to hire for and define a new role.

The existing team at the WDN — a unit of Wyndham Worldwide (No. 27 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity) — was diverse in many aspects but, Cash recalled, more work could be done.

“The goal is to hire the best possible candidate for the job, but we also need to consider diversity of thought,” said Cash, who oversees a team of 40 lawyers around the world and decided to make diversity an active component of the recruiting process at WDN.

“While we were diverse in many dimensions, we said to ourselves, ‘We can do better. Let’s make diversity an active component of the recruiting process,’” he explained.

To do that he initiated a three-pronged approach:

  • Résumé Review Revamp. A new process to review résumés was instituted and involved the whole legal team, including Cash, screening every single résumé that came in. “We wanted to make sure that we were all aligned in how we were looking at the résumés and not sort of rigidly discarding a résumé because the person didn’t go to the right law school,” he explained. “We wanted to look for diversity of thought and candidates that more holistically represented good additions to the team.”

  • Enlist Diverse Interviewers. It was important to have the right interviewers as well. “We all interview differently,” Cash noted. “We all have a different approach. We thought if we have a diverse group of interviewers that we’ll look at the candidates all differently, we’ll get the best picture and that will produce the best balanced slate of candidates at the end of the day. We’ll also hopefully eliminate, or at least minimize, unconscious bias — the tendency to hire yourself.”

  • Diverse Job Sites. Cash decided to look beyond just the typical legal job boards to post the role and found non-traditional places, such as the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s job site.

The approach was successful and Cash now leads not only a diverse team, but a team composed of the best people in their roles.

Cash is passionate about diversity 
and inclusion, in large part due to his personal connection. “I met my amazing wife, who’s Colombian American, in Germany, of all places, and I’ve heard her stories of when she was a kid, the discrimination that she and her family faced, and that’s certainly given me a new lens through which I can look at diversity.”

He also has two children, each with unique medical needs, including a 17-year-old son with autism. “When I think of my kids — and really all of our kids — my dream is for them to find a workplace, an employer, that will truly accept them, embrace them, develop, advance them, really give them fair opportunity,” he said.

Indeed, his passion for diversity has made an impact on Wyndham. Today, he is described by his colleagues as a dedicated diversity leader because his approach to recruiting and identifying top talent has created a legal department that is one of the most diverse functions within the company, according to Wyndham Worldwide Chief Diversity Officer Patricia Lee.

“When you look at hiring today the workplace is evolving so quickly,” Cash said. “The diversity segment of the workforce is growing; it’s perhaps the fastest growing segment.”

Wyndham Worldwide: Supporting the LGBT Movement

A message to LGBT employees that they can “bring their whole selves to work” bolsters recruitment of the best talent.


A message to LGBT employees that they can “bring their whole selves to work” bolsters recruitment of the best talent.


By Eve Tahmincioglu

Wyndham Worldwide's (No. 24 on the 2017 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list and one of the Top Companies for LGBT Employees) Chief Diversity Officer Patti Lee is proud of the company’s longtime commitment to the LGBT movement and sees such support as one of the best ways to attract top talent.

“We create an environment where everyone feels they can bring their whole selves to work,” she explained about Wyndham.

They do this, she continued, by putting a simple message out there:

“Our doors are open. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or what your family make up is. We want you to come to our organization. We want you to be everything that you are. We want you to give 115 percent.”

How do you get that message out there? By providing more than just lip service. Wyndham, Lee said, has been supporting the LGBT movement from the beginning, including by signing the amicus brief last year urging the Supreme Court to strike down state bans on gay marriage.

Wyndham Worldwide, she added, has continued to receive a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's annual Corporate Equality Index, is very active locally in LGBT issues and supports its LGBT employees through its WYNPride associates business group focused on professional development.

“Organizations need to continue to evolve,” she said about embracing diversity and inclusion for all individuals, adding that companies must “open up the doors for all associates.”

And most importantly, she added, “the leaders we put into place really must support that and be committed to every single employee.”

Here’s a video of Lee talking about Wyndham’s support of the LGBT community.

Related Video: Innovative Nontraditional Recruiting Strategies: Patti Lee

Recruiting Millennials With Purposeful Work

AT&T’s college recruiting leader offers tips on recruiting millennials and how to choose schools to recruit from.


AT&T’s college recruiting leader offers tips on recruiting millennials and how to choose schools to recruit from.


