Can remote work really improve workplace diversity?

Many parents choose to live in areas that have the best schools. They research test scores and determine what district and neighborhood they think their children will receive the best education.

I chose to live where the schools had the most slices in the pie chart for diversity. I understand the value of thought diversity and being exposed to differences at a young age. And I’ve seen the positive impact from this choice as my children navigated college and entered the working world. They were able to have a broader perspective, are more open to diverse ideas and add more value to conversations.

Diversity matters. A recent McKinsey & Company report reinforced the link between diversity and company financial performance stating, “Gender and ethnic diversity are clearly correlated with profitability but women and minorities remain underrepresented.”

As a Black woman leading a company that has operated fully remote for more than 12 years, I’ve seen many of the benefits remote work has on diversity and recognize the opportunity remote work provides to improve workplace practices.

When looking at diversity practices, location is often left out of the equation, yet it can be a huge factor in reaching diverse talent and building a diverse workforce. As adults, many of us choose where we live based on the job we get. We don’t get the luxury of comparing diverse pie charts or choosing locations that add value to our lives. Many of the most desirable companies are in expensive, unaffordable markets and within areas with minimal diversity.

The top 10 most expensive cities in the U.S.—listed recently by Investopedia—are also the hubs for many coveted career industries such as tech, marketing, and finance.

Even if these companies have robust diversity practices, life outside of work can be difficult for people of color. As companies recognize the value of diversity, they also need to understand the impact of location bias, the challenges of attracting diverse talent, and where remote work fits in to help the process.

Here are a few key areas to consider to improve diversity as companies build out a more remote workforce.

FOCUS ON RECRUITING

Without the restriction of location, companies can recruit talent from nearly anywhere. This eliminates location bias, expands the talent pool to reach diverse candidates previously not accessible, and creates opportunities for more inclusive hiring practices.

Begin with a focus on creating more inclusive job descriptions and postings. Language matters and there are nuances to be aware of both culturally and geographically. Ensure the use of diverse hiring teams and interviewers and focus on performance outcomes.

INCLUDE COMPENSATION MODELING

Remote work allows for employees to choose where they live based on cost of living preferences and environments that add the most value to their lives, holistically.

Companies can offer more competitive pay without the additional overhead. As the hiring manager, your compensation strategy should include calibration tools that remove bias and ensure equal and fair pay.

For example, at our company, we calibrate our compensations quarterly to ensure they are aligned with market rate and check for pay disparities to avoid unintentional discrimination. Our executive team also reviews talent and compensation cross-functionally to account of unintentional bias.

ADJUST TO CULTURE ADD VS. CULTURE FIT

Many companies are evolving to focus on a culture add versus a culture fit. Instead of seeking people who “fit right in” with everyone else, look at what perspective gaps are missing and who adds this much-needed value to the team. When companies are restricted to a location, trying to get people to relocate or find the best culture adds can be difficult.

It is to your benefit to take advantage of remote work and its ability to tremendously open up the talent pool.

CULTIVATE BELONGING

It’s important to understand how belonging fits in. It’s not just about the “numbers” and increasing the ratio of diversity but ensuring employees have a true sense of belonging and that their diverse perspective is welcome. Many companies worry about culture in general in a remote environment. There are many tools that can help to foster engagement and close-knit environments with a distributed workforce.

It’s not just the tech tools, those are basics for remote work. It’s important to provide tools and resources that foster communication, understanding, and connection.

For instance, we use behavioral assessments, both on a group and individual level, from Predictive Index, to help our employees better understand themselves and each other to foster better communication and more collaborative environments. We have employee resource groups for BIPOCs and allies, as well as, for family matters, finance, and other areas our employees may need support in.

At our company, we have weekly “life hack” and “family fun” calls where we get to learn about each other, get our families involved, and connect on the things we like to do outside work. Ensuring diversity, inclusion, and belonging are anchors as you set up remote business practices are key to a positive, productive workforce.

This year, many companies were forced to fully rely on remote work capabilities, and as a result, a good number of these companies are expanding their models to permanently offer remote work options.

Remote work creates the opportunity to build strong thought diversity across levels, functions, and teams. Candidates bring diverse perspectives from being in different locations, as well as coming from diverse backgrounds. These perspectives are important across not only working teams or management but in key roles that impact company practices such as human resources, finance, and tech. Building these types of teams and integrating diversity across key roles are factors in the positive impact on company performance.

With the addition of diversity to cost-saving and productivity benefits, your company will improve its overall performance.


Corean Canty is the COO of digital agency Goodway Group. She has worked in media and advertising for over 20 years with experience in radio, digital, and e-commerce working with top brands such as Walmart, Target, and Home Depot.

NBA hires ‘chief people and inclusion officer’ to oversee diversity issues

The NBA on Thursday announced the hiring of Oris Stuart as the league’s “chief people and inclusion officer,” a newly created administrative.

Stuart will be responsible for leading the 30-team league’s combined Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion groups, an NBA statement said. He will also “oversee diversity and inclusion strategies for the NBA” while helping to “attract, retain, develop and engage diverse talent.”

