Follow Diversity's Best Ideas


Every September, the cable industry comes together to celebrate and discuss diversity. During this year's Diversity Week, let's honor our industry's achievements, but also look outward for inspiration, ideas and insight that will strengthen our ability to compete for customers and talent in a rapidly changing marketplace.

For example, just this June, DiversityInc, the leading publication on diversity and business, named its Top 50 Companies for Diversity. Three cable-industry companies made the top 50: Turner at No. 21, Cox at No. 25 and Comcast at No. 48.

While we can cheer their accomplishments, we know our industry's diversity efforts are not complete. To improve, we can embrace successful diversity practices from some of these top 50 companies.

At the top of the list is Bank of America, where retention has been a key to success. The company retains 90% of its black managers, 89% of Asian managers and 88% of Latino managers. Also helping to make them No. 1: 44% of the company's work force is people of color.

Pepsi Bottling Group is at No. 2, and its employees have completed more than 100,000 hours of diversity training since 2002. PBG also has mandatory employee diversity surveys and donates 41% of its philanthropic endeavors to multicultural organizations.

It's hard to look past two of cable's prime competitors–AT&T and Verizon–which both rank in the top 10 of this list, primarily due to their long-standing commitment to supplier diversity. Last year, Verizon increased its supplier-diversity investment by 14.4%, purchasing nearly $2.6 billion from these suppliers.

AT&T and Verizon also excel in diversity training, which is mandatory for their entire work forces. In 2005, AT&T's tuition program also assisted more than 3,500 candidates, 58% of whom were women and 37% of whom were people of color.

Other companies like Sodexho tie bonuses for their executives and managers to diversity, regardless of how good a year the company had. Sodexho also has a cross-cultural mentoring program to build relationship skills, provide development and networking opportunities, and develop trust through understanding.

This year there are three companies from our industry on the Diversity Inc list. Let's use ideas that have proved to be successful, and challenge each other to add more companies next year.