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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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Women in STEM

Girls Can Do Anything

https://www.adp.com/spark/articles/2019/08/adp-women-in-stem-profile-kanyatta-walker.aspx

 

This inspirational woman in STEM lives by a four-word personal mantra: girls can do anything.

Kanyatta Walker’s unapologetically fearless outlook began when she was only three years old. A boy cast as Santa in her preschool Christmas play did not enjoy being on stage and kept missing lines. Kanyatta offered to step in, but the teachers said she couldn’t because Santa was a boy. When it turned out none of the boys knew the lines and Kanyatta did, the first female Santa debuted in the play. The crowd loved it.

In high school, Kanyatta was interested in occupational therapy and planned to major in it in college. Then she did some aptitude tests with a good friend who wanted to join the marines. The recruiter told her she was excellent at math and could pretty much do anything she wanted – except be an engineer.

Kanyatta graduated from college with a degree in software engineering technology and has never looked back.

“I always loved math,” Kanyatta said. “My aunt was a math teacher and the way she explained it just made sense to me. I love that there is always a precise answer. But there is also always more than one way to get to that answer and lots of trouble shooting.”

Management math

She was recruited by Accenture, a multinational consulting firm, where she worked in a variety of roles from sales to program manager and development manager. By 25, she was leading a team with a significant budget. “I learned by trial and error. There was so much I did not know and I made a lot of mistakes. But I also knew that teams are a mirror of their leaders. I worked at a grocery store when I was 16. When it got busy, the managers would leave their office and come help wherever needed. After the store was bought by a chain, the new managers didn’t come out of their office to help. I learned how important it is for leaders to understand what people need and show up for their team.”

As her career progressed, Kanyatta realized that there are multiple roles for leaders too. “It’s like a baseball team,” she said. “There are coaches and general managers. Coaches assemble the teams and knows who to play to bring out their best. The general manager deals with the overall strategy and choosing the right coaching staff to create the win.

“To be an effective leader, you don’t personally have to play every position. When I see something I want to do, I work to understand the underlying skills. I see how to unravel things and figure out what I know, what I need to know, and how to learn the skills I need. With core skills and ability, you can do anything.”

The desire to understand executive strategy led Kanyatta to an MBA program at Emory University while she was still working full time leading product managers, business analysts and program managers for a large telecom company. She discovered the perfect combination of math and business in her finance courses. “I can look at a company’s finances and tell you what their strategy is,” she said.

Coming to ADP

After finishing her MBA, a friend helped recruit Kanyatta to ADP in Atlanta. She was excited at the opportunity to combine her business skills with her software engineering experience. She started out as Vice President of Operations working in National Accounts on outsourcing operations. Today, Kanyatta is Vice President of Global Product and Technology – Client Product Support, where she leads teams providing product and technical support for ADP’s business units and clients.

“I love the ability to transform here. As the company is transforming, so are the opportunities for people within the company and our clients to grow. I love helping people connect the dots and see where we are going from process to technology to culture, Kanyatta said.

“I also appreciate seeing women executives at ADP and how women help each other here. I met ADP business unit presidents Debbie Dyson and Maria Black within my first six months, and they always find time and make themselves available to help others.”

Helping others succeed

Kanyatta is also committed to helping others grow and achieve their dreams. She is involved in Women in Technology International and Emory’s Executive Women of Goizueta —while also mentoring and coaching rising leaders in her role at ADP. She loves helping women figure out what they want and how to get there.

“Connecting with others can be scary, but it’s important so you can understand the playing field,” Kanyatta said. “You have to lift your head up to see and for people to see you. There’s no way for people to know how amazing you are if your head is down all the time.

“There are not many women of color in tech, so I always try to say yes when people ask me to speak. It’s important to build bridges and for younger women to see people who look like them doing the things they want to do.”

Kanyatta is quick to say that she does not do it all alone. Her husband is very supportive and encourages her to connect with others and volunteer. Together, they manage a busy family schedule with their 12 year old daughter who is playing softball on a traveling team. “I love being a softball mom and spending time with my family,” she said.

Walker family at softball field

Kanyatta, Kya and Kevin Walker enjoying time as a softball family.

Kanyatta’s advice to others

  • Be careful how you treat people because you never know who you may need or who may need you. God works through other people.
  • Be a dream giver, not a dream killer. Build authentic relationships with people. Give your perspective, but show them what it takes and how to progress instead of telling someone they can’t or shouldn’t.
  • Follow your heart and trust that it knows. Stay optimistic, be persistent and keep going. Give up the spirit of fear for the power of love.

Kanyatta Walker

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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.