“Oris’ appointment as Chief People and Inclusion Officer is a testament to his impact on our leagues and teams over the past five years,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “His commitment to developing our employees and driving inclusion at every level of our organization make him uniquely suited for this new role.”

TO NBA COACHES, RACIAL EQUALITY IS A PRIORITY OF THE RESTART

Stuart will start the role Aug. 15 and report to NBA president of administration Bob Criqui.

Before joining the NBA in June 2015, Stuart was a senior partner with Korn Ferry — an executive search and talent management firm — where he led its Inclusion and Diversity practice for two years. He’s is one of the 31 African-American league office employees who hold a position of vice president or higher. He previously served as the NBA’s chief diversity and inclusion officer.

The NBA recently released its 2020 Racial and Gender Report Card, which saw the league receive an A-plus for racial hiring overall. The NBA was given an F grade when it came to racial hiring and hiring women for team presidents and CEOs.

The report stated that 83.1 percent of the NBA’s players were people of color as of Nov. 1, 2019. The league consists of 74.2 percent Black players, 16.9 percent white players, 2.2 percent Latino or Hispanic players, and .4 percent Asian players. Those classifying themselves as “other” races made up 6.3 percent of all players.

NBA ENDED RELATIONSHIP WITH CHINESE BASKETBALL CAMP MORE THAN A YEAR AGO

Out of 30 teams in the NBA, there are three Black CEOs or presidents, according to the report. People of color represent 30 percent of all NBA head coaches

“With a focus on people, culture, inclusion and innovation, Stuart will establish policies and expand programs to increase the representation of people of color and women in leadership roles and positions across the league,” the league said.

A basketball court is shown at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Florida on Tuesday, July 21, 2020.  (Associated Press)

A basketball court is shown at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Florida on Tuesday, July 21, 2020.  (Associated Press)

In June, the NBA and the players union agreed that shedding light on social justice issues would be a shared goal of the 22-team season restart in Orlando, Fla.

“The league and the players are uniquely positioned to have a direct impact on combating systemic racism in our country, and we are committed to collective action to build a more equal and just society,” Silver said.  “A shared goal of our season restart will be to use our platform in Orlando to bring attention to these important issues of social justice.

Don’t Forget Disability: 3 Ways to Increase Accessibility in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Work

Imagine trying to get to a COVID-19 testing site when you have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair, or wanting to stay on top of news about Black Lives Matter protests in your community when you’re Deaf or blind. For the over 61 million Americans living with disabilities, access to physical locations, and digital information, as well as effective technology is critical. As a busy entrepreneur with a disability, Daman Wandke can relate; he relies on tech to stay on top of his consulting, connect with his team and customers, and keep a pulse on what’s going on in the world.

“Living with a disability, I understand the day-to-day challenges people like me overcome, especially in the workplace and when interacting online with organizations as a consumer,” said Wandke, disability studies instructor at Western Washington University and founder of Wandke Consulting.

According to Wandke, disability rights are civil rights and need to be a part of every organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) plan. ”Now is the time for leaders to embed accessibility into DEI initiatives,” said Wandke. With July 26, 2020, marking the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Wandke says its important this work be done correctly, not only to meet the law but to utilize as a foundation to build off of, not up to.

Here are Wandke’s three tips to help organizations increase accessibility: 

  1. Conduct annual audits of all external-facing technology and communication. This includes websites, email newsletters, and social media platforms.
  2. Hold regular disability inclusion training so everyone knows the history and relevance of the disability rights movement and how the laws apply to their organization.
  3. Consult with experts living with disabilities to guide the process. “Leaders need to apply an authentic accessibility lens to everything they do to ensure they are accurately reducing all accessibility barriers,” said Wandke.

About Wandke Consulting: Led by people with disabilities, this firm is on a mission to help create a more accessible and inclusive world by empowering leaders to increase accessibility. They provide services including web accessibility consulting, disability inclusion training, DEI curriculum development, and inclusive marketing practices. 

For more information, visit: wandke.com.

4 Ways To Create A More Diverse Workplace That Inspires Innovation

Diversity in the workplace is more than meeting a quota and ticking the box. It’s no longer something companies aspire to achieve but rather the norm. Margaret King, Ph.D., director of The Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, defines diversity as “the state of having as many choices as possible in the way the work team thinks about getting things done and solving problems.”

According to the Harvard Business Review, more diverse companies experience increased innovation which results in 19% higher revenue and 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. Companies who are intentional about hiring, retaining and developing diverse talent are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. This is because diversity brings together different cultures, races, genders, generations and backgrounds to provide new perspectives, ideas and solutions.

However, while many companies are focused on diversity they neglect the importance of inclusion. Diversity and inclusion go hand-in-hand. Companies can hire diverse talent and celebrate ticking the box, but if the people they hire don’t feel included or supported they’ll quickly become disengaged and are more likely to leave.

Up until now, companies have shied away from prioritizing diversity and inclusion. Many didn’t want to expend the energy and resources to fix something they didn’t feel was problematic. The turning point wasn’t until Black Lives Matter protests and the #MeToo Movement gained momentum. Employees and consumers began publicly calling out companies for their discriminatory practices and false promises. This led to consumers and workers boycotting those brands altogether.Most Popular In: Careers

Here are four ways companies can create more diverse workplaces that inspire innovation.

