Steps to Success
1. Ensure there is representation from all functions in your council
2. Have an agenda that includes annual targets and checkpoints to see how they are being met
3. Clearly communicate the council’s goals, progress and plans
How does a huge corporation like Procter & Gamble (P&G), with 95,000 employees and operations in about 70 countries, get its diversity and inclusion messaging heard and acted upon? It starts very clearly with the Global Diversity Council.
The council is chaired by CEO David S. Taylor and led by William Gipson, President, End-to-End Packaging Transformation and Chief Diversity &Inclusion Officer. Gipson’s role, he notes, is very important because at P&G, the Chief Diversity Officer is a functioning line executive. “We have chosen (the last two) CDOs that are not from HR. I have other responsibilities and bring a level of credibility that allows us to test ideas. It adds weight to the position and, in my case, brings ideas of experimentation that lets us see if things work.”
The 26-member council consists of each of the function heads, executive sponsors of employee resource (affinity) groups and HR practice experts within the functions. The addition of the function heads has been recent and is important, Gipson says, “because they are the ones that source, develop and advance the talent.” The creation of the HR practices happened about nine years ago “and it is important to bring that skillset to we focus on what is actually executed.”
The council meets quarterly, mostly in person but some members dial in. The agenda is established by Gipson’s office and includes annual targets. “At P&G, everything is based on target projections and business targets and D&I targets are set the same way,” he says.
This year, for example, a big focus is on advancement of women globally. “We have really done a great job at retaining and recruiting women but advancing them to the senior levels of the organization has not occurred as quickly.”
Another focus this year in the United States is with employees of African ancestry. “We want to drive more consistency in retaining, developing and advancing them,” he says.
The council has six other focus areas – Hispanic, Asian Pacific, people with disabilities, American Indians, LGBT and U.S. veterans but for this year, the big emphasis is on global women and employees of African ancestry.
The council sets organizational goals, usually for 18 months. “We are really clear and transparent,” he says and cites the organization’s recent Staff to Win initiative, which emphasizes hiring more mid-career professionals from outside the organization and less shifting of talent between brands. The program’s stated objective is to “build a pipeline of outstanding diverse talent that delivers outstanding business results.” Goals have been set to be accomplished by 2020.
So how does P&G gets its D&I messaging out across the company? There are quarterly webcasts to all employees and D&I and cultural change is one of the big callouts. It in the company’s annual Citizenship Report, D&I is featured prominently. There is an annual D&I awards event and an annual D&I newsletter as well. And executives throughout the company have local town hall meetings and discuss culture and D&I related issues. The company’s annual survey allows employees to comment on how they feel about cultural and “diversity and inclusion are front and center,” says Gipson who notes that we have “lots of touch points through the year.
Gipson is eager to share what P&G has learned with other corporations. “People leading this work should be humble in terms of openness and willingness to learn from others. Corporations shouldn’t be in competition with each other. This has a higher order.”
This case study will appear along many others in Diversity Best Practices’ upcoming publication, The D&I Strategist Playbook. The Playbook will be your KEY resource for developing and executing your D&I strategy for impact and progress against the critical levers that drive diversity and inclusion. Be sure to be on the lookout for an opportunity to pre-order this book, coming out later this year!