When did the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ initiative launch?
The initiative launched on June 12th, 2017.
What is the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™?
The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. A unique collaborative of more than 350 CEOs have signed on to this commitment, agreeing to take action to cultivate environments where diverse experiences and perspectives are welcomed and where employees feel comfortable and encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion. All the signatories of the commitment serve as leaders of their companies and committed to implementing the pledge within their workplaces, or where companies have already implemented one or several of the commitments, will support other companies in doing the same.
Do signatories have to agree to execute against all Pledge commitments?
Yes. As part of signing on to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, CEOs are committing to implementing all of the elements within the pledge.
Who created the commitment?
The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ was collectively formed and is led by a steering committee of CEOs and leaders from Accenture, BCG, Deloitte US, The Executive Leadership Council, EY, General Atlantic, KPMG, New York Life, P&G and PwC.
How do you determine who else can join this effort?
We are inspired by the number of organizations that want to sign onto the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ pledge and join our collective efforts. Our desire is to welcome as many different voices and perspectives as possible in an orderly manner that will allow for knowledge sharing and greater collective potential contributions. We are responding to all requests and signing new signatories in waves to maintain measured growth of the coalition, its goals and collaborations over time. We hope this strategy will help us stay true to the goal of establishing a firm foundation for a knowledge sharing platform that can be cultivated to foster even greater collaboration with time.
How is the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ different?
The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ assembles the largest collection of business leaders from various industries openly committing to sharing successful diversity and inclusion initiatives as well as lessons learned to share with the collective business community.
Is this commitment aimed at benefiting one group?
No. We are committed to advancing inclusion of all employees and making them feel supported in the workplace, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability status, veteran status, or other aspect of diversity. We recognize that diversity and inclusion are multi-faceted issues and that we need to tackle these subjects holistically to better engage and support all of our employees, our communities and our stakeholders.
Are there financial contributions as part of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™?
As part of this commitment, signatories have agreed to dedicate their time and resources to advance diversity and inclusion efforts both within their companies and as a part of this coalition to benefit society as a whole.
You say this commitment is all about action – what specific action(s) will signatories be taking?
The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ are taking three essential actions. First, each of the signatories are focused on cultivating workplaces that support open dialogue on complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion.
Second, we believe that there is a gap in the market around sharing and collaborating across enterprises in order to advance this issue within the business community. Some are making strides while others aren’t, and there are valuable lessons to be shared and learned in both of those experiences. To facilitate the exchange of actions, we built a hub that enables companies to share best known actions across different areas of diversity.
Finally, each signatory has agreed to implement unconscious bias training in their respective organization, and those who have already done so are committing to mentor others so they can effectively implement this training.
What if a company is already implementing all the actions outlined in a commitment? What is their role?
We recognize that companies are at different points in their diversity journey. Companies that currently are not implementing some or all of the elements of the pledge can use this as an opportunity to learn from others that are already doing so in order to apply that to their company in the most effective and meaningful way. Companies that are already implementing some or all of the actions can use this as an opportunity to drive greater engagement within their own programs, contribute best known actions as well as mentor others.
How is each company going about making its workplace safe to have difficult conversations about topics such as race?
Rather than prescribe the creation of specific tools, each company is asked to foster environments, platforms, or forums with their people and organizations in mind. Through our unified hub, CEOAction.com, companies can share best known actions on how they are doing this.
When and how does each company share best known—and unsuccessful—actions?
We are the largest corporate exchange of best known actions around diversity and inclusion. This unified hub –CEOAction.com– will provide companies with a platform to easily share successes and challenges with one another. We believe by sharing successes and actions that were ineffective, it will help companies learn from each other and more effectively apply meaningful tools, programs, and strategies within their companies.
How do you make unconscious bias training available to everyone?
Collectively, the companies in this coalition manage millions of people, and have seen the benefits of effective educational programs. We have made the blind spot video series available, free-of-charge, to anyone to help them offer it within their respective organizations. These resources can be found on the “Actions” section within CEOAction.com and at the website www.pwc.com/us/blindspots.
Why is implementing and expanding unconscious bias training a main focus of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™?
Experts tell us that we all have unconscious biases that manifest themselves in various aspects of our daily lives. Unconscious bias education is a resource that can enable individuals to begin recognizing, acknowledging, and deconstructing any potential blind spots he or she might have, but was not aware of previously. By giving employees at all levels access to these insights, we aim to facilitate more open and honest conversations that will support inclusion throughout our organizations.
As leaders of some of America’s largest corporations, nonprofits and academic organizations, we recognize that such education is an important necessary step, because unconscious bias, by its very nature is hidden. But we also recognize that such education while necessary, is not a sufficient step to create change. That requires constant vigilance and proactive efforts to create equal opportunity and access.
While CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ signatories represent a collective footprint across all 50 states, are there regions or geographic clusters with significant concentration of signatories?
