[September 2015] 40 Best Companies For Diversity
BE Lists Entrepreneurship Magazine

[September 2015] 40 Best Companies For Diversity

To make this year’s roster, survey respondents were evaluated based on weighted criteria of diversity best practices in the following order: representation of African Americans in senior management (all companies must have African Americans on their executive leadership teams) and on their board of directors–the highest levels of corporate power and greatest influencers total spend with African American suppliers; and percentage of African Americans within the employee base (see detailed criteria).

There’s still much work to do in terms of major corporations fully embracing diversity; hundreds of companies were either unresponsive or declined to participate in our survey process. Moreover, while some companies scored high marks in senior management and corporate governance, most were found unsatisfactory when it came to procurement dollars spent with firms owned by African Americans and ethnic minorities–demonstrating a critical need to diversify this area.

Ultimately, diversity and inclusion is driven from the C-suite and cultivated throughout the company. Recently, ELC interviewed 18 C-suite executives of Fortune 500 companies, across a wide range of industries, and found that those interviewed focused on terms such as “culturally sensitive” and “empathetic” to describe today’s successful global leader. Those interviewed define a leader who will solicit others’ views and virtually demand input. Kenneth J. Barrett, chief diversity officer for General Motors, one of the companies on this year’s list, confirms the automaker’s top-down commitment to an inclusive workforce and supplier pool that serve and reflect its diverse customer base. “At GM, we focus on talent and markets. We want to represent the customers we hope to sell to, not just in the U.S. but globally. Our CEO, Mary Barra, is a champion of diversity, and General Motors has been a leader in diversity. We were the first automotive company to have a supplier diversity program; the first to have a minority dealer program; the first to have an African American on the board of directors. We take it very seriously.”


Black Enterprise’s editorial research team, along with the Executive Leadership Council, sent surveys to the nation’s top 1,000 publicly traded companies to get an in-depth look at the ethnic and gender composition of these corporations, as well as understand various programs designed to foster and maintain an inclusive working environment. The annual survey is centered around efforts focused on African Americans, but also includes other ethnic minority groups as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Any information provided by companies on diversity efforts targeted toward women, LGBT, the disabled, and veterans was used as secondary, supporting data for inclusion on the list.

(Continued on next page)