Why The Top 50 Is Important
Overall, the concept of “lists” has fallen out of favor in recent years. We feel that’s because many of
them are surface treatments, poorly conducted, receive little or no publicity—or even worse, simply are “pay-to-play” lists in which a check is connected to the award or list.
The DiversityInc Top 50 list has gone in the other direction: The number of competitors grew
by 26 percent to 256 companies this year. This is up by 100 percent over the past three years. We are
exceptionally transparent in our methodology and participation, and the promotion of our list goes far
beyond most lists—even “mainstream” ones.
Why this is important to you is that your
interests—diversity, defined as the end of discrimination, bias, bigotry, homophobia and
misogynism as a way of business—constantly
are under assault.
They’re under assault because the concept of
diversity management insinuates that the majority culture has flaws. Since the majority of CEOs
are straight, white, able-bodied men who are very
successful, we could expect disbelief and consternation that “they” could be “wrong.”
What we’ve found, however, is that a facts-and-figures-based argument increasingly is
enough to change the mindset of well-meaning
and competent white top managers. When you
can see that your company’s promotions are not
equal to the representation of people who differ
only by race and gender, or that your hiring
practices are not competitive with your peers, it’s
not only a wake-up call to a potential class-action
suit, it’s an indication that your concept of “
meritocracy” may not be as good as you think it is.
When combined with the absolute fact that
white people are not only the distinct minority
on the planet but soon to be the minority right
here in the United States, then top management
who don’t act on implementing effective,
accountable diversity management are not behaving in the best interests of their stockholders,
employees, customers and suppliers.
The aggregation of data from 256 corporate
participants in a more than 200-question survey is
the largest collection of data on diversity management that exists. This year, we increased the accuracy of our list by selecting our top companies
from more sophisticated statistical techniques.
To be absolutely clear, there is no connection
between our list and business conducted with our
company. Our list is not a popularity list or a list of
companies that assert their success in diversity management. It is a list of absolute accomplishment.
Some of the numbers you will read in this issue represent astonishing managerial accomplishments.
It has caused some angst among several companies we’ve talked to since the list has been released.
Being on this list brings in revenue for companies—
no doubt about that—companies who are “on”
this subject want to do business with other companies that share both their values and achievements.
They are sought after by potential employees, suppliers and investors.
Ultimately, DiversityInc and our Top 50 list have
been a driving influence on the spread of diversity
management as a top-of-mind issue in progressive
corporate America. The participants—especially
including those that did not achieve a spot on our
list—deserve our praise and gratitude. They are
serving a larger cause and are demonstrating leadership and vision by being transparent in their quest
for diversity-management accomplishment.
Partners and Cofounders