Will diversity pledges be followed by results?
A number of retailers and brands made diversity pledges when the #MeToo movement gained momentum in 2017 and recently they’ve upgraded and amplified those commitments in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.
- Gap has pledged that by 2025 it will double Black and Latinx employees “at all levels in our U.S. HQ offices” and increase representation of Black employees in store leader roles by 50 percent.
- Levi’s pledged to fill a position it calls “head of diversity, inclusion, and belonging,” to add a Black person to the board of directors and to strive to have 50 percent of candidates interviewing for open jobs to be people of color.
- Nordstrom promised to “increase demographic diversity in our corporate and all leadership positions to better reflect the North American population.”
- Under Armour committed to ensuring 12 percent of its employees at the director level or higher are Black.
- Adidas pledged to ensure that at least 30 percent of all new U.S. jobs are filled with Black and Latino people at its Adidas and Reebok brands.
The pledges often came along with substantial donations to Black causes, as well as commitments to education and career development programs for minorities, unconscious bias training for all employees and inclusion workshops. Many organizations are promising to listen better to the concerns of underrepresented employee groups.
John Donahoe, Nike’s CEO since the year’s start, said in an employee memo in mid-June, “As I have listened deeply during my first six months and over the past few weeks, what I have learned is that many have felt a disconnect between our external brand and your internal experience. You have told me that we have not consistently supported, recognized and celebrated our own Black teammates in a manner they deserve. This needs to change.”
The New York Times reported on a movement to tie executive pay to fulfilling diversity goals.
The reset commitments around diversity come as women in recent years have made progress improving executive and board representation, while racial diversity remains a challenge.
- STAND UNITED. – Gap Inc.
- Our Diversity Opportunity – Levi Strauss
- An Open Letter To Employees – Nordstrom
- How We Stand For Equality – Under Armour
- Message From The Adidas Board: Creating Lasting Change Now – Adidas
- Nike Declares Juneteenth To Be Annual Paid Company Holiday – Forbes
- Want More Diversity? Some Experts Say Reward C.E.O.s for It – The New York Times
- Black Entrepreneurs Urged to Seize the Moment Despite Difficulties – W
- Study Examines Why Black Americans Remain Scarce in Executive Suites – The New York Times
- Demand for Chief Diversity Officers Is High. So Is Turnover. – The Wall Street Journal
- Racial Diversity: There’s More Work to be Done in the Workplace – The Economist
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think making racial diversity progress will be easier or harder than achieving gender goals? What price, if any, do you think organizations will pay if they fall short of their pledges?