40 Best Companies For Diversity: They Want YOU!

The organizations on our list know that hiring diverse employees and leveraging differences sharpen their competitive edge.

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Regaining its footing after one of the worst economic downturns in our nation’s history, corporate America continues to shift its strategic priorities. Black Enterprise has found that a disturbingly high number of C-suite executives have scratched diversity from their action plans. Recently we highlighted results of a two-year global study, Developing the 21st Century Leader (See “Global Diversity Ranks Last,” Diversity Watch, May 2010). Conducted by the consulting group AchieveGlobal, the study ranked six areas critical to leadership success. Business initiatives to drive profits ranked No. 1. Diversity fell dead last.

With the rise in the African American unemployment rate from 15% to 16.5% over the past year—6.8% from professional and managerial positions—it seems that diversity is no longer the “business imperative” that a multitude of corporations professed over the past two decades. The Great Recession particularly challenged the value of inclusion as corporations restructured operations, slashed budgets, and laid off thousands of workers. “This is the time when companies have to manage diversity,” says Marlon Cousin of The Marquin Group, an executive recruiting firm that places minority talent. “Many are focusing on the bottom line rather than focusing on diversity, but you want to continue to appeal to your loyal customer group. You don’t want to lose them because you’ve decided to cut back and stop investing in them or advertising to them. Diversity should be intertwined with the overall business strategy.”

The corporations on this year’s 40 Best Companies for Diversity list fully embrace that philosophy. Although they have been forced to make organizational changes in the current environment, these companies have maintained their commitment to such practices across the board. The policy of inclusion can be found among recruitment and retention of rank-and-file employees, the expansion of senior management, composition of corporate directors, and development of the supplier pool. In each of the aforementioned areas, however, you’ll discover that some companies performed better than others.

Although the companies on our list have instituted and fine-tuned diversity initiatives, that’s not the case with much of corporate America. A considerable number  of the companies be Research contacted failed to complete surveys or admitted to not having any such policies or programs and, as a result, were not considered for our roster. On the other hand, in reviewing this year’s list, you’ll find that a number

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  • Jane Woodside

    Is there a link to the actual 2010 list in the article that I’m missing?

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  • Vilma Betancourt-O’Day

    Just bought my first Black Enterprise magazine – all I can say is WOW!! This particular article is excellent; I will use it as a reference for my clients as I am always searching for companies with Supplier Diversity programs. In your article, what does it mean when a company has the “strengths” column blank?
    Last week I attended a webinar by “make mine a million” that was conducted by Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar, Senior Director of Packaging & Supplier Diversity for Sam’s Club and Co-Manager of the Sustainability Value Network for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. – they have an excellent Supplier Diversity program for WBEs and MBEs.
    In your article Wal-Mart is listed but the “strengths” column is empty and I am not sure what that means. I can send you the slide presentation used during the webinar if you would like more information about their particular Supplier DIversity program.
    My clients are women and/or minority business owners – I assist them with their business certifications (WBE, MBE, SBE) and also with business development. Your magazine and its articles will serve as a guiding light for me and I thank you for sharing so much knowledge with your readers. God bless y’all!!

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  • Former Xerox Employee

    I reviewed the list for 2010 and saw Xerox on it. Xerox should not be on the list. In 2009 , they layoff a boatload of African Americans. Under strengths senior management is listed. Senior leaders at Xerox are not sharp enough to be dog catchers (sorry to dog catchers for the unfavorable comparison). Xerox is a failure because they are incapable of growing the company. The morale is terrible. I think 90% of the employees would leave if they could find a job with similar pay. The new CEO is awful. Another opportunist in a line of chief exploitation officers. Xerox outsources to India at every opportunity. I’m glad I am no longer there. There are no minority friendly companies in Rochester, NY. Unless you have a unique opportunity for growth, I would avoid Xerox like the plague. They were a good company about 20 years ago.

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