No. 1: Surveys
How it helps employee engagement: Surveys
give companies an inside look into how their employees
really view such critical factors as work climate, commitment to their success, perception of management
and overall job satisfaction. Based on a company’s willingness to ask tough questions and the willingness to
take action to fill certain voids, surveys can play a vital
role in the engagement process.
Why diversity is a factor: Companies truly
seeking engaged employees will measure the questions
on their surveys by race and gender. By understanding
the different perceptions of employees, companies can
bring solutions into specific areas. Not only does
every company in the Top 50 survey its own employees on diversity, but 34 percent of them make these
EXAMPLE: Companies such as Blue Cross and Blue
Shield of Florida (No. 10 on the Top 50) and IKON
(No. 26) offer surveys addressing diversity issues on a
No. 2: Employee-
How it helps employee engagement: Probably
one of the most telling aspects of a company’s involvement with its employees is the strength of its employee-resource groups, which are used in almost all Top 50
companies for recruitment, retention and marketing.
These groups create bidirectional communication—they
give employees a voice at the table and make them feel
part of the strategic business process.
Why diversity is a factor: Employee-resource
groups specifically focus on people identified by
race/ethnicity, gender, orientation, ability, age or other
distinctive characteristics. They value the differences of
these individuals in a company-recognized forum.
EXAMPLE: Ford Motor Co., No. 37 on the Top 50,
had a goal of selling more cars to people of color and
women. Using relationships that employee-resource-pgroup members had with their communities, the company has sold $260 million in vehicle sales since 2003
through its Friends and Neighbors Program.
No. 3: Mentoring
How it helps employee engagement:
Mentoring programs communicate to the employee that
the company is pushing for his or her ultimate success
and giving him or her tools to make that happen.
Why diversity is a factor: Mentoring allows people of different backgrounds to learn from each other.
EXAMPLE: Those Top 50 companies with the best
scores on mentoring questions average 54 percent of
managers participating in mentoring programs, compared with 15 percent for the companies with the worst
mentoring scores. The top mentoring companies have
unbiased (equal) retention across race and gender. The
companies with the worst mentoring scores average a 5
percent difference in retention between whites and people of color and between men and women.
No. 4: Senior
How it helps employee engagement: Although
pay is important, national consultants Hay Group found
that more people leave because of poor management and
an uncomfortable work climate. “Up to 70 percent of
the climate that the managers create is a function of
their management style,” says Mel Stark, vice president
at Hay Group. “And that climate can account for up to
30 percent in variance in performance.” When senior
managers are involved with the work force—and set
standards for lower-level managers about appropriate
behavior—employee engagement increases.
Why diversity is a factor: “To get true employee
engagement, you must first have executive engagement,”
says Edwards. “It’s a classic case of ‘talking the talk’ and
‘walking the walk’; employees won’t get on board … if
they don’t feel their leaders are.” That is why having
senior executives be members of employee-resource
groups or be part of diversity events speaks volumes to
how committed they are to the company’s employees.
EXAMPLE: More than 85 percent of Top 50 companies report that senior executives are members of
employee-resource groups. At American Express, No. 30
on the Top 50, a senior executive is a member of each
of the ERGs. DI