For the fourth straight year, Facebook released its annual diversity update for 2016 as part of an effort to increase accountability for making its workforce more inclusive of women and underrepresented minorities. The numbers revealed only slight progress, but given the considerable rise in employee headcount (nearly 3x since 2014) and investments made in long-term diversity initiatives, the progress is encouraging.
Now at over 17,000 employees, Facebook grew the proportion of women in its ranks by 2 percent since 2015, to 35 percent of the global workforce. Women’s numbers also rose by 2 percent in technical jobs to 19 percent while the percentage of women in leadership increased from 27 to 28 percent and is up four percentage points from 2014.
Black and Hispanic presence in the US has grown as well, each by one percent, now at 3 and 5 percent respectively. Minority presence in senior leadership, however, remained stagnant across Asian, black, and Hispanic Americans, and has hardly grown since 2014.
“For every increase in representation for an under-represented group, it means we are hiring them at rates that are higher than the rates we are for majority groups,” Facebook’s Global Director of Diversity, Maxine Williams, told Recode. “To outpace means there is a deliberate driving engine behind it.”
Williams credits a number of programs for the tech giant’s diversity progress and is optimistic for greater returns in the coming years. All of Facebook’s senior leaders and 75 percent of employees overall have taken its optional training program to address unconscious bias. Two newer courses, Managing Inclusion and Be an Ally, are also helping the cause. Managing Inclusion seeks to make leaders aware of the issues minorities face inside and outside of the workplace, while Be an Ally is designed to confirm the stance that diversity benefits the company and everyone in it.
“What you see in our numbers is a multi-year investment starting to pay off,” Facebook’s VP of People Lori Goler told Fortune.
Screenshot/CEO ACTION Participant List
The CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, launched on Monday, is an alliance of major US companies whose chief executives have agreed to work towards advancing diversity and inclusion in corporate America both individually and collectively. The CEOs pledge to “continue to make our workplaces trusting places to have complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion,” to expand unconscious bias education in their companies, and to learn from each other both by sharing best practices and by being honest about what doesn’t work. Notably, the pledge frames diversity as both a social issue and a business opportunity:
The persistent inequities across our country underscore our urgent, national need to address and alleviate racial, ethnic and other tensions and to promote diversity within our communities. As leaders of some of America’s largest corporations, we manage thousands of employees and play a critical role in ensuring that inclusion is core to our workplace culture and that our businesses are representative of the communities we serve. Moreover, we know that diversity is good for the economy; it improves corporate performance, drives growth and enhances employee engagement. Simply put, organizations with diverse teams perform better.
Participants in the initiative include around 175 companies, including some of the largest employers in the US like Cisco, HP, Home Depot, IBM, Kroger, PepsiCo, Target, and Walmart. The CEO Action is the brainchild of Tim Ryan, the US chairman of PwC, who began assembling the coalition in February and soon found many of his fellow executives were enthusiastic to take part, Fortune’s Ellen McGirt explains:
Last week, PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that it was making unconscious bias training mandatory for all new hires or employees who receive promotions, Kellye Whitney reported at CLO:
PwC announced this week that to be promoted or to join the firm as a new hire — currently more than 17,000 new hires join the firm each year — an individual must complete “blind spots” training, created to help people recognize unconscious bias related to ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. PwC’s new 4REAL (Recognize/Explore/Act/Learn) series is a video training curriculum developed to help people make better decisions, drive more inclusive actions and potentially have a positive impact on its teams, clients and, ultimately, society.
PwC was also the force behind the online “Gender IQ” training course launched in October by UN Women’s HeForShe initiative, which the accounting firm developed in-house as a voluntary program for employees. Chief Executive writer Dale Buss hears more from PwC’s US Chairman Tim Ryan about what motivated the firm to make bias training mandatory:
“The recent election [was] a very emotional one for many,” Ryan told Chief Executive. “At a time when it’s easy to focus on our differences, we need to act using our values. Doubling down on diversity [is] a reminder that I fully intend to put our values and purpose into action, reinforcing diversity as a core component of PwC and being a leader within the business community.” …
Unconscious bias is one of the most important and most difficult problems organizations face in advancing diversity and inclusion. At CEB’s ReimagineHR event in Miami in September, D&I leaders identified it as a key challenge that many leaders and HR practitioners are still learning about. At Fortune, Laura Cohn points to a new online training course developed by UN Women’s HeForShe initiative in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers that aims to raise awareness of unconscious gender bias and improve participants’ “Gender IQ”:
The course starts with a video of Elizabeth Nyamayaro, who heads the UN’s HeForShe campaign, talking about the reasons behind the program. In the video, she notes that every day, women and girls “are denied basic human rights—we need to do something about that.” It then goes on to explain that the session will not only help you see how unconscious assumptions mold gender norms, roles and relations, it will help you understand the costs involved.
At CEB’s ReimagineHR event in Miami on Thursday, diversity and inclusion leaders from a wide range of organizations gathered to share ideas and discuss common challenges in a peer benchmarking session. Participants in the session answered a series of live survey questions, launching into conversations about their experience implementing their D&I programs. The discussion covered D&I’s place in the organization, how to get both employees and executives to commit to these projects and hold them accountable for those commitments, and strategies for implementing D&I practices effectively. These are some of the key takeaways from this benchmarking activity:
1) D&I programs vary widely in terms of maturity:
The most progressive organizations have been working on diversity and inclusion for years now, but others are just getting started. Accordingly, Thursday’s benchmarking session revealed considerable variation among organizations when it came to how far along their programs were at implementing common practices in the D&I space. Nearly half of the participants said their organizations did not directly manage accountability for D&I among their leadership, while 16 percent said they don’t have employee resource groups, 30 percent don’t use HR business partners to support their D&I programs, 19 percent don’t focus on diversity recruiting, and 23 percent don’t maintain a D&I dashboard or scorecard. The maturity of an organization’s D&I program doesn’t necessarily correlate with its size, sector, or age; each organization’s journey toward embracing D&I is to a great extent individually determined.