Diversity --> Names on the 2005 Top 40 Companies for Hispanics list come from all sectors of the U.S. economy, but their corporate cultures share one trait – an awareness of diversity throughout the organization. Unlike other "Best Company" lists, which focus on hiring or leadership, the Hispanic Business directory looks at how companies reach out to Hispanics in recruitment, promotion, procurement, philanthropy, and marketing (see table, "Best Companies by the Numbers").
"We have a three-legged stool philosophy," says J.C. González-Méndez, vice-president of supply chain management at McDonald's USA, which ranks first on the directory. "We depend on our franchisees, which are the face of McDonald's in our community, on our staff members, as well as on our suppliers. We have to keep that three-legged stool in a very good balance to make sure that the consumers get what they deserve."
Whether they call it the "three-legged stool philosophy" or not, companies that have made it onto the Top 40 have learned that just succeeding in one area of diversity won't be enough to help them gain and keep an edge over the competition.
Many corporations call diversity a long-term business strategy. "We not only want to mirror our customer base in our workforce, [but] we want to reach out to those markets, we want to give back to the community, and we want to look at diverse suppliers that will participate in our supply chain," says Maria Cruz, executive director of supplier diversity at Verizon, number 5 on the list. "We have a very strong commitment from the top."
All the companies on the Top 40 seek the same goal, but their methods vary by industry. For example, Verizon works on education initiatives to train students in technology. Wells Fargo, number 7 on the list, works to educate Hispanics on the career opportunities available in the banking and financial services industry.
"With our Hispanic scholarship fund, we donate money to and we have actual scholars that are considered Wells Fargo scholars," says Lane Ceric, corporate recruiting manager at the bank. "Not only are we helping with their tuition costs, but we reach out to them to educate them about financial services so that they will learn for themselves how to better manage their money."
A utility like PG&E, the number 13 company, prepares prospective job candidates by working with community organizations. The company has set up career centers that offer 12-week classes to prepare applicants for PG&E. "We work with a lot of community-based organizations to help provide job applicants with a better understanding of PG&E's jobs and hiring processes," says Russell M. Jackson, senior vice-president of human resources. "We have quite a variety of jobs, so it's good to get a better understanding of them. We also try to guide [applicants] through from a testing standpoint because all of our jobs, except when you get to the managerial rank, actually require tests."
SBC Communications, the telephone utility that ranks number 3 on the Top 40, points out that last year, 51 percent of its new hires were people of color. But a diverse workforce involves more than entry-level recruiting, so the company must work just as hard to retain those employees. SBC provides a leadership development program in which college graduates new to the company can rotate over a two-and-a-half-year period between two or three assignments in the company. PG&E pairs up new college graduate employees with experienced employees in mentoring partnerships. The company also puts together new employees to form a corporate "buddy system" so they can navigate their new environment together.
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