For as long as Keyla Cabret can remember, diversity has been a priority at Aflac. Years before companies started boasting equity and inclusion initiatives, the insurance giant was creating diverse pipelines, recruiting Black high school students in Columbus, Georgia, for its internship program.
Thatâ€™s how Cabret got her start at the company: In 1995, the then high school sophomore worked two hours a day as a part-time human resources intern. Some 26 years later, sheâ€™s come full circle as Aflacâ€™s director of diversity, equity and inclusion.
â€śItâ€™s been a life-building investment. That was an investment in me and the program the company had. Iâ€™m really proud of the foresight we had,â€ť she says. â€śFor young professionals like myself, there has always been an opportunity here. Iâ€™ve never had an issue of seeing myself in a lead role. Iâ€™ve had plenty of examples of success.â€ť
Those examples still exist today. At the end of 2020, Aflac reported that 46% of its U.S. employees are from underrepresented communities, while 65% are women. And roughly 64% of the companyâ€™s board is made up of individuals from both of these groups.
This commitment to equity earned the insurance company No. 9 on our fourth annual list of Americaâ€™s Best Employers For Diversity. Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to survey 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees and pinpoint the companies they identified as most dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion. When compiling the list, the diversity of corporationsâ€™ boards and executive ranks were taken into account, as were DEI initiatives and recent allegations or unresolved lawsuits related to workplace diversity.
â€śDiversity is a given, inclusion is a choice, equity is a goal. Belonging is our ultimate end point.â€ť
Camille Chang Gilmore, Boston Scientificâ€™s global chief diversity officer
Since the last iteration of this list, a global pandemic and numerous social justice movements have rocked the U.S. Of the thousands of companies considered for the ranking, 60% are proactively sharing on their websites what theyâ€™re doing to promote diversity, up from 46% this time last year. Additionally, 28% now have a senior leader whose sole responsibility is DEI, up from 18% in 2020.
Employers in the education and insurance industries have the greatest presence in the top 50, accounting for 34% of the upper echelon. But the No. 1 spot on the list goes to commercial real estate firm JLL.
Ingrid Jacobs, JLLâ€™s head of diversity and inclusion, attributes this to the companyâ€™s top-down focus on creating an inclusive workplace. At the board level, for example, the company says 75% of directors represent gender or racial diversity. â€śI do feel very proud about that,â€ť Jacobs says. â€śThatâ€™s a differentiator not just in the industry, but in general.â€ť
And in the Americas, more than 8,000 of JLLâ€™s workers participate in 80-plus local chapters of 9 employee-led business resource groups, including ones called Empowerâ€“Black Professionals Network, the Asian Business Professionals Network and the Womenâ€™s Business Network.
â€śYou hear the clichĂ© that [diversity programs] drive business results,â€ť she says. â€śFor us it has and continues to do so.â€ť
In 2018, the medical device manufacturing company pledged to increase the number of people of color and women in supervisory and managerial roles to 20% (in the U.S. and Puerto Rico) and 40% (globally), respectively, by 2020. Since meeting these goals last year, Chang Gilmore says she and her colleagues have â€śput our foot on the gas,â€ť with aims to increase representation among both of these groups an additional 3% by 2023.
â€śDiversity is about three things: Diversity is a given, inclusion is a choice, equity is a goal. Belonging is our ultimate end point,â€ť Chang Gilmore says. â€śWhen you recognize those three things, you create a culture that is on fire.â€ť
By Kristin Stoller
There also needs to be an understanding of the toll that caring takes on the mental, and sometimes physical, health of the individual. The constant mental burden of ensuring that both children and the elderly are cared for needs to be recognised by managers, followed by an honest discussion with employees about how best to manage and support it.
Indigenous Americans make up less than 1% of board members for major, publicly traded businesses, according to DiversIQ analysis. Only five people among the 5,537 board members for the S&P 500 identify as fully or partially American Indian or Alaska Native.
The business touts great drive towards a more environmentally friendly and socially acceptable supply chain with a focus on packaging, emissions reduction, electrification, and inclusivity. This relies on the support of its Hellenic Bottling Company (Coca-Cola HBC), whichâ€”based in Steinhausen, Switzerlandâ€”produces a sales volume in the billions.