CEOs and Talent
DiversityInc Top 50 data shows
that when CEOs take a hands-on approach to diversity, there’s
more diversity in management.
As we stated at the beginning of this article, the most vital part of talent development is relationships, and none is more important than the relationship of
the CEO with the staff. The CEO sets the tone for an inclusive and open culture.
Regardless of whether he or she is an extrovert or an introvert, a willingness to
listen and value differences—and uphold moral values—will permeate an organization.
At companies that are seeing a noticeable improvement in the diversity of
people promoted, we note data correlations showing stronger CEO commitment
and stronger connection with the CEO and employees.
5 Years Ago
CDO BEST PRACTICES
BETH BROOKE Jim Turley (Ernst
& Young’s chairman and CEO)
is a good listener. He’s an inclu-
sive leader, so he invites dissent.
If three-quarters of the room is
speaking and a quarter of the room
isn’t speaking, he will notice and
invite the quarter that’s not speak-
ing because chances are they’ve
got something negative to say. He
invites that, listens to it and acts on
it. The evidence is in behavior. It’s
not just talking about diversity and
inclusion. For example, when Jim
and I are sitting on a stage togeth-
er in front of thousands of people,
he will make a point to bring up our
politics. We are of different politi-
cal parties, and we joke and banter
with each other about it a lot.
DEBORAH DAGIT Actions do speak
louder than words. Our CEO grew
up in our company. He was our
general counsel and he not only
had a diversity council within his
department but he did a lot of pro
bono work and encouraged all the
other attorneys to do the same in
the community. He insisted that
any law firm that did business with
Merck had to mirror our values in
terms of diversity in our workforce
and who was representing Merck.
He then went on to be the global head of sales and marketing, and
Average DiversityInc Top 50
again, you really saw him leaning to
the diversity of our customers from
a healthcare standpoint.
He was also the executive sponsor for our LGBT group, and he
played a critical role in getting
domestic-partner benefits in place.
I’ll never forget when we took to
the executive committee what we
thought was a really bold proposal to have same-sex domestic-partner benefits in every country where
we do business where it’s legally
He said: “Heck with legally permissible, it will be in every country.” Remember, he’s a lawyer.
Often we find that some
of the senior leadership
that goes to these events
usually cuddles up
together. So we have to
intervene and break it up.