Revamp The Recruitment Process

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Nothing is more daunting than joining a company where the leadership and management team is made up of people from the same culture. For this reason, diverse employees don’t have anyone to look up to that they can relate. As a result, they feel left out and uninspired to contribute ideas and solutions.

Companies admit one of their greatest challenges is recruiting diverse candidates. Unfortunately, interviews are riddled with unconscious bias, subjectivity, inconsistency and a lack of proper interview training. Furthermore, companies are unknowingly repelling quality diverse talent through the language and images they use in their company communications, job descriptions, website and social media content.

Tatyana Tyagun, HR generalist at Chanty, said “tools like Toggl Hire and Vervoe let you test candidates’ skills first without seeing their name, age, nationality or any identifying information about them.” Predictive Index is another valuable tool that allows companies to identify where diversity gaps exist so hiring managers can fill those gaps with the best talent.

Here are some diverse hiring strategies companies can use to revamp their recruitment process:

  • Partner with multicultural professional organizations
  • Ask employees to be more cognizant of the people they refer to be women and/or from underrepresented communities
  • Seek referrals from diverse employees
  • Target and source diverse candidates through LinkedIn
  • Advertise specifically to minority groups
  • Blindly review resumes
  • Write job descriptions with more inclusive language
  • Host discussions or events geared towards diverse candidates (E.g., Microsoft hosts “Ability Hiring Events” giving candidates with disabilities the opportunity to interview with the tech company; PepsiCo partners with Allies in Service to ensure veterans have a fair chance at obtaining a position)

Understand Limitations And Embrace New Perspectives

As a workplace culture consultant, the biggest mistake many companies make is excluding their employees from the decision making process, especially diverse ones, and making decisions on their behalf. While C-suite’s responsibility is to make major decisions for the business, companies who involve employees in the decision making process reap a wealth of benefits. When employees feel included, they’re empowered and inspired to make a difference because they feel a personal stake in the outcome.

Allie Fleder, chief operating officer at SimplyWise, recommended to “actively seek minority voices for company decisions. It’s not enough to have a seat at the table.” Leaders need to ensure those voices are heard. By doing so, they’re able to learn first hand the challenges and hardships diverse employees face and gain new perspectives on potential solutions.

Brandon Chopp, digital manager at iheartraves and INTO THE AM, sets time aside “so that members of leadership are able to meet with our diverse team members one-on-one in order to listen to how they feel and get feedback on how we can make improvements to our company culture. We are also looking to diversify the models and influencers that we work with in an effort to represent all backgrounds.”

Create Pathways For Success With Retention Tools

Recruiting diverse talent is only half of the equation. Companies are often challenged with how to advance them within the organization. Jennifer Walden, director of operations at WikiLawn Lawn Care, asserted “if the entirety of your C-suite and mid-level management consists of white men, you’re sending a message to diverse employees that there’s no real future for them at your company.”

To create equality and equity within the workplace, leaders need to be proactive in how they plan to keep them for the long haul. This requires an action plan with accountable steps on how individuals can get a promotion.

Kimberly Porter, financial expert and CEO of Microcredit Summit, said “advancing diverse talent in the workplace starts with creating an inclusive company culture that will make all employees feel welcome and supported. This will not only make current employees more likely to refer others to work at the company, it will help limit turn over.”

Recognize And Celebrate Differences

Humanizing the workplace should be something in which every employer strives. Employees are more than the specific skills and knowledge they bring. That’s just a piece of who they are. When companies take the time to recognize and celebrate what makes each individual unique, they’re showing employees they care about them as a whole person. It’s rare, especially with the new generation of workers, that employees are working just for a paycheck. They want their employers to care about them more than the work they do.

A Randstad study revealed “56% of female workers and 52% of male workers believe their employers could do more to promote gender equality and diversity.” Managers and leadership can do this by recognizing religious practices and cultural habits, being more aware and keeping track of upcoming holidays, asking employees how they plan to celebrate the holiday as well as being respectful of those days when scheduling meetings. By embracing and celebrating differences, companies inspire more innovative workplaces.

After years of talk, tech companies appear to be getting serious about diversity efforts

Tech companies large and small offer targets for hiring black workers and devote large sums to the effort, but black tech workers say ‘We’ve heard it before’

Six years ago today, Facebook Inc. released statistics on the makeup of its global workforce that did not reflect the demographics of its users: Just 3% of its workers were black.

The company, citing the creation of a diversity team a year before, vowed to make more hires with lower attrition for under-represented groups. It formed partnerships with key groups to find more women and people of color. And it began offering training to employees in unconscious bias.

“We have a long way to go, but we’re absolutely committed to achieving greater diversity at Facebook and across the industry,” Maxine Williams, Facebook’s then-global head of diversity, said at the time.

Fast forward to 2020, and Facebook’s FB, -1.49% black workforce has increased to just 3.8%.