By Eve Tahmincioglu

Nancy Dominguez, an AT&T intern

Successfully recruiting millennials, also known as members of Gen Y, is all about providing them with opportunities to do meaningful work. That’s what Kaley Gagnon, AT&T’s executive director of college recruiting, has found sets her company apart.

(AT&T is No. 4 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.)

One example of how AT&T does that is letting interns run with their own ideas to create products. A case in point, Gagnon explained, is an intern who wanted to create technology to sense if a child or a pet was in a hot car. “We said, ‘Go for it,’” she recalled.

The intern, Nancy Dominguez, created the prototype, and her story is now featured on the AT&T careers page under the headline, “AT&T Intern’s Invention Will Help Save Lives.”

"When the idea first popped into my head, I sent an email explaining the idea," Dominguez said. "I didn't expect them to say, 'I like that. Let's start working on it.'"

Kaley Gagnon, AT&T

AT&T is able to find bright young employees like Dominguez, Gagnon said, because they laser focus their college recruitment efforts. “You have to be strategic,” she explained about picking the right universities. “We can’t be at every single one of them.”

The two top reasons for picking a particular school, she said, are:

  • Geographic proximity to the jobs being offered
  • Degree programs that align with the skillsets needed

Gagnon said AT&T doesn’t recruit from a campus without doing thorough research, spending time on campus and talking to students. The key is “making sure there is a match,” she stressed.

Check out our Diversity in Minutes conversation with Gagnon, where she provides college recruiting best practices.

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.”

EY Mentoring Celebration Bolsters Minority Advancement

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


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.








Wyndham’s 'Try and Train' Strategy

Finding great and diverse employees among a contingent workforce


By Sheryl Estrada

There’s no such thing as temporary talent at Wyndham Worldwide due to its “try and train” approach to recruiting.

While some companies use contingency workforces to cover business peaks or fill in for full-time employees, Wyndham -- No. 27 on DiversityInc’s 2016 Top 50 Companies for Diversity -- sees this pool of workers as fertile hiring ground, especially when it comes to finding diverse talent.

The company hires diverse and talented contractors with the intent of bringing them aboard as full-time employees, if he or she is a fit for the company, said Patty Lee, senior vice president of human resources and chief diversity officer at Wyndham.

“At Wyndham, we look to do the things others are not; we get involved at a grass roots level,” she said at a DiversityInc Top 50 event learning session on Tuesday titled “Innovative Nontraditional Recruiting Strategies.” “And then we measure our successes, one person at a time.”

A strategic partnership with a workforce solutions management company has affected Wyndham’s overall recruitment efforts, which has made for a diverse pool of candidates. A program was also implemented that spends money with more sub contractors, which are smaller firms that provide their services to Wyndham’s direct supplier.

“We focus on Asian, LGBT, women and veterans workers, and have partnered with more than 15 tier two firms to bring that talent into our organization,” Lee said.

The result:

In 2015, Wyndham spent $27 million in contract labor and part-time expenses. Out of the 370 people obtained as contractors, 134 were converted to full time employees, a 36 percent conversion rate.

So far, Lee said, Wyndham’s partnership with ZeroChaos, a contingency workforce provider, has been effective, but acknowledged hiring an outside firm to assist in recruitment can be tricky.

She offered the following advice:

  1. Choose your partner well. Make sure they align with your core values and can deliver results.
  2. Once you have a partnership, managing relationships is essential. Don’t let the partnership manage you.
  3. If you’re in a partnership that’s not working, get out of it. "When it’s not working, it’s time to say ‘goodbye’ and go your separate ways."

As a brand Wyndham’s mission is to “welcome people to experience world and travel the way they want to,” she maintained, so it takes hiring the best and most diverse talent, seriously.

The company holds hiring managers accountable, and doesn’t hesitate to dismiss those who don’t facilitate Wyndham’s recruitment perspective.

This approach, she admitted, “is the one people usually question the most,” Lee said. “And, it’s quite simple. If our leaders and hiring managers do not subscribe to hiring the best talent, from a diverse slate of candidates, they’re generally not a fit for Wyndham. And we bounce them.”







Companies, Entertainers Pressure Govs to Overturn Gay-Bashing Laws

Employers take a stand against biased laws to bolster recruitment and retention of top talent, especially among younger employees.


Employers take a stand against biased laws to bolster recruitment, retention of top talent, especially among younger employees. Celebrities stand up against the injustices as well.

By Eve Tahmincioglu

The movement of some states to pass anti-LGBT laws, most recently in Mississippi and North Carolina, is in the bull’s-eye of a growing corporate coalition and key entertainers.

