Diversity Inc. Rankings Highlight D&I Power Players


Diversity Inc. released its latest Top 50 Companies for Diversity ranking last week, with organizations in hospitality, professional services and pharma rounding out the top 5.

Marriott took top spot, with the hotel chain consistently being one of the highest ranked hospitality companies in recent years and the only one to ever claim the top spot.

“Being named #1 for diversity at this moment in history feels especially meaningful,” Dr. David Rodriguez, Marriott International Global Chief Human Resources Officer, said in a company statement. “It takes generations of inclusive leadership, deep commitment and conviction to create a culture of belonging where all associates are treated with dignity and respect. This culture has always been the foundation for our business of hospitality. Even during these incredibly challenging times, our associates have intensified their inspirational efforts to take care of their communities, guests and each other.”

The list is compiled annually using survey data that companies volunteer. It’s an effort to look at where organizations are in terms of “programs, practices, policies and outcomes to hire, retain, develop, and promote women, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ and veteran employees,” according to the Diversity Inc. website.

Containing more than 200 questions, the survey is designed to provide data involving categorical, numerical and dichotomous responses that reveal truths about diversity and inclusion programs and outcomes as well as tracking the organization’s diversity spending, philanthropic efforts and the diversity efforts of its suppliers.

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To participate, companies simply need to have more than 1,000 employees and be willing to be transparent in their answers. There is no cost to participation, meaning there is no pay to play factor involved. Companies that complete the survey receive a report card with an assessment of performance in six areas:

  1. Human Capital Diversity Metrics
  2. Leadership Accountability
  3. Talent Programs
  4. Workplace Practices
  5. Supplier Diversity
  6. Philanthropy

While the data is largely a grade of some of the world’s biggest employers when it comes to D&I, it can also be seen as a larger cultural assessment of how diversity is being handled across the broader workforce.

Consistently Ranked

There are some names that consistently grace the top 5-10 spots of these rankings. Names like Hilton, ADP, Comcast NBC Universal and Mastercard are regularly recognized as leaders in diversity and inclusion.

Mastercard, for example, ranks No. 6 on this year’s list, achieving a top 10 ranking for the seventh consecutive year. According to Randall Tucker, Mastercard’s Chief Inclusion Officer, the key to that consistency has been the way the company has been able to build the idea of a “culture of decency” and getting buy-in from the top.

“To put it simply, our key to consistency is having everyone – including our Board and Management Committee – care about the work,” Tucker said. “We have a clear Global Inclusion strategy with company-wide areas of focus and have made ‘decency’ one of our core values. It’s important we bring the entire organization along on the inclusion journey and let employees at all levels get involved.”

Mastercard’s Global Inclusion & Diversity Council is chaired by the CEO, Ajay Banga, and is comprised of leaders from across the organization that support the culture of decency. They meet quarterly to understand how they can support the advancement of diversity initiatives, monitor where the company should strategically place its efforts, and come up with innovative solutions to advance inclusion and diversity.

A big part of that is their use of Business Resource Groups (BRGs). More than half of Mastercard’s employees are part of a Business Resource Group (BRG) – self-governed groups that are comprised of individuals who come together based on similar interests or experiences.

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“Members of our BRGs invest their time and resources into cultivating an inclusive culture that, not only drives business results, but also helps every employee feel a sense of belonging at Mastercard,” Tucker said.

The ranking isn’t necessarily the end all be all measurement of success for companies the size of Mastercard or Marriott, but it is a useful barometer of how their diversity and inclusion efforts stack up against other companies and provides validation for both employees and leadership.

“Rankings like DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity is a great reinforcement of our work and let us know that we’re on the right track,” Tucker said. “But more than that it’s a reminder for our employees that they are valued, respected and encouraged to reach their greatest potential at Mastercard.”

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