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Employees of color rated their CEOs. These are the top 10 for large companies

Employees of color rated their CEOs and ADP makes the list

Everyone wants to work at a place where they feel like they belong. And often, that kind of culture is set at the highest levels of an organization. With that in mind, Comparably polled employees of color to find out the best CEOs to work for. The top 10 from companies with more than 500 employees are:

  1. Satya Nadella, Microsoft
  2. Vlad Shmunis, RingCentral
  3. Sundar Pichai, Google
  4. Eric Yuan, Zoom Video Communications
  5. Carlos Rodriguez, ADP
  6. Steve Bilt, Smile Brands
  7. Sid Sijbrandij, GitLab
  8. Tim Cook, Apple
  9. Mike Walsh, LexisNexis
  10. Chris Caldwell, Concentrix

This is the third year that Comparably gathered anonymous feedback from nonwhite employees from 60,000 American companies of all sizes. Employees were asked how their CEO would rate as well as to measure other culture factors like trust in their employer.

Among the findings:

  • Satya Nadella is the first CEO of color to rank No. 1 among large companies over the past three years.
  • This year’s top three CEOs are all immigrants. Nadella and Pichai were born in India, and Shmunis hails from Ukraine.
  • Nadella is one of five CEOs who made the list for three consecutive years. Others are Accenture’s Julie Sweet, Apple’s Tim Cook, Fanatics’s Doug Mack, and Google’s Sundar Pichai.

“This year the topic of diversity and inclusion has gained even greater significance, and it has never been more important to reflect the positive workplace experiences of underrepresented—and historically discriminated against—people,” the report’s authors wrote. “After all, studies show that leaders who inspire, encourage, and support diverse voices and contributions benefit business growth, creativity, and innovation.”

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Group of people dressed in rainbow colors in front of a Pride sign

“Better to Best” — ADP’s Diversity and Inclusion Road Map

The best organizations embody an inclusive culture that extends beyond the D&I function. Their leaders drive performance and innovation by demonstrating to their employees and to the world that people belong and are integral to the organization’s purpose.

For many organizations the question, “Why is diversity important in the workplace?” is a top-of-mind concern. Companies that struggle to answer this question may find it difficult to accomplish business objectives that focus on recruiting and retaining employees.

A lack of diversity and inclusion (D&I) can have significant negative effects on an organization and its workforce. This can manifest in the form of pay inequity, limited representation in leadership roles, or a perception in the market that the organization is an undesirable place to work.

While some businesses struggle with addressing D&I-related challenges, others are making great strides in this area. To reach the level of best in class for D&I, an organization needs to leverage a variety of methodologies, partnerships and strategic insights to demonstrate why diversity is important in their workplace.

At ADP, we aim high when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Here’s how we turn “better” into “best” when it comes to accomplishing our D&I objectives.

Diversity and Inclusion in Action

To be clear, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating, let alone sustaining, a diverse and inclusive organization. And the challenge only becomes greater the larger a business is. A Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) in charge of D&I efforts should therefore consider the following key points:

Buy-in from senior leadership: Ideally, everyone within an organization would understand, believe in, and value the impact of D&I on the business. This has been the case at ADP, where our CEO, Carlos Rodriguez, signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to demonstrate that D&I is of utmost importance to the organization. It also helps that a C-suite-level role focused on diversity had already existed at ADP for a number of years prior to my own onboarding. Crucial buy-in from ADP leadership has helped our organization become recognized as an industry D&I leader, ranked at number three on DiversityInc’s 2019 Top 50 List.
This isn’t the reality at every organization, however. Getting buy-in from senior leadership starts with providing a vision that they can see, understand and get behind. It may be helpful to illustrate how D&I initiatives could alleviate organizational pain points, such as high turnover for women in leadership roles. Or low engagement/organizational sentiment scores for underrepresented demographic groups. Senior leadership should hold their teams accountable for working to achieve positive HCM metrics that are enabled by D&I goals.

Using data to inform efforts: Data should be used to make decisions that may affect the health of an organization, and issues of D&I are no exception. Some types of data which organizations should focus on in this regard include:
Hiring and promotion statistics for women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ employees and employees with disabilities
Retention rates by demographic to assess disparities between majority and non-majority groups
Engagement level scores and results from culture surveys reviewed by demographic and geography
Employee demographic data, with a focus on reviewing the differential between majority and non-majority populations
Having champions throughout the organization: Even within organizations that have a person or a department focused on diversity and inclusion, there’s no way their work can reach the entire organization without active support from other stakeholders. Champions can help expand the reach of D&I in a variety of ways. At ADP, I engage with about 30 global champions on a monthly basis. Their objectives are to influence others and share best practices, serve as role models and mentors, and help hold others accountable. When champions are also members of a majority group (e.g., white men) and are genuinely invested in workplace equality, it helps amplify the organization’s D&I efforts considerably.
The “Why” of Diversity and Inclusion

Numerous studies have demonstrated that workforces with greater diversity have the potential to be more profitable, innovative and resistant to disruptive market forces than less diverse workforces. For example, according to McKinsey and Company’s Delivering Through Diversity report, “Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.”

Individuals looking to do business with a company are now examining that organization’s higher purpose with greater scrutiny than ever before. Beyond earnings, people will seek answers to their questions about D&I at your organization, and they might make their decision about whether to deal with or join your organization based on your D&I efforts and reputation — as well as your initiatives around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and philanthropy. Every organization must care about the perception of its brand in the marketplace, and it pays to be known as a business that cares deeply about creating and maintaining a culture of inclusion.

