The 40 Best Companies For Diversity

Our second annual listing reveals the top performers in supplier, workforce, management, andboard diversity. A bonus: We identify the leaders in marketing spending to reach black consumers.

operations. Following initial contact, additional rounds of contact were undertaken to ensure that all companies were apprised of the opportunity to participate in this year’s survey.

Moreover, they were far more likely than most corporations to have the mechanisms in place to strategically plan and implement diversity activities and to accumulate and monitor quantitative and qualitative data on the result of those activities. Thus, these companies were able to measure the effectiveness of their programs and participate meaningfully in our corporate diversity survey.

BE’s corporate diversity survey focused primarily on activities related to the participation of African Americans and members of other ethnic minority groups. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the term “ethnic minority” applies to people from the following backgrounds: black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian-Pacific Islander, and Hispanic/Latino. Information provided by companies on diversity efforts on behalf of other groups, such as women, gays/lesbians/transexuals, and the disabled, was used as a secondary, supporting criterion for inclusion on the list.

The first primary survey category, supplier diversity, focuses on the percentage of total procurement spending allocated to African Americans and other ethnic groups. The second primary category, board representation, examines the diversity of board members, while the senior management category evaluates the percentage of minority managers as a percentage of all senior management positions. The fourth primary category, workforce, assesses the percentage of minority employees in an organization as a percentage of all employees.

Upon receipt of all surveys, BE performed a quantitative assessment of all corporate respondents in each survey category. Based on the analysis, each company was provided a score per category, which was compiled into a final survey score. In addition, the editorial staff reviewed all surveys and performed follow-up validation including contacting corporate diversity officers, senior managers, minority suppliers, and third-party experts. The final scores, along with the results of reporting and research conducted by the BE editorial staff, were used to determine the 40 Best Companies for Diversity.

These scores were also used to determine the 10 best companies in each of the four categories. The “sublists” include companies that, while failing to make our 40 Best Companies for Diversity list, are strong in one particular category of diversity.

All companies were surveyed on a secondary category, marketing and outreach. This included advertising, promotions, community outreach, and scholarships. A large number of corporations would not provide full marketing information because of the sensitivity of marketing investments and competitive concerns. Using data from TNS Media Intelligence, as well as information provided by the companies surveyed, BE dete
rmined its “10 Best Companies in Marketing Diversity” list. — THE EDITORS

STRENGTHS indicate diversity areas in which the company ranked among the top 30% of respondents

MOST IMPROVED COMPANY
Denny’s has made significant strides in the past decade. After several discrimination lawsuits in the early ’90s, a 1997 study indicated that nearly 50% of African Americans associated the restaurant chain’s name with racial discrimination. Denny’s executive suite desperately needed to change public perception — and fast.

When Rachelle Hood joined the company as chief diversity officer, in 1995 her

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