EEOC Highlights Best Practices

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A new report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission highlights best practices in companies with innovative diversity programs.

The report, "Best Practices of Private Sector Employers," provides managers and executives with ideas for improving equal employment opportunities in their workplaces.

"The most successful companies have figured out that it makes best economic sense to draw talent and ideas from all segments of the population," the report says. "Inclusive hiring and promotion practices bring into the organization segments of the workforce that may well provide competitive advantage in the increasingly global economy."

The report describes a step-by-step approach to improving diversity. EEOC calls the approach SPLENDID, for "study, plan, lead, encourage, notice, discussion, inclusion and dedication."

Organizations, the report says, must first study the law and develop a strong background in EEO issues. Then managers need to make diversity initiatives a priority and reward employees and supervisors who take them to heart. Managers should then take notice of how diversity programs are working and analyze their impact on the organization. Discussion and inclusion should be encouraged by bringing all employees together to reinforce the message that diversity is important. And managers must show dedication by sticking with their EEO initiatives.

The report lists dozens of corporations as models of workplace diversity. IBM is lauded for considering diversity a key business value. The company has a minority recruitment program, called Project View, which matches up minority college students with IBM managers to discuss entry-level positions. IBM also has a mentoring program to help employees learn new skills from higher-ranking professionals. The company also created a program called Open Door that reviews manager-employee disputes, including those involving EEO issues. Since it first started a diversity program in 1962, IBM has increased its minority population from 1.5 percent of its workforce to 19.4 percent. More than 2,400 minorities and women have ascended into the cmopany's senior management ranks.

The report also emphasizes the importance of management commitment and accountability. For example, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Dial Corp. includes affirmative action goals in its managers' performance reviews. The company also requires managers to attend a training course on civil treatment of employees.

EEOC Commissioner Reginald Jones created the report at the request of Chairman Gilbert Casellas, who retired at the end of 1997.

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