IBM (No. 22 on the 2015 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity) took to Twitter last week to make a public statement against the latest unjust foray, this time by Mississippi with legislation allowing people or organizations who have a religious reason for bigotry against LGBT individuals to deny services to them. @IBMPolicy — IBM’s official government and regulatory affairs Twitter account tweet -- singled out Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, saying it was "disappointed" that he signed the legislation.

And beyond the corporate world, A-List entertainers were also following suit. Bruce Springsteen cancelled his band's concert Friday in North Carolina, and Canadian singer Bryan Adams nixed his gig in Mississippi.

Springsteen wrote on his website:

"Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters."

While it's not unusual for musicians to take political stands, corporate activism like this appears to be catching on as well.

It's a manifestation of the drive to get the top talent, a desire buoyed when companies are on the right side of social justice issues. Clearly, efforts to recruit and retain the best of the best employees to states that pass homophobic laws can be hampered, especially among millennials.

Members of Gen Y are among the most liberal when it comes to LGBT rights. Nearly 75 percent of millennials favor legal recognition of same-gender marriage, according to a Pew Research Center study released in June 2015. That compares to 59 percent among Gen Xers and 45 percent among Baby Boomers.

Millennials take their values to work, with 61 percent saying they are motivated to work for companies that align with their personal values, found a report by the Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers and Net Impact. And a global study by Deloitte (No. 12) reported 56 percent of Gen Y-ers have “ruled out ever working for a particular organization because of its values or standard of conduct.”

Business leaders know that “discrimination is bad for business,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). That statement is one in a series the organization put out recently about a growing list of companies that have signed on to urge states to rethink discriminatory laws.

Indeed, taking a public stance against anti-LGBT crusades makes sense for many of the most diverse companies in the country looking to find the best people.

“IBM stands by and stands up for its values,” said Laurie Friedman, a spokeswoman for the company

IBM is just one of many DiversityInc Top 50 companies that have taken such a bold stand against discriminatory tactics popping up around the country.

Other DiversityInc Top 50 Companies signed onto HRC’s letter, including the CEOs from Northrop Grumman (No. 35), Hilton Worldwide (No. 47) and Kellogg Company (No. 26).

Last month in Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal announced he planned to veto a proposed “anti-LGBT” bill he had intended to sign, following pressure from various U.S. corporations, including Marriott International (No. 13), IBM, The Walt Disney Company (No. 34) and Time Warner (No. 41), which threatened to take their business elsewhere.

And Toyota Motor North America (No. 36), an employer of 2,000 people at a Mississippi plant, was one of a handful of companies in the state raising concerns about legislation there, according to a story in the Mississippi Business Journal.

Another Top 50 company has been at the forefront of the corporate groundswell of opposition, Eli Lilly and Company (No. 24), with its opposition to the Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act that passed in 2015.

Lilly, No. 24 on the list, was joined by Cummins (No. 21) and Anthem (No. 23), all of which encouraged lawmakers to include language in the legislation barring any discrimination against LGBT individuals.

Why do this?

“Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce is critical for Lilly to achieve its mission of making medicines that help people live longer, healthier, more active lives,” said Janice Chavers, director of diversity and human resources communications for Lilly.

Lilly’s fight goes beyond just this legislation.

Controversy over the Act shined light on the reality that Indiana and about 30 other states have no civil rights protections for LGBT individuals, so the company, along with other businesses, plans on advocating for a law to provide those protections.

“We believe that many people will not come to the state if our civil rights laws are not protective of all people,” she explained. “The backlash the state received when the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed is indicative of that.”




Lawsuits May Widen LGBT Protections

Two federal lawsuits could lead to far-reaching legal protections for LGBT employees who face discrimination in the workplace.


EEOC files first ever sex bias cases based on sexual orientation

By Eve Tahmincioglu

Two federal lawsuits could lead to far-reaching legal protections for LGBT employees who face discrimination in the workplace.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed its first sex discrimination cases based on sexual orientation. The twin lawsuits – one against Scott Medical Health Center and the other against IFCO Systems – allege harassment based on sexual orientation.

"With the filing of these two suits, EEOC is continuing to solidify its commitment to ensuring that individuals are not discriminated against in workplaces because of their sexual orientation," said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. "While some federal courts have begun to recognize this right under Title VII, it is critical that all courts do so."

What opened the door to lawsuits like these was the agencies ruling in July that workplace bias against people for being gay, lesbian or bisexual constitutes gender discrimination under the law.