In a blog post last week, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg announced a new effort with more specific goals and support: The company committed to a 30% increase in the number of people of color in leadership positions over the next five years, and will devote $200 million to support black-owned businesses and organizations — part of a $1.1 billion investment in black and diverse suppliers and communities in the U.S.

The move from nebulous efforts that proved to be mostly lip service to concrete plans and financial commitments, including specific hiring goals and amounts of money dedicated to the effort, go beyond Facebook. A raft of large and small tech companies have made proclamations in recent days, including Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, -0.50% , GOOG, -0.46% , Netflix Inc NFLX, -2.45%, Microsoft Corp. MSFT, -1.34% , SAP SE SAP, +1.71% , Apple Inc. AAPL, -1.38% , Mozilla Corp., Pinterest Inc. PINS, -1.38% , Reddit and a number of startups. Undoubtedly, more are to come. Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO, +0.10% , for example, is expected to share plans soon, according to a person familiar with the company’s strategy.

See also: Here are tech companies’ plans for increasing diversity amid protests over racial inequality

Whether the statements lead to action after years of empty slogans, broken promises and countless panels and working groups on the topic is far from certain, black tech workers and diversity advocates told MarketWatch.

“We’ve agreed [inclusion] was a problem since at least 2013, but everyone was waiting for everyone else to do something,” Larry Whiteside Jr., president of International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals, which is pushing the cybersecurity industry to hire and recruit more minorities, said in a phone interview. “Social protests have forced the hands of companies, large and small, to take action. It is time.”

Companies have been prompted, in large part, by two once-in-a-generation events — a pandemic not seen in the U.S. for a century, coupled with a social protest movement unlike any since 1968 — to finally move the needle on the hiring of minorities at tech companies, employment experts told MarketWatch.

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“There is a sense of urgency; recent events accelerated our plans,” Judith Williams, SAP’s global head of people sustainability and chief diversity and inclusion officer, told MarketWatch. “We have to change the dynamic of our industry, and better reflect society.”

Vows of improved representation aren’t new. For years, tech’s largest players have undertaken efforts to broaden the diversity of their workforces — albeit with minimal progress, as evidenced by the percentage of black tech workers. Black people accounted for 9% of workers in core information-technology occupations in the U.S. last year, compared with 8% in 2015 and 7% in 2010, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Blacks represent 13.4% of the U.S. population, according to the most recent government estimates.

“My worry at the beginning of COVID was that companies would see that as an opportunity to take a pass on hiring black women and Latinas, as they did during the 2008 financial crisis,” said Bertina Ceccarelli, chief executive of nonprofit NPower, a leader in tech training programs. “But with the recent protests and acute visibility of systemic racism, this encourages companies to expand recruiting and training plans.”

Any progress would be an improvement, she said, citing a two-year study conducted by NPower that shows only 4% of the nation’s tech workforce are black women.

See also: Black tech workers hope nationwide protests will force industry to be more inclusive

“We’ve heard it before. Some of this stuff is optics. I don’t know if I want to laugh at it or shake my head,” Lisa Love, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Tanoshi, a Silicon Valley startup that provides lower-income households and school districts with educational, affordable devices to close the digital divide, told MarketWatch. “You have to start from Day One on diversity. Your company has to reflect the nation.”

The four-year-old company, which is raising $2 million in a seed round, is hopeful that social awareness and empathy with the black community enhances its ability to finally secure venture-capital funding, said Love, who is black.

The reticence of Love, Whiteside, and others is real. Six years after their first diversity reports, Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter Inc. TWTR, -0.13% have increased their black representation by low single-digit percentages, according to a CNBC analysis. Apple’s workforce is 9% black, yet black executives account for only 3% of leadership.

Some tech companies have made advances, but their numbers may be skewed by gains outside of technical operations. Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, -1.83% has reported a healthy increase in black employees, to 26.5%, but those numbers are thought to largely rely on warehouse and delivery workers instead of the tech-focused workforce. The same could be said for Apple’s retail workers.

Concrete goals and money to fund the efforts could make a difference, though. While others in tech were organizing panels to discuss the issue, Intel Corp. INTC, -0.73% in early 2015 pledged $300 million toward diversity efforts and set 2020 as a deadlines to reach “full representation” in hiring. The company said that it actually achieved that goal in 2018, and is continuing the effort: In a May Corporate Responsibility Report, the company released diversity goals of increasing the number of women in technical roles to 40% and doubling the number of women and underrepresented minorities in senior roles by 2030.

After years of fitful starts and unfulfilled promises, the flurry of announcements and pronouncements give hope to people like Jill Barnard, chief financial officer of Televerde, a sales and marketing technology company based in Phoenix.

“Most companies just stay in the lane of what is legally required,” Barnard, who is white, told MarketWatch. “We can all do better.”

Increasing Diversity And Profits? Investors Think Companies Can’t Do Both

The pandemic has forced many struggling companies to focus on increasing their bottom line. At the same time, recent protests have strengthened the calls for greater diversity at work. And now, according to three studies, there’s evidence that investors don’t think that organizations can do both at the same time. According to three new studies, there’s a belief that a focus on diversity detracts from efforts to maximize shareholder value (it doesn’t).

