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 coalition of more than 800 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.
What are the CEO Action pledge commitments?
The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ signatories 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 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.
Third, 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.
And finally, signatories will create and share strategic inclusion and diversity plans with their board of directors, or equivalent governing bodies.
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.
How has CEO Action been successful in its first two years?
Marking its first year, CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ has rallied a record number of CEOs who acknowledge that more can be done to drive diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In addition to achieving a significant number of signatories and sharing nearly 700 actions on the CEOAction.com database, the coalition has focused on helping its signatories fulfill their commitments within the pledge. Key accomplishments include: hosting leaderships sessions that facilitated hundreds of conversations between signatories in order to share resources as well as creating formal peer networks to help signatories remain motivated, persistent and focused on driving change within their workforces.
Fourth Pledge Commitment
What is being added to the pledge?
On June 12, 2019, CEO Action will add a fourth pledge commitment for signatories to create and share strategic inclusion and diversity plans with their board of directors, or equivalent governing bodies. CEO Action signatories will have the flexibility to tailor their plans and board engagement to the size, scale and needs of their individual organizations.
Why is CEO Action doing this?
This progression acknowledges CEO feedback as well as the strong demand by investors and stakeholders for boards and management to work together to prioritize and drive accountability around the D&I of an organization as a critical business differentiator. Given their responsibility for driving strategies that help companies thrive, boards play an important role, alongside CEOs, in driving action to cultivate strong, inclusive cultures and the ability to attract and develop talent. We also believe that a strategic D&I plan will help accelerate the other CEO Action commitments.
Why is now the right time to introduce this new commitment?
As business leaders, we are living through a fundamental business transformation as well as an evolving federal and state policy landscape. From demographic shifts and advancements in technology that require new skills to the rise of the gig economy and laws that require board diversity, boards and CEOs should work together to prioritize D&I given they shared responsibility to cultivate strong, inclusive cultures, and attract and develop talent.
How does the new commitment fit into CEO Action’s strategy?
We see this as the next step in our ability to drive significant change by encouraging consistent action across the business community. Through collaboration, we hope to accelerate sharing, accountability and the impact we can have in cultivating diverse and inclusive workplaces in the US.
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.
Additionally, the Check Your Blind Spots unconscious bias mobile tour has been expanded with experiential elements and online resources to mitigate unconscious bias. In conjunction with the mobile tour, individuals can commit to action through a personal pledge, “I Act On,” to act on driving more inclusive behaviors in their everyday lives.
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:
- Hosted four gatherings with more than 400 CEO and C-Suite leaders
- expanded the “Check Your Blind Spots" unconscious bias mobile tour
- introduced the I Act On pledge
- developed six working groups addressing key issues around gender, race, and impact
- made the blind spot video series available, free of charge to anyone
- drove dialogue at more than 15 high-profile events
- 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 250 companies have submitted best known actions that are being implemented within their respective organizations. 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 are the new actions that were announced on November 15, 2018?
The three actions announced include:
- Launched the new “Check Your Blind Spots" unconscious bias mobile tour with experiential elements and online resources to give people the opportunity to learn about and explore ways to mitigate unconscious bias in their everyday lives. The tour will make 100 stops across the country and engage one million people.
- Initiated the "I Act On" pledge, in conjunction with the unconscious bias mobile tour, individuals can commit to action through a personal pledge to mitigate any personal unconscious biases, and act on driving more inclusive behaviors in their everyday lives. Individuals can also take the pledge via CEOAction.com.
- On Dec. 7, the coalition is hosting a "Day of Understanding", the largest mass dialogue focused on tackling key diversity and inclusion issues such as race, gender and age. More than 150 signatories will come together to take a bold action and host a day of candid conversations within each of their respective companies in order to further embrace differences in our organizations.
Also worth noting is the launch of “Beyond the Bottom Line”, a five-part landmark series featuring intimate conversations between CEOs and their employees, unpacking topics and issues confronting the workplace today around D&I.
How will these actions make an impact?
These actions will help the coalition expand our reach beyond the business community, and make an impact in our communities by bringing unconscious bias training and actions to drive inclusive behaviors to individuals.
Unconscious Bias Tour
What is the unconscious bias tour?
No one is immune from bias, and neither is any business, underpinning the importance of recognizing that unconscious bias exists and we can take steps to mitigate it.
In the fall of 2018, CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ will launch a nationwide unconscious bias mobile tour, the “Check Your Blind Spots” mobile tour that will make 100 stops in its first year. The mobile information center will visit corporate and university campuses, as well as major conferences and festivals, and will include live interactive sessions; a digital library of educational materials (video and podcast) with optional self-assessment and educational quizzes; and a space for participants to reflect on unconscious biases and how they could potentially impact the workplace, classroom, and other settings. At 10 stops along the tour, the coalition will host one-of-a-kind pop-up events that will include intimate discussions with artists, celebrities and business leaders who are personally committed to using their platforms to advance inclusion in the world.
Is there a published list of stops for the “Check Your Blind Spots” mobile tour?
Who are you trying to reach through the Check Your Blind Spots mobile tour?
CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ signatories represent 12 million employees and students in the US. While institutional change must continue to be driven at the leadership level, the coalition recognizes that in order to drive real change, it must create opportunity for CEOs as well as the current workforce and our future workforce to collectively create and participate in inclusive environments.
Do you have additional information on the “Check Your Blind Spots” unconscious bias mobile tour?
The tour will reach one million people via online activities and at 100 stops across the country in our workplaces and communities. This effort ties back to our commitment to expanding unconscious bias education and helping individuals recognize and minimize their blind spots. Organizations can express interest in participating in the tour by reaching out to [email protected].
I Act On Pledge
What is the “I Act On” pledge?
The “I Act On” pledge is a personal pledge that any individual can take to commit to mitigating any unconscious biases, and act on driving more inclusive behaviors in their everyday lives. Accessible via ceoaction.com and the Check Your Blind Spots Unconscious Bias tour, the pledge is a tangible opportunity for employees, students and members of our communities to work with CEOs to address the diversity and inclusion challenges at large.
What actions can people take to act on their pledge commitment?
Actions people can take to live up to the “I Act On” pledge include:
- I will check my own potential biases and take meaningful actions to understand and mitigate them.
- I will initiate meaningful, complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations with my friends and colleagues.
- I will ask myself, “Do my actions and words reflect the value of inclusion?”
- I will move outside my comfort zone to learn about the experiences and perspectives of others.
- I will share my insights related to what I have learned.
How often are new commitments 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.
What does CEO Action have planned for its third year?
While institutional change must continue to be driven at the leadership level, CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ recognizes that in order to drive real change, it must create opportunity for CEOs, the current workforce and our future workforce to collectively create and participate in inclusive environments. We are building on our progress to seize the collective opportunity for both CEOs and the workforce to address the diversity and inclusion challenges we all face. We will do this by focusing in three primary areas: 1) bringing unconscious bias education to the current and future workforce through experiential learning; 2) delivering new diversity action resources for all signatories to use; and 3) expanding the CEO Action community by maintaining a focus on value and impact for CEOs.