Greg Nevins, a lawyer with Lambda Legal in Atlanta, told Bloomberg BNA that the EEOC’s move sends a “very empowering” message for LGBT individuals and educates both workers and employers that the law is advancing. 

It’s unclear how these cases will play out, but what is clear is that the focus on LGBT rights in the workplace continues.

Many of DiversityInc’s Top 50 companies have already taken great strides to level the playing field for LGBT employees and are known for being more inclusive when it comes to recruiting and employees this group.

Why? These three factors are a big part of the reason:

  • • The right culture — one with a no tolerance for discrimination

    • The right benefits, including for transgender employees

    • The right support system, especially an LGBT and employee-resource groups


Indeed, being branded as an LGBT-inclusive employer takes effort. Companies that receive a 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index have to go through several qualifying steps, including offering transgender reassignment benefits.

Top 50U.S. (HRC)
LGBT non-discrimination training100%80%
Include gender identity in employment protections100%66%
Offer gender reassignment surgery86%28%


Forty-two of the DiversityInc Top 50 earned 100 percent CEI scores, as well as 18 on the DiversityInc 25 Noteworthy list. To be considered for DiversityInc’s Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees, a company must have a 100 percent CEI score.

DiversityInc Top 50 companies have long been at the forefront of LGBT inclusivity.






Women, Minorities Punished for Promoting Diversity

Women and nonwhite executives should take note. Promoting diversity and inclusion within your company could hurt your career. At least those are the findings of a recently released study in the Academy of Management Journal titled “Does diversity-valuing behavior result in diminished performance ratings for nonwhite and female leaders?”


White Males Get a Pass When They Champion D&I, Study Finds

By Eve Tahmincioglu

Women and nonwhite executives should take note. Promoting diversity and inclusion within your company could hurt your career.

At least those are the findings of a recently released study in the Academy of Management Journal titled “Does diversity-valuing behavior result in diminished performance ratings for nonwhite and female leaders?”

The authors of the study, which surveyed 350 executives in 20 industries and 26 job functions, found that:

  • • minorities and women who engage in diversity-valuing behavior tend to be negatively stereotyped and, thus, receive lower competence and performance ratings.
  • • white males who engage in these same behaviors, however, saw no adverse impact.
  • • and, the findings suggest, minority and women leaders might be able to advance their own careers by engaging in lower levels of diversity-valuing behavior.


This research may shed light on the perpetual problem of getting more women and minorities into corner offices.

The authors write:

“The glass ceiling may persist, in part, because nonwhite and women leaders who engage in behaviors that increase diversity in the highest organizational ranks are systematically penalized with lower competence and performance ratings. This logic may explain why there are so few leaders willing to publicly advocate for nonwhite or women leaders to be promoted, and why ethnic minorities and women feel threatened at the prospect of hiring a fellow member of their demographic group.”

Despite these undercurrents, there are companies that seem to rise above this unconscious-bias wall.

DiversityInc’s Top 50 companies consistently do a better job advancing women and minorities.

Among the Top 50 companies, 16.3% of minorities and 27.3% of women are in senior leadership – that is among the CEO and his or her direct reports. And minorities make up nearly 19% and women 32.3% of the highest paid 10%.

Compare that to the majority of the largest companies in the United States, where only 9% of women and 8% of minorities are among the five highest-paid executives, according to a Calvert Investments 2015 report. And there are only 4% of women CEOs and 25.1% of women in executive and senior-level officials and manager positions among the S&P 500, according to Catalyst.

So how do the top employers do it? They open their eyes.

Rather than ignore the fact that no one is immune to bias, even women and minorities, it is imperative to acknowledge “we all experience blind spots that affect all interactions,” said Michael Fenlon, Principal U.S. and Global Talent, PricewaterhouseCoopers (No. 3 on DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity)

Fenlon recommended implementing mandatory unconscious bias training at the leadership level. If managers are made aware of these blind spots, they will know how to rectify them when interacting with their diverse high potentials.

Once this understanding is built at the managerial level, he continued, it will eventually reflect in the rest of the managers’ teams.

“Whole leadership starts with self-awareness,” he stressed.

In a Harvard Business Review article about the findings written by the study’s lead authors Stefanie K. Johnson, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship and David R. Hekman, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business, offer some insights meant to open employers eyes to the diversity realities on the ground.

