that might otherwise be inaccessible. To prevent employees from
flocking to competitors or giving
up corporate America for life as an
entrepreneur, companies must provide a nurturing environment
where staffers can feel they are an
integral part of the company while
their own careers develop.
Companies with remote offices
must make sure that environment
extends outside the corporate headquarters and into the field. With
small offices throughout the nine
states where it does business,
BellSouth’s Adams regularly heads
into the field to make sure employees feel as if they are part
of the process.
Field workers are excited to see one of the
CEO’s direct reports, and
Adams, who has made
about 150 trips during the
past few years, always
leaves having learned something,
often bringing employees’ ideas back
to headquarters, she says.
The trips also have helped
Adams quell the idea among some
employees that diversity still is
about affirmative action and numbers. “We don’t wait for problems to
brew,” she says. “Instead, we go out
and talk to them. That is part of the
Only the top 10 companies on
The 2006 DiversityInc Top 50
Companies for Diversity list have
unbiased promotion rates. Verizon,
the No. 1 company, has perfectly
consistent unbiased promotion rates.
Whites are 66 percent of the work
force and receive 66 percent of promotions; people of
color are 34 percent of the work force and receive 34
percent of promotions.
By contrast, the bottom quarter of the survey
respondents have 22 percent fewer people of color in
their work forces and promote in a biased manner—
whites are promoted at 110 percent of representation
rates while people of color are promoted at only 72
percent of their representation rates.
A Common Thread
Every business has its own diversity strategy. Some have
dedicated departments, while others have a small core
of diversity professionals who work throughout the
company. Through the Top 50 data, however,
DiversityInc has identified some of the common
threads among the most successful companies. Among
them: a diversity chief who is no more than one report
removed from the CEO level, a diversity council headed by the CEO, an emphasis placed on employee
recruitment and retention, support for diverse suppliers
to enable them to grow, and inclusive outreach to both
internal and external audiences.
Many of this year’s Top 50 companies identified
employee-resource groups as important to the business.
Just as diversity no longer is considered a soft subject,
“Our diverse work force enables us to deliver the
value that shareholders, customers and communi-
ties expect from us.”Edward M. Liddy, Allstate
gone are the days when employee-resource groups were
considered little more than social-networking groups.
Now, they are recognized business tools, with members
increasing their company’s community standing via
volunteerism, helping recruitment efforts through positive word of mouth and giving input on multicultural-marketing campaigns.
“At a lot of companies, you can get together, but
there’s no real support,” Walker says. “You know what
that says? ‘Yeah, you can get together, but you are not
important to business; it’s a social gathering.’ But it is
important to business [at Turner], so not only can you
meet during business hours but senior vice presidents
in most cases lead, and you have to have a charter
with a business goal.”
Abbott, No. 8 on The 2006 DiversityInc Top 50
Companies for Diversity list, turned to one of its
employee networks, Women Leaders in Action, to