Study One: Adding Women To Board Decreases Market Value

The first study found that as firms increase the number of female directors on their boards, their market value decreases. Researchers Isabelle Solal and Kaisa Snellmana from INSEAD also found that those companies that make clear commitments to diversity suffer an even greater decline in value when they increased female representation on their boards.

But this isn’t really about the women, it’s about judging the priorities of an organization that appoints women. “Our research suggests that it is not that investors believe women on boards are an impediment to shareholder value, but that the firm, by choosing to appoint women directors, is prioritizing diversity. And if the firm is prioritizing diversity, then it must be de-prioritizing shareholder value maximization,” clarifies Solal.

This puts women who are calling for more diversity in a Catch-22 situation according to Solal. “As calls for greater diversity increase, it is even more likely that the presence of female board directors, senior executives or other leaders will be attributed to some kind of diversity initiative rather than simply the woman’s skills and experience,” she explains. Solal suggests that how the appointment is framed is important. She believes that if companies put less emphasis on touting their diversity and more on the woman’s qualifications, then investors would be more likely to assume it was the woman’s qualifications earned her the job.Most Popular In: Careers

Study Two: Female Board Members Get Fewer Shareholder Votes When Company Is Struggling

In a second study, forthcoming in Organization Science, researchersexamined 50,202 board director elections from 2003 to 2015 and found that female board members typically get more support from shareholders than their male counterparts. But in times like we’re in right now, when companies are financially underperforming, this preference reverses, and shareholders are more likely to disapprove of female directors. This result held even after controlling for the qualifications of the candidates.

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According to this study, shareholders are only OK with diversity efforts when things are going well. So, if shareholders are pro-women in good times, why the change of heart when things start to go bad?  Again, they believe that shareholder value is at stake.  “Shareholders want to maximize their own value and when any kind of condition threatens that, they start withdrawing their support for female directors,” says Arjun Mitra, study co-author and Professor of Management at California State University Los Angeles.

This bias can have a real impact on the female corporate board members. “It’s a very real experience when you’re sitting on a board and you see the votes coming in and you see your colleagues being shooed in and you’re getting more dissent. For those women there’s a risk of feeling like maybe I just don’t belong here,” says coauthor Corinne Post, Professor of Management at Lehigh University. Post hopes this research can bring some relief for these board members who feel rebuffed by shareholders. “Knowing this is a pervasive fact of life can free one from this feeling that I don’t really belong here.  It’s not about me, it’s about them,” she says. 

“Directors compare themselves in terms of votes on the board, and if you get more dissenting votes than your colleagues, you’re more likely to leave the board,” adds study coauthor Steve Sauerwald, a Professor of Management at University of Illinois. Research supports the notion that those with more dissenting votes may end up leaving the board.

The race and ethnicity of corporate board members is not as readily available as gender, so we don’t know whether the results of these first two studies also apply to board members of color.

Study Three: Corporate Social Responsibility Is Perceived As Signal Of Waste By Activist Hedge Funds

Activist hedge funds seek out companies that they believe are not maximizing shareholder value, and then they make a large enough investment in that company so that they can influence the company’s management and decision making. According to a third study, activist hedge funds see corporate social responsibility as a signal of waste.

“Activist hedge funds—an unintended audience—treat CSR (corporate social responsibility) as a signal that firms have wasteful intentions and capabilities, which prevent firms from maximizing shareholder value in the short term,” write study authors Mark DesJardine, Emilio Marti and Rodolphe Durand. Their research found evidence that activist hedge funds are more likely to target firms with higher levels of corporate social responsibility.

Diversity Efforts Do Not Detract From Profits

The notion that efforts to provide opportunities to people other than white men is somehow taking too much attention away from the business at hand is ridiculous and demonstrates how difficulty that lies ahead in achieving true equity. Although investors may think diversity efforts are at odds with profit-seeking, in the short to medium term, there is no evidence that diversity efforts either enhance or detract from profitability.

“In the short term, focusing on diversity should not negatively affect a company’s profitability, but it is also unlikely to have any material positive impact on profitability.  Diversity tends to produce financial returns by creating a more engaged and satisfied workforce, thus improving productivity and lowering employee turnover, or by bolstering team performance as diversity in groups has been connected to enhanced creativity and problem solving. Higher productivity, lower turnover and stronger team performance are all outcomes that should materially benefit a company over the long term,” says Mark DesJardine, a professor at Penn State and lead author on the third study.

Companies that do a great job increasing diversity and equity should be proud to tout their accomplishments, and we can only hope that they will continue to advocate for these causes despite the perceptions of uninformed investors.

Survey says Microsoft, Google CEOs are among top CEOs for diversity, inclusion in 2020

When it comes to job searching, recruiting and retention, diversity has increasingly become part of the conversation.

Amid the recent Black Lives Matter protests, more companies are pledging to diversify workplaces by hiring more people of color, and CEO’s can play a vital role in making sure it happens. Chief executives can also set the stage for a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for minority workers after they’re hired.

 So which business leaders do it best? 