They write:

“As organizations seek to reflect the broader societies in which they operate, increasing racial and gender balance is becoming more urgent. The harsh reality discussed here highlights the importance of putting appropriate structures and processes in place to guarantee the fair evaluation of women and minorities. The challenge of creating equality should not be placed on the shoulders of individuals who are at greater risk of being crushed by the weight of this goal.”








Grooming Women Tech Leaders

Implementing a few key initiatives and programs can make a world of difference for mid-career women who are ready to step into management roles.


Countering “macho” tech culture and bolstering women's confidence can slow rush of mid-career women heading for the door.

By Tamika Cody and Eve Tahmincioglu

The tech industry continues to hold the reputation of being dominated by men. One of the main reasons for the disparity is that mid-career women aren’t getting promoted into management positions. Many are overlooked, and still others head for the door before they even make it on to the leadership track.

According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, more than half of women in technology, 56 percent, leave their employers after working in the industry for 10 to 20 years. And among U.S. women in STEM careers overall, 32 percent say they plan on quitting their jobs within a year, found the Center for Talent Innovation.

Why the exodus? There are a host of reasons, including

• “macho” work environments;

• isolation;

• work-life issues; bias;

• and a lack of sponsors, just to name a few.

Companies can, however, keep their pipeline flowing if they implement a few initiatives to help women develop into management positions. That could mean everything from formalized coaching programs, to fireside chats that build camaraderie, to reaching way back in the pipeline to encourage girls in high school to get on a tech career path.

IBM, which is No. 22 on the DiversityInc Top 50 list, follows a disciplined approach when grooming female talent for management.

In order for women to move into management positions within the tech space, companies need formal programs that create ecosystems that allow women to compete and succeed, said IBM’s vice president of diversity, Lindsay-Rae McIntyre.

“From a best practices standpoint I would say that it has to come with a holistic approach,” said McIntyre. “We know that expediting women into management requires us to build confidence and competence around all of the dimensions required for successful management and career preparation.”

McIntyre highlighted two of IBM’s primary programs: Building Relationships and Influence (BRI) and Pathways.

BRI prepares women into management by providing them with an all-inclusive development experience. The program provides women with personal awareness acumens through face-to-face learning and development classes, followed by an e-learning curriculum with support from coaches and mentors.

BRI launched in 2007, and since then nearly 4,000 female employees have gone through the program and 40 percent of them were promoted into management.

The second program, Pathways, is specifically for women who are on the career track toward the highest technical ranks at IBM. “We put them through a series of experiences to really coach and develop them on their technical expertise, as well as their management skills and readiness,” said McIntyre. The women are assigned technical coaches and executive sponsors.

IBM launched Pathways in 2012, and to date about 4,500 women have gone through the program and approximately 50 percent were promoted into management.

Related Story: Smart Women in Tech Give Career Advice

The Hunt for Women in Tech

Although IBM has the right tools to keep its management talent pipeline flowing, the company still has to find a way to recruit fresh talent. “There just aren’t as many women in high school who wake up and say, ‘I want to go into tech,’” said IBM Fellow and Director of IBM Research’s Accelerated Discovery Lab, Dr. Laura Hass.

Hass cited a 2014 Taulbee Survey, which showed enrollment figures for women pursuing computer science degrees in graduate programs range between 10 percent and 12 percent. “That peak went up about 25 percent in the 1980s and it took a dip recently,” Hass said, but noted things are now starting to turn around. “We have a supply problem, but there’s been a lot of encouraging news lately, but it will take quite a few years to have the [volume] to choose from,” said Hass.

The news Hass is referring to took place last year, when Congress approved a bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. For the first time ever, computer science is listed as one of the core competencies that students should be exposed to in high school and secondary schools. “That’s very exciting because before that,” Hass explained, “schools weren’t even motivated to teach computer science. Now it will become ok to teach computer science in high school and that will help a lot.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is also taking part in getting women front and center into tech careers. NSF works with inner city and rural school systems where they train computer science teachers. “They are actually changing the way computer science has been taught,” said Hass. “It’s been taught almost the way we used to teach shop years ago — very technical and very tool focused.”

The tech industry, she continued, is taking steps in the right direction but she doesn’t expect to see a real shift for another five years. The first thing that needs to happen is to get more women interested in technology, she said, adding, “if you can’t do that then you don’t have a balanced workplace, and that’s a necessary first step.”

Early Recruiting

Companies are starting to reach a little further back into the pipeline and participating more with high schools and organizations. For example, KeyBank, a subsidiary of KeyCorp (No. 49 on DiversityInc Top 50), builds its recruiting pipeline by inviting a group of high school students to take part in a summer internship program. Most of those high school students usually circle back to Key for an internship once they are in college.