Organizations must also understand and evolve with approaches to communication that individuals concerned with D&I expect to see. For example, when an organization leader expresses their gender pronouns (e.g., during introductions at meetings or in company email signatures), it can send a signal that a company cares about the LGBTQ population — not just internally, but also in the community at large.

Going From “Better to Best”

The best organizations embody an inclusive culture that extends beyond the D&I function. Their leaders drive performance and innovation by demonstrating to their employees and to the world that people belong and are integral to the organization’s purpose.

With the support of leadership, data and metrics, and champions around the world, ADP has moved beyond measuring itself against industry practices and standards alone. Our focus now is to embody diversity and inclusion in our culture.

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Samantha Ortiz headshot

Diversity and Inclusion in Tech

As a Latina software engineer without a four-year degree in computer science, I’ve been tuned into the divide between what’s considered a “typical” software engineer and myself.
Samantha Ortiz

I was fortunate enough to find a path into programming via the immersive bootcamp, Hack Reactor, which opened me up to a fulfilling career at Lifion, by ADP. I have experienced firsthand the benefits of having balanced representation, and have also seen opportunities where a diverse team would bring more value. Most tech companies face the challenge of finding new ways to approach true inclusivity despite corporate Business Resource Groups, training, and continued discussion around the subject.
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Lifion, by ADP Software Engineers, Jenny Eckstein and Samantha Ortiz, at WECode 2019
WECode 2019
I had the opportunity to attend the Women Engineers Code (WECode) 2019 Conference at Harvard this February, which brought together hundreds of female engineers with leaders in the tech sector. WECode’s goal is to leave attendees with a broadened awareness of new areas within tech, a greater understanding of social impact, and the confidence to influence the communities we are a part of.
Opening the Door
Throughout the keynotes, panels, and talks, there was a common thread of addressing diversity and inclusion, whether within the workplace, the classroom, or beyond. Dara Treseder, CMO of Carbon and previously CMO of GE Ventures and GE Business Innovations, delivered a keynote that walked us through the path to her success. Along her journey, she was blessed with female mentors that lifted her up. Yet, she made a point that although there may be a woman in the room, it does not mean that she will open the door for other women. Although it is an unfortunate, defensive instinct, it does not always stem from a place of malice… it comes from a place of fear. A place that senses the ingrained disparity between female and male representation in the industry, which drives an innate reaction for women to maintain their position and voice. Dara encouraged us to be aware of this, and inspired us to always open the door for fellow women, as it will not drown out our voice; it will drive forward our success, power, and diversity in the workplace.
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Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash
Finding the Power Within
A particularly enlightening group of panelists shared how they are able to tackle inclusivity and encourage diversity in their everyday roles. Tiana Davis Kara, Executive Director of Built By Girls, addressed the challenge many women face of who to look up to as they maneuver through their career within the tech industry. Her illuminating perspective flipped this idea on its head, insisting that WE are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the individuals the tech industry wants to step in; as women and minorities, we need to become our own role models. Often, women experience a sense of inadequacy. Tiana encouraged us to channel into our own successes, whether that means giving yourself a pat on the back, or even keeping a book of pride outlining your own achievements to look back on when your confidence isn’t quite there.
Handing Back the Mic
Tiana also shared her approach of “handing back the mic” when we feel a marginalized member of our community has been overlooked. For instance, if we witness someone brazenly interrupted, we should make a concerted effort to give their voice back to them. An effective way to practice this can be along the lines of stating, “Sally, you were saying something?” after the interrupter completes their thought. Being aware of these situations and giving a voice back to people that have it stolen or ignored is a key component to addressing commonplace destructive behaviors in our everyday lives. Kwame Henderson, Product Manager at Tumblr, encouraged us to maintain an optimistic, growth mindset if ever addressing microaggressions, which can run rampant through conversations and can be difficult to address. Knowing you can help evolve a person’s mindset with one conversation is an encouraging place to start.
Culture Fit?
As the panel discussed how to encourage broader diversity during the hiring process, it was noted that many companies interview for a “culture fit” from candidates. However, Kwame illustrated that this is potentially preventing us from including a broader array of candidates. Instead, he suggested rather than asking “does this person FIT our culture,” we ask “does this person ADD to our culture.” This simple, yet powerful shift in thinking can revitalize a company’s hiring practices and inspire the inclusion of a diverse set of individuals to join a team.
Mind of a Programmer === Mind of an Activist
WECode wrapped up with a final keynote by Jessica McKellar, founder and CTO of Pilot, a bookkeeping service, and director of the Python Software Foundation. She focused on how the mind of a programmer actually encompasses the mind of an activist. Having a system and knowing you can change it stimulates a unique way of approaching ingrained problems. Jessica saw a huge opportunity for change within the United States prison system, and she chose to make a lasting impact by teaching incarcerated people how to code through a program at the San Quentin State Prison, building the skill set and hire-ability of her students for a smoother reentry into society after completing their sentences. She also works to reduce the stigma of existing criminal records by encouraging companies to consider graduates of her program for employment. Jessica actively practices what she preaches by hiring people after their sentences for numerous roles at Pilot.
Changing the System
WECode’s inspirational lineup highlighted new ways to consider systemic issues and provided effective approaches to tackling those problems. Whether the system we want to change is within the application we are building, or a societal system that has room for improvement, we can each use our powerful, dynamic perspectives to drive forward impactful change.