The heads of  Microsoft, RingCentral and Google, according to results from a workforce survey completed by the compensation, culture and career-monitoring website Comparably

India-born Sataya Nadella is at the helm of the software giant Microsoft. Ukraine-born  Vlad Shmunis cofounded the cloud communications company RingCentral and Sundar Pichai, who was also born in India, leads the search giant Google. 

Comparably unveiled its annua “Best CEOs for Diversity” list on Monday to  underscore leaders who create inclusive work cultures based on ratings from employees of color.

“We need to point out when a company is falling and see what we can change to make better, but we also need to point to great examples of leaders of companies that are fantastic for people of color,” Comparably CEO Jason Nazar told USA TODAY. 

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 Each CEO on the list has a top 5% approval rating by employees of color. 

Comparably asked employees of color to  anonymously rate their chief executive officers on over a 12-month period (June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2020). So the results include sentiments held by workers as protests for racial equality gripped the nation. 

Top-Rated CEOs for Diversity in large companies

Ranked highest to lowest

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

1. Satya Nadella – Microsoft

2. Vlad Schmunis – 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

CEO Tim Cook holding the billionth iPhone.

9. Mike Walsh – LexisNexis 

10. Chris Caldwell – Concentrix

11. Doug Mack – Fanatics  

12. Shantanu Narayen – Adobe 

13. Vishal Garg – Better.com 

14. Jim Loree – Stanley Black & Decker 

Accenture (US) CEO Julie Sweet

15. Julie Sweet – Accenture (US) 

16. Manny Medina – Outreach 

17. Annette Brüls – Medela 

18. Charles Butt – H-E-B 

19. Brian Niccol – Chipotle 

20. Kenneth Frazier – Merck

21. Hirokazu Hamada – Anritsu 

22. Robert Frist Jr. – HealthStream

Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta

23. Apoorva Mehta – Instacart 

24. Jorge Gonzalez – City National Bank of Florida 

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Top-Rated CEOs for Diversity in small and medium companies

Ranked highest to lowest

Centrical CEO Gal Rimon

1. Gal Rimon – Centrical

2. Robert Sadow – Scoop Technologies  

3. David Cancel – Drift  

4. Giuseppe Incitti – Sitetracker 

5. Ganesh Shankar – RFPIO 

6. Paddy Spence – Zevia  

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Civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis dead at 80

WASHINGTON – Rep. John R. Lewis, the civil rights icon whose fight for racial justice began in the Jim Crow south and ended in the halls of Congress, died Friday night.

The Georgia lawmaker had been suffering from Stage IV pancreatic cancer since December. He was 80.

The son of Alabama sharecroppers, Lewis served in Congress for more than three decades, pushing the causes he championed as an original Freedom Rider challenging segregation, discrimination and injustice in the Deep South – issues reverberating today in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Along with Martin Luther King Jr., he was an organizer of the March on Washington in 1963, a seminal moment in the Civil Rights Movement that led to the passage of voting rights for Blacks two years later.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., poses in his office in the Cannon Building in Washington, DC on July 20, 2012.  Lewis, a former Freedom Rider and the last surviving major organizer of the March on Washington.

He became a community activist and member of the Atlanta City Council before winning a seat in Congress in 1986. He would go on to become a best-selling author and in 2011 was awarded the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president. Lewis was elected to his 17th term in November 2018.

“(A)ll these years later, he is known as the Conscience of the United States Congress, still speaking his mind on issues of justice and equality,” Obama said in 2011, as he was bestowing the Medal of Freedom. “And generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind – an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now.”

Fighting for civil rights in Nashville:Rep. John Lewis’ example continues to inspire

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) is presented with the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama during an East Room event at the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal, the highest honor awarded to civilians, to twelve pioneers in sports, labor, politics and arts.

A national figure at an early age

Apart from the Freedom Riders, a group of black and white civil rights activists who rode interstate buses to fight segregation across the South, Lewis was one of the founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which advocated for civil rights with demonstrations at lunch counters and voter-registration drives.

After four African American college students sat down on Feb. 1, 1960, at a whites-only lunch counter at a Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina, Lewis helped organize similar sit-ins around the South that drew national attention to the rampant racism that pervaded southern states.

‘John Lewis: Good Trouble’: 5 lessons from the documentary that still apply today

John Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders, a group of black and white civil rights activists who rode interstate buses to fight segregation across the South.

“Some people were heard to say by sitting down these young people are standing up for the very best in American tradition,” Lewis told USA TODAY in 2013. 

“Martin Luther King Jr. was so pleased. He was gratified, He was deeply moved and touched to see this new militancy on the part of the students,” the congressman continued. “He knew then that his message of non-violence and passive resistance would live, and it would be moving around the South, embedded in the very being of these young people.”

Arrested, jailed and beaten for challenging Jim Crow laws, Lewis would become a national figure by his early 20s. He later became the youngest of the Big Six civil rights leaders and, at 23, helped organize the March on Washington. There, he provided a keynote speech at the landmark event for civil rights.

