By Amy Epstein Gluck, FisherBrowles LLP

Lexology, December 19, 2017 —

We’ve talked about G.E.’s goals to achieve gender parity by “balancing the equation,” here, by introducing a council to inform future retention strategies, including career advancement and leadership development opportunities for women, and by implementing employee programs and benefits that engender a fair and inclusive culture where all employees can thrive.

Other companies are successfully moving the needle to advance women and other minorities too.

A big shout out to Marriott International (“Marriott”), which again landed a spot in the top ten on Fortune’s annual list of companies in the U.S. doing the most to create inclusive cultures for minorities, including LGBTQ employees and women.

Marriott came in at #7. Diverse employees’ feedback determined rankings of companies that met the “Great Place to Work-Certified Standard”– they must have 50 or more employees, and their survey results needed at least a 95% confidence level. More than 442,000 employees participated in the survey to anonymously rate their employers. “Diverse” employees included those who identified as a racial/ethnic minority, female, LGBTQ, or disabled.

That’s not all!

DiversityInc ranked Marriott as #8 for its 2017 Top 50 Companies for Diversity, and the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) recognized it as one of the Top 50 Companies For Women in 2017 (and several years past) for the policies it implements and practices that encourage the advancement of women.

Marriott’s Diversity & Inclusion initiatives are fierce.

Yeah, yeah, but what is the actual workforce demographic?

  • People of color, Latinos, and Asians on Board of Directors: 31.8% more than the Top 50;
  • Women in senior leadership positions: 37.9% and 45