About 27 percent of employees at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District are
Black, Latino or Asian. After an extensive in-house diversity and inclusion survey, the
district has established goals to build cultural competency. They’ve expanded their
nondiscrimination statement to include LGBT people, hosted a series of diversity
dialogue sessions, launched resource groups and implemented mandatory diversity
training. So far, more than 70 percent of employees have been trained.
Diversity From the Top Down
Companies also are keeping an eye on the makeup of their senior leadership. The Commission on Economic Inclusion teamed up with Business Volunteers
Unlimited to create a Board Minority Pipeline Initiative focused on increasing the
number of Black, Latino and American Indian professionals on corporate boards.
KeyCorp also has committed to diversity in the C-suite. In 2010, 15 percent of the
company’s upper management was Black, Latino or Asian, nearly double the rate of
its peer groups. “We actively recruit new employees from historically Black colleges
and universities, as well as from schools with highly diverse student populations,”
says Johnni Beckel, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at
Key. “We also network in our communities to identify diverse new talent.”
Mercy Health Partners has more than doubled the percentage of Blacks, Latinos
and Asians on its senior leadership team (from 4. 2 percent to 9. 3 percent) in
the last year. In an effort to promote diversity in senior leadership, Mercy’s goal
is to have a candidate from a traditionally underrepresented group in at least 60
percent of its executive searches. This year marked the launch of the Mercy Minority
Mentoring Program, which offers access to training and networking opportunities for
employees to move ahead in the company. “We firmly believe that we need to grow
our own people in order to continue to retain them,” says Chatman.
When companies support diversity financially and through their hiring practices
and corporate culture, the results reverberate throughout the regional economy.