“As it stands now, the voting section of this bill will not help the thousands of black people who want to vote,” Lewis said. “It will not help the citizens of Mississippi, of Alabama and Georgia who are qualified to vote but lack a sixth-grade education. One man, one vote is the African cry. It is ours, too. It must be ours.”

More:Black lives matter: We must live up to Declaration of Independence’s promise

Two years later, he helped organize the voting-rights march in Alabama that became known as “Bloody Sunday,” when state troopers attacked demonstrators, a nationally televised melee hastened passage of the Voting Rights Act. Lewis’ skull was fractured in the demonstration

Lewis remained the last surviving member of the Big Six, which included King, James Farmer, A. Phillip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, and Whitney Young.Get the Coronavirus Watch newsletter in your inbox.

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His death comes shortly after the release of a new documentary that’s giving a new generation of civil rights activists a timely glimpse into his historic contributions.

Director Dawn Porter’s timely documentary, “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” premiered in early July as worldwide protests against racism and police brutality  sparked by the death of George Floyd have renewed global calls for social justice.

“My greatest fear is that one day we may wake up and our democracy is gone,” Lewis, 80, says in the film.

A civil rights leader in Congress

In Congress, the soft-spoken Lewis was known for his work on voting rights. He long fought for more access to the polls, particularly for voters of color. In December, he banged the gavel in the House signaling passage of a voting rights bill he had championed.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis leads a march of thousands through the streets of Atlanta on Saturday.

A close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Lewis served in leadership posts. But the Georgia Democrat’s real power came from his stature as a civil rights icon. Lewis was one of the first lawmakers new members wanted to meet and he remained a revered figure, both by Republicans and Democrats, until his death.

“How fitting it is that even in the last weeks of his battle with cancer, John summoned the strength to visit the peaceful protests where the newest generation of Americans had poured into the streets to take up the unfinished work of racial justice,” Pelosi said in a statement after Lewis’ death. “In the Congress, John Lewis was revered and beloved on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol.”

Lewis often feuded with President Donald Trump, clashing over civil rights and voting rights. In September, Lewis urged his colleagues to begin impeachment proceedings against the president, telling them: “the future of our democracy is at stake.”

From left: Brown Chapel AME Church pastor James Jackson,  Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, and Rev. Clete Kiley, hold hands and sing at the end of a church service, Sunday March 4, 2007 in Selma, Ala.

He boycotted Trump’s inauguration after the president attacked  him and his congressional district via Twitter. Lewis called Trump’s presidency illegitimate because of the Russian government’s clandestine campaign to sway the election in his favor.  

In 2017, the congressman boycotted the opening of a civil rights museum in Mississippi because Trump was invited. Lewis and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus attended a separate ceremony.

Lewis called out Trump for his tweet last year telling four congresswomen of color to “go back” to their countries of origin.

More:‘Man of character and dignity’: Civil rights icon John Lewis endorses Joe Biden on Wisconsin primary day

“I know racism when I see it,’’ Lewis said in response.

He embraced the Black Lives Movement, telling the Washington Post in an interview in June that he was “inspired” to see throngs of people marching in the United States and around the world.

Last month, in one of his last public appearances Lewis joined Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at Black Lives Matter Plaza. The two posed for pictures where the yellow letters of Black Lives Matter are painted on the street leading up to the White House.

A best-selling author, he championed civil rights throughout his career. His graphic memoir, “MARCH,” won the National Book Award for children’s literature in 2016. 

He led an annual pilgrimage back to Selma, Alabama, where he and other members of Congress marched across the Edmund-Pettus bridge to commemorate the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery.

“I think it’s so fitting and so right that this group is able to go there and to go back to that site … where (King) said, ‘I have seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but as a people we will get there,’” Lewis told USA TODAY.

President Barack Obama, left, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Former President George W. Bush hold hands for a prayer after Obama spoke near the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

In 2016, Lewis led a sit-in of Democratic lawmakers on the House floor, halting legislative business as they demanded a vote on gun control legislation.

“What is the tipping point? Are we blind? Can we see? How many more mothers, how many more fathers need to shed tears of grief before we do something?” he said then.

Lewis was married 44 years to Lillian Lewis, who died in 2012 at age 73.

Civil rights icon Rev. CT Vivian dies at 95

Civil rights leader Rev. Cordy Tindell “CT” Vivian has died at age 95, his daughter Kira Vivian told CNN.Vivian passed away at his Atlanta home of natural causes Friday.”He was the sweetest man,” Kira Vivian said. “He was so loving. What a loving dad. He was the best father throughout my entire life.”Vivian participated in the Freedom Rides and worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement.Content by CNN UnderscoredFace masks that support a good causeFace masks have become our new normal, and with these masks, you can make sure you’re doing even more good than usual.He was born in Boonville, Missouri on July 30, 1924. He and his late wife, Octavia Geans Vivian, had six children.close dialogCovid-19Your local resource.Set your location and log in to find local resources and information on Covid-19 in your area.Set Location