More companies from nearly 85 industries have signed on, giving the signatory group additional unique perspectives on how to develop comfortable environments for our employees to thrive. These CEOs are excited about the pledge and want to make sure that their companies are diverse and inclusive of all employees.
What does success look like and how do you measure it?
Success, to us, is centered around knowledge sharing and collaboration across industries. This is why we will be focused on using our unified hub to easily share successes and challenges as well as continue to expand our list of signatories to draw in even more perspectives and experiences from the workplace. The hub measures the efforts’ reach and impact by capturing many of the best known actions that are shared across companies who visit the site for more information about diversity and inclusion in the workplace
What has happened since the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ launch?
Since the launch of the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion™, we have had a number of milestones including the inaugural CEO Action Closed Door Discussion, where we hosted 70 CEOs; developed working groups; launched a five-campus mobile bus tour; made the blind spot video series available, free of charge to anyone; and convened companies together within their industry and markets to drive collective action.
What have you learned thus far in the process?
The positive response to the initiative has been overwhelming. It is evident companies and their workforces are craving action to advance diversity and inclusion. More than 350 companies have submitted best known actions they are starting to implement within their companies. To read about these actions visit the CEO Action hub.
Are all the signatories meeting the obligations of the agreement thus far?
By signing on to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, CEOs are committing to implement all of the elements within the pledge. These include implementing and expanding unconscious bias education and sharing best known actions via a unified hub. To track their progress against these actionable commitments, our goal is to have each company create accountability systems within their own four walls and share regular updates with each other in order to catalog effective programs and measurement practices.
What is the President’s Circle?
The President’s Circle is comprised of academic institutions and associations that will help translate the elements within the CEO Action pledge into actions that engage students, faculty and administration around diversity and inclusion and drive lasting change for our future workforce.
What’s the goal of the President’s Circle?
The objective of the President's Circle is to help empower administrations, faculty and students to have important conversations about addressing diversity and inclusion issues both in their current environments and communities, and with their future employers, to help drive lasting change.
Why did CEO Action create the President's Circle?
When we launched The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ we knew it wouldn’t be a static commitment, and in order to continue to have an impact, we must continuously evolve and expand our sphere of engagement. There is an intrinsic connection between our goal to shift workplace culture and engage the current and future workforce. We recognize that our efforts should also include students and the academic community to increase an individual's exposure to and comfort level with diversity and inclusion topics to better advance active change within the workplace.
What organizations are part of the President's Circle?
Inaugural signatory universities and institutions of the President's Circle include: University of San Francisco (chair), AACSB International, Bentley University, Binghamton University, Lehigh University, Miami University of Ohio, National HBCU Deans Roundtable, Oregon State University, University of Dayton and Xavier University of Louisiana.
How will the pledge be adapted for the academic community?
Universities are in a unique position as employers and as educators of the next generation of workers and leaders. By publicly making the pledge, higher education institutions are raising awareness of their leadership in addressing diversity and inclusion on campus. They are also educating students and faculty on the importance of addressing the potential for unconscious bias and demonstrating the link and collaboration between the higher education and business communities on this crucial issue. This group will help identify best practices to address diversity and inclusion, eventually to be carried into the business world when students begin their professional careers.
Why is CEO Action focused on students and colleges?
Through action on commitments to date, we realize that our efforts as CEOs overlap with those of colleges and universities, as they have a large part to play in producing an educated and diverse workforce. It is our hope that the future workforce, made up in part by the college students of today, will encourage an open dialogue about how to better advance diversity and inclusion in their communities, which will translate to the workforce as they advance in their careers.
What does success look like among students and how do you measure it?
Success is building a stronger connection between the business and academic communities. Through integrated conversations and education on diversity and inclusion, we believe we are setting students and their institutions up to become better, action-oriented leaders and conveners on this important topic.
Is the President’s Circle the only group that has been formed within the CEO Action?
The President’s Circle is one of several internal working groups established within The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™. In addition to focusing on engagement with the academic community, we also created working groups led by signatory companies to further advance the movement of key issues related to gender, race and measuring impact for all signatory organizations.
Will university signatories have to agree to execute against all pledge commitments created by the President’s Circle?
Yes. Part of engaging academic leaders in the creation of this framework is to leverage their experience and knowledge to design commitments that apply to the academic world.
Will the pledge be open to all academic institutions?
Yes; the pledge is open to all academic institutions in the U.S.
What events are next?
A CEO Action Chief Human Resources/Diversity & Inclusion Officer Summit will be held on Jan. 17 in New York City. This event will provide CHROs and D&I leaders with an opportunity to build off of the Nov. 10 CEO Closed-Door Discussion and drive further actions and collaborations across organizations.
How often will new commitments be added to the Pledge?
The commitments within the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ are the first in a series of actions the group plans to take in order to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. The signatories will plan to build on the set of initial commitments and roll out additional ones, as appropriate.