Top 5 for Diversity: Conquering Challenges

2016-Top-50-promoCompanies topping DiversityInc’s Top 50 List focus on solutions.

By Eve Tahmincioglu

You have to clear a few hurdles to become the best of the best.

Indeed, the companies leading the pack on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity made it to this select group because they continue working at creating more inclusive and diverse workforces, even in the face of challenges, everything from needing more accountability to boosting cultural change.

To that end, we reached out to the top five winners — No. 1 Kaiser Permanente, No. 2 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, No. 3 EY, No. 4 AT&T and No. 5 PricewaterhouseCoopers — to answer one question:

What were the diversity and inclusion challenges your organization overcame this past year?

  1. Kaiser Permanente:

Ronald Copeland, Kaiser Permanente“We have learned diversity is only half the battle and inclusion is the equally important other half. We have learned that training and education are necessary ingredients but by themselves do not really move the needle. Integrating D&I into how the organization functions through process and system changes is what creates sustainable D&I. We also learned you cannot make real D&I progress through commitment alone, and you must create real accountability for D&I results among the executive levels. Finally, you must use the power of data to highlight not only where work is needed, but also where work is showing results. Moreover, build transparency in the data down to the individual executive level for real ownership of the progress and outcomes.

“During the last few years, we reorganized our deployment model to a focus on integration, and socialized a new level of individual leadership performance and accountability for D&I results through more vigorous use of metrics and transparency. In addition, we concentrated on assessing how inclusive we are as a highly diverse organization and building a road map for an inclusive culture where everyone feels valued and free to speak up, and employee engagement is improved.”

~ Dr. Ronald Copeland, Senior Vice President, National Diversity Strategy and Policy, and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

  1. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation:

Rhonda Crichlow, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation“Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation’s focus and commitment to support patients has never been stronger. To ensure that we are well positioned to address our evolving business and organizational needs, last year, NPC enhanced our strategy, and improved D&I governance, by transitioning  direct accountability and ownership for the D&I strategy to our Pharma Executive Committee and newly-formed divisional D&I councils.

“We believe this shift will enable us to address the unique needs of patients and customers across all aspects of our business, and  positions us for even greater business success.”

~ Rhonda Crichlow, Vice President and Head of U.S. Diversity & Inclusion.

  1. EY:

Karyn Twaronite, EY

“Our challenge at EY? Keeping pace with the ever changing, diverse needs of our people. By listening directly to our people and investing in global research to understand the shifting dynamics of a global workforce, EY has been able to bring the needs of our people to the forefront of our workplace conversations, programs and policies — from advanced discussions on race and ethnicity, to critical actions that foster gender equity, to expanding our LGBT advocacy globally, to more fully leveraging diverse abilities, to offering progressive, equalized parental leave of up to 16 weeks for women and men and providing financial support to families no matter how they are created.

“Listening intently to our people and taking action has enabled EY to further strengthen our inclusive culture so that our people may truly feel heard, supported and successful.”

~ Karyn Twaronite, Global Diversity & Inclusiveness Officer

  1. AT&T:

Cynthia-Marshall-ATT“In 2015, our longstanding commitment to D&I helped us smoothly integrate with newly acquired DIRECTV. Our inclusiveness, coupled with both companies’ eagerness to collaborate, made all the difference in seamlessly integrating our cultures.

“Our employee resource groups led the way, and now all employees are coming together to show that the combined companies will have ‘one plus one equals three’ power and value.”

~ Cynt Marshall, Senior Vice President — HR and Chief Diversity Officer

  1. PricewaterhouseCoopers:

Maria-Moats-310“Last summer we hosted our live PwC Talks: Being Color Brave with Mellody Hobson to spark a dialogue about race in society and what we can do as individuals and business leaders. We knew going into it that if we wanted to drive cultural change we needed to keep the conversation going after the webcast.

“Since then, we’ve hosted additional Color Brave sessions to engage PwC professionals, clients and college students across the nation in what can sometimes be uncomfortable conversations that require a lot of self-examination and opening one’s self up to hearing others’ viewpoints. The common thread has been people’s willingness to learn more about others’ experiences, and explore small steps they can take to broaden their own perspectives — and that is how we can drive lasting cultural change and live up to PwC’s Purpose of building trust in society and solving important problems.”

~ Maria Castañón Moats, Assurance Partner and Chief Diversity Officer

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