Vivian participated in his first nonviolent protest, a lunch counter sit-in in Peoria, Illinois, in 1947, according to the National Visionary Leadership Project.Vivian had a strong religious upbringing and said he felt called to a life in ministry, according to NVLP. With the help of his church, he enrolled in American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville in 1955.Black leaders, including CT Vivian, left first row, march down Nashville's Jefferson Street at the head of a group of 3,000 demonstrators April 19, 1960, and head toward City Hall on the day of the Z. Alexander Looby bombing.Black leaders, including CT Vivian, left first row, march down Nashville’s Jefferson Street at the head of a group of 3,000 demonstrators April 19, 1960, and head toward City Hall on the day of the Z. Alexander Looby bombing.That same year he and other ministers founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, an affiliate of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, NVLP said. The group helped organize the city’s first sit-ins and civil rights march.By 1965 Vivian had become the director of national affiliates for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference when he led a group of people to register to vote in Selma, Alabama. As the county Sheriff Jim Clark blocked the group, Vivian said in a fiery tone, “We will register to vote because as citizens of the United States we have the right to do it.” Clark responded by beating Vivian until blood dripped off his chin in front of rolling cameras. The images helped galvanize wider support for change.Vivian also created a college readiness program with the goal of helping “take care of the kids that were kicked out of school simply because they protested racism.”Years later the US Department of Education used his Vision program as a guide to create Upward Bound, which was designed to improve high school and college graduation rates for students in underserved communities.In the late 1970s Vivian founded the National Anti-Klan Network, an anti-racism organization that focused on monitoring the Ku Klux Klan. Soon after it was founded, the name and direction changed because “it was bigger than the Klan,” said Vivian. “We called it the Center for Democratic Renewal because the whole culture had to be renewed if it truly was going to be a democratic one.” Vivian said they viewed the Center For Democratic Renewal as “the political side” of what they were doing with the SCLC, which was focused on the country’s morality struggles during the civil rights movement.President Barack Obama awarded Vivian the highest civilian honor in the nation, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2013.About her father, Kira Vivian said, “he was just a kind person and cared about people.”

Inner City Talks ‘We All Move Together’ And Diversity In Dance Music

Today, Detroit electronic music group Inner City released their first album in 30 years, We All Move Together. The body of work’s lead-track by the same name features an inspiring and powerful monologue from Idris Elba on the history of dance music and Inner City founder Kevin Saunderson’s contributions to the evolution of the genre as he is considered one of the progenitors of techno. Indeed, the album as a whole is done in true Inner City style: it’s meaningful, soulful and uplifting. 

According to Kevin Saunderson, the idea for the record stemmed from hearing his son, Dantiez Saunderson, play a track that reminded him of Inner City and the kind of music he used to play years ago. “It kind of had these choruses like I did back in the day. [It] just reminded me of me. I was joking around with [Dantiez] and said, ‘hey you ripped me off.’ And from that conversation, I thought why don’t we try to redo Inner City?,” Kevin Saunderson says. Most Popular In: Arts

The group was then reformed, but with some new members as it is now comprised of Kevin Saunderson, Dantiez Saunderson, and lead vocalist Steffanie Christi’an—though they do invite guest vocalists on to record sometimes, such as ZebrA OctobrA and Elba. Although We All Move Together is the first release by the group in 30 years, Kevin Saunderson says it is similar to their three previous albums as it was created to “make people feel good.” 

When asked what the title of the record means to them, Kevin Saunderson says: “To me, it means people coming together on the dance floor, coming together politically, [and] coming together to unite as one and doing something positive.” 

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“One thing that I hear Kevin say often, which resonates for me, is that he makes music for everybody,” Christi’an adds. “It doesn’t matter what kind of group that you’re in front of. You can be in the city of Detroit, in a club in London, [or] somewhere in Berlin or Australia: everybody is going to move to the music that he and Dantiez has made. There’s unity in the music there.” 

Inner City performing at Kala Festival.
Inner City performing at Kala Festival. Courtesy of Kala Festival. KALA FESTIVAL

The concept of the album’s name carries more weight these days given the current climate in the United States with the Black Lives Matter protests, and Kevin Saunderson notes that the album is “coming at a time in need.” He, Dantiez Saunderson and Christi’an all agreed Black dance music artists are often not given the same opportunities as white dance music artists, citing that music festival lineups tend to be whitewashed. Christi’an adds that this happens in genres outside of dance music, except for R&B and hip-hop because they are considered to be “Black music.” 

Kevin Saunderson adds that this can discourage Black artists from wanting to create dance music because they won’t feel inspired or influenced by a genre where very few, if any, of the artists look like them. He says that the industry has the potential to change this by hiring more Black agents in agencies and booking artists who create different sounds from the ones often heard in the mainstream space. He adds that the underrepresentation of Black dance music artists is predominantly a problem in the United States, citing that his big success for Inner City initially came in Europe when he should have been more recognized within the United States. 

“The history of electronic music and techno was created and ignited by Black artists here from Detroit,” he adds. “It’s important to be known we’ve been doing this for years. We haven’t always gotten credit for all the hard work we put in. There have been artists, companies and managers who have manipulated our sound. It’s one thing being inspired, but I believe they purposely left Black artists out. So I think it should be known now that this has been going on.”

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