Wal-Mart Puts Money Behind Diversity Initiative
By George Anderson
Wal-Mart wants the world to know it is serious about promoting diversity within it ranks.
In a filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Wal-Mart said it was linking executive compensation to the company’s diversity goals.
Wal-Mart has established the practice as a way “to motivate officers to achieve diversity initiatives, while adhering to the company’s commitment to select the most qualified individual for each position,” according to the filing with the SEC.
Executives participating in the program but failing to meet the goals established could lose up to 15 percent in associated bonuses, reports MarketWatch. The 15 percent figure marks an increase from the 7.5 percent bonus approved by the company’s board in 2004.
Wal-Mart’s filing is seen as the latest attempt by the company to deal with criticism over its treatment of employees. The world’s largest retailer is currently facing an $11 billion class-action discrimination suit.
In its defense, Wal-Mart points to internal efforts such as its Women in Leadership and Minorities in Leadership programs intended to ensure women and minorities are well represented at all levels within the organization. The company claims its retention rate for female and minority participants in these programs is more than 96 percent.
Moderator’s Comment: Are companies with more diverse workforces stronger than those that are more homogeneous? Are there specific diversity initiatives
either within or outside the retail industry that you believe are worthy of emulation by other companies? –
George Anderson – Moderator