in the context of the community and
communicating our commitment
through the organizations we support. Every area [measured by the
Top 50 survey] is key.”
The DiversityInc Top 50
Companies for Diversity list is
determined entirely by a statistical
analysis of responses. This year’s Top
50, the sixth, was the most competitive yet, with 256 companies participating. That’s a 100 percent increase
over the last three years and a 26
percent increase from last year.
The DiversityInc Top 50
Companies for Diversity Index, created in 2004, proves that there is a
direct correlation between strong
diversity management and shareholder return. Examined over a 10-
year period, the index of publicly
traded Top 50 companies outperformed the Nasdaq by 28. 2 percent,
the Standard & Poor’s 500 by 24. 8
percent and the Dow Jones
Industrial Average by 22. 4 percent.
Results for one-, three- and five-year
performance also were competitive.
It’s important to note that with so
many companies competing for the
first time each year and with
methodology changes that create a
more thorough examination of companies’ strengths and weaknesses, it is
unfair to compare rankings from year
to year. Almost half of this year’s participants ( 48 percent) were first-timers. Seven of those companies
made the Top 50 list, along with 14
companies that were past participants
but did not make the 2005 list.
The Top 50 companies also are
unique because they are carrying
the flag for equality, as seen in their support of gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) employees.
All of the Top 50 companies offer domestic-partner
benefits, compared with 49 percent of the Fortune
500. Sixty-nine percent of the Top 50 companies have
active programs to recruit GLBT employees.
Additionally, 13 percent of the Top 50 companies have
gay/lesbian supplier programs, a rarity in corporate
America. (Find out more about the Top 50’s efforts to
protect GLBT employees on page 138.)
Unbiased Retention and Promotion
Most major companies worry about retention rates,
but relatively few are concerned about whether their
rates are biased. It is much more important, from a
diversity-management perspective, to have consistent
retention rates among different groups of employees
than to have a high overall rate.
Why? Retaining a diverse pool of valued workers
creates long-term relationships with those employees,
their families and their communities—a must for companies that want to succeed as the U.S. population
becomes even more diverse.
“It’s the best representation-driver in the world,”
Simmons says of retention, which he considers PwC’s
diversity team’s top focus. “What I mean is if people
you have genuinely feel that the people they work for
are trying to give them a fair shake, they’ll go out and
recruit for you.”
But far too many businesses are retaining white
workers and employees of color at uneven rates. That is
biased retention. If retention is biased, the probability
of losing top talent increases.
Even companies that realize how important diversity
management is (as evidenced by their participating in
the Top 50 survey) don’t always have unbiased retention.
Why? It’s often a reflection of top executives’ and hiring
managers’ comfort levels, people choosing to keep, mentor and support those who appear to be like themselves.
“Unconscious patterns of doing things the way you
know best is just a matter of human nature,” Simmons
says. “Last time I checked, every company was hiring
humans. So if we’re all susceptible to some biased ways
of thinking, our view is we have an institutional
responsibility to challenge people to think differently.”
PwC is succeeding. The company’s 2005 retention
rates demonstrate a lack of bias: 86 percent for whites,
Latinos and women; 85 percent for blacks; and 83 percent for Asian Americans.
A multicultural work force gives a company the
creativity needed for new-product development, not
to mention insight and access to emerging markets