The second Hispanic Business Top Companies survey reveals the growing strength of minority groups – Hispanics, specifically – in influencing American corporate culture. Beyond workforce diversity initiatives such as minority recruitment and retention efforts, our top companies are implementing new programs to reach Hispanic consumers and include minority-owned businesses among their suppliers.
Through analysis of company-supplied information, what's becoming clear is that organization-wide diversity is a smart business choice – businesses are incorporating it as a strategy, growing as they adapt practices to changing population segments.
"Diversity is much less about numbers of people or statistics and more about wanting to reflect community," says Alice Cobb, chief administrative officer of PNM Resources. "We get a richer set of business results to the extent that we have a richer set of voices around the table."
This year's list is a little different from last year's debut. For 2006, Hispanic Business expanded the list to include 10 additional companies due to the competitive excellence of this year's entries. Out of the top companies, 30 are making return appearances, albeit with some juggling in the rankings. For example, last year's No. 1, McDonald's Corp., has been supplanted by 2005's bridesmaid, Bank of America.
On average, there were some significant gains in Hispanic outreach and hiring for 2006. This year, 94.0 percent of our respondents reported designating an executive in charge of supplier diversity – up from 2005's 84.0 percent. Listed companies with a procurement goal for minority suppliers rose from 77.5 percent last year to 88.0 percent.
Personnel, whether in the boardroom or the lunchroom, also saw gains. Compared to last year, the percent of Hispanic members on boards of directors jumped from 5.4 percent to 6.9 percent. In addition, the percent of Hispanic new hires rose from 13.8 percent in 2005 to 14.1 percent.
What can be said about our top companies is that they are setting the standard for how to do smart business. Like the early adopters of Web marketing and outreach in the late '90s, these companies are investing in new avenues to attract consumers.
PNM Resources is a first-timer on the list of best companies, making its debut at No. 6. An energy holding company based in New Mexico and expanding into Texas via a 2005 acquisition, PNM stands out specifically for its minority hiring – 43 percent of new employees in 2005 were minorities – and for two Hispanic executives on its board.
Ms.Cobb says that PNM has "diversity profiles at all levels of the company" not only because of New Mexico's rich tapestry of ethnicity, but also because the company of 3,300 employees actively recruits Hispanics through company- and college-sponsored intern programs. "Not all companies in the area have the same profile that we do," she says. "The difference for us is that we would like to reflect the voices of our customers."
PNM is one of four energy companies to make the list; three of them are in the top 10. In conjunction with a big showing by financial companies,a quick examination of the breakdown shows that companies providing services stand out in diversity/business integration. Population and economic indicators support this theory.
According to U.S Census projections tracked by HispanTelligence, the Hispanic population will reach 47.8 million by 2010 – up 20 percent in just seven years – and will account for 15.5 percent of the total U.S. population. As a consequence, Hispanics will represent a larger share of every consumer segment in the U.S. economy, an attractive incentive for businesses.
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