"The groups may help with recruitment [accompanying recruiters to talk about what it's like to work at the company], work on their own professional development, do community involvement work, or put on in-house cultural programs." The groups have annual objectives, company-funded budgets, and plans for succession of leadership.
Almost all the employee groups present leadership development programs. "It generates buzz through the entire workforce," Ms. Harrison says. Leadership activities are open to everyone, not only group members. "Just by being on the council, too, people can develop their leadership skills and their platform skills."
Employee groups also contribute to the company's health. "The Hispanic groups have helped the marketing people especially to gain a lot of insight into different groups within the Hispanic population, such as native-born and Latin American–born," Ms. Harrison says.
Philip Morris's management-appointed employee councils work toward specific goals on a timetable. For example, the Worldwide Law Department group in 2001 came up with a departmental diversity action plan by deciding what it would accomplish, developing the steps to accomplish it, and gathering information through focus groups. The idea was to strengthen the law department's operations.
When the company has called on its employees for ideas, they've "risen to the occasion," Ms. Harrison says, adding that a climate of inclusion helps everyone to work better.
"You obviously want talent, but if you want committed employees, you have to commit to them, too," she says. "Employee groups can be a social thing, but they're really about adding value to the business. It's such a win-win situation when you create an environment where talent can flourish."
While the impetus for diversity comes from the marketplace, the execution in a particular corporation "all comes down to a commitment from the top," says Mr. Arias. Survey results support this top-down theory of organizational change. The company with the highest percentage of Hispanics on its board – Wal-Mart Stores, at 13.3 percent (two Hispanics on its board of 15) – also reports the greatest number of Hispanic employees. The retailing giant's payroll includes more than 107,000 Hispanics, making it the largest private employer of Hispanics in the nation.
None of the publicly traded corporations in the survey has a Hispanic CEO yet, but information on each corporation's 50 highest-paid executives again shows a link to diversity. Adolph Coors Co. has six Hispanics among its top 50, PepsiCo has five, and SBC Communications has four. According to survey responses, Hispanics account for 9.1 percent of the Coors workforce, 10.3 percent at PepsiCo, and 13.0 percent at SBC. Also in the top range are Coca-Cola, where Hispanics constitute 7.1 percent of the workforce, and Verizon, with 6.1 percent Hispanic employees (see table, "Hispanics at the Top").
DIVERSITY AND DOLLARS
"The companies that are most successful in their upper-echelon diversity are those that tie incentives to recruiting and promotion," says Mr. Arias. He cites PepsiCo as one company that rewards managers for progress on diversity.
Only 35 percent of companies responding to the survey offer diversity incentives of this type, but more than 90 percent sponsor diversity training for their managers. Ford holds an annual Diversity and Worklife Summit, at which it recognizes 100 employees for their inclusion efforts. Philip Morris leads with a two-day diversity seminar. More than 70 percent of survey participants have Hispanic employee groups, some of which take an advisory role in diversity efforts (see related story, "Spotlight: Philip Morris").
Industrial sectors best represented by survey respondents skew toward consumer-oriented companies, since the survey targets top advertisers in the Hispanic markets. Food, beverage, and telecommunications firms rise to the top of the diversity list on employment (see table, "Leaders in Payroll Diversity"), while in procurement, telecommunications providers, auto makers, and retailers dominate.
|LEADERS IN PAYROLL DIVERSITY|
|Percentage of Hispanics Among:|
|Note: Not all survey respondents answered all categories. NA = Not Available.
Source: Hispanic Business Corporate Diversity Survey, 2002.
|© 2003 Hispanic Business Inc. Reprinting, copying, or transmitting all or part of this information requires written permission.|