“Our internship program really provides us an incredible opportunity to bring a very diverse group of young men and women and we expose them to all aspects of technology,” said Amy Brady, who leads the technology and operations team at Key.

“Starting that pipeline early is starting to be a best practice for us,” said Brady. “We are reaching out to middle and high schools around the country earlier, so that we can change the perception for young women who may understand that the technology acumen can open doors for incredible career opportunities in so many different directions.”

Related Story: Innovative Tactics to Recruit Women in Tech

Recruiting Experienced Women Who Left Tech

Like KeyBank, IBM also taps into high schools to identify potential recruits, as well as organizations like Girls Who Code. But for women who left the tech space, IBM initiated a new recruiting concept through a program it calls Reconnections. The company rehires women who have separated from IBM in the past or have taken some form of leave and are ready to return to the workplace. Some are even rehired into management positions.

Another non-traditional recruiting program IBM created is set in Silicon Valley and goes by the name Reboot. The program engages women who want to return to the workforce by upgrading their technical skills and making them aware of the latest technology, said McIntyre, “with the hope that they would want to return to the workforce and ideally work for IBM.”

Why Women Leave Their Tech Careers Behind

The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) published a study in 2014, updating its The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology report, and found 32 percent of women in the United States said they were likely to quit their science, engineering and technology (SET) jobs within a year. And the reasons include:

Hostile macho cultures. Women in SET are marginalized by lab-coat, hard-hat, and geek workplace cultures that are often exclusionary and promulgate bias.

Isolation. SET women no longer find themselves the sole female on a team or at a site. Yet they still feel excluded from “buddy networks” among their peers and lack female role models.

Scarcity of effective sponsors. Although SET women have sponsors, they don’t reap the benefits to the degree that their male colleagues do. The “sponsor effect” (the differential in satisfaction with career progression for individuals with sponsors vs. those without) is 22 percent for U.S. SET women versus 32 percent

The CTI study found, however, that the demand for women in STEM continues to grow, however, the supply continues to shrink. CIT listed a couple of reasons, including:

• Post-9/11 security concerns have reduced the number of H-1B visas (which allow foreign nationals to work in the U.S.),

• Rapid growth in Asia has created a reverse brain drain of highly qualified Indian and Chinese scientists and engineers who are returning home after completing their education in the U.S.

Related Story: Female Exodus From Tech Jobs a Global Problem

Although the two points may work in favor for American women in STEM, studies still found that women are opting out of their tech careers for the reasons previously mentioned.

In McIntyre’s experience, she’s seen a number of reasons why women leave their tech jobs. Most of them just want to take a break to either go back to school to study something new, pursue entrepreneurial ventures, or they may have dependent care needs of any form, whether its childcare or taking care of an ailing family member. Some have global opportunities, which a spousal move is usually a part of that.

“At IBM we are really proud of the fact that we offer all of our employees, particularly our women, a lot of options to engage with IBM,” said McIntyre. “We have a long standing commitment to a flexible environment that gives our employees lots of choices to manage the demands of their personal life and their work life.”

Focus on Retention

Tech companies, or any company for that matter, McIntyre stressed, need to find a way to commit to flexibility and create a variety of programs and initiatives that will support employees, particularly technical women, through the lifecycle of their careers. “It’s an important and valuable commitment,” she said.

Brady added that it’s important for companies to keep women engaged the moment they start the onboard process. For women working on the technology side, KeyBank has a networking group that allows women to connect with other women to talk about opportunities and how to prepare for the next role.

Women are introduced to potential mentors and future sponsors. “All of that networking really helps us build on all of those things. We are really focused on taking those women who want a highly technical career and helping them learn how to prepare for that next step, that next role,” said Brady. “That is really important because studies have shown that women may not be as assertive in taking that next step as their male counterparts.”

KeyBank also holds fireside chats, which are opened to diverse groups throughout the organization.

“I bring a group of women in technology together to talk about what is working well, and what’s not working so well,” said Brady. “These fireside chats, I think have proven to be, incredible learning opportunities for me and our organization but also a fabulous way to get the women across my organization to build stronger connections among themselves that will help when they need that support to take on the next role.”



Career Advice on Handling Unconscious Bias

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


How Executive Diversity Councils Yield Talent Results

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


The Differences Between Mentoring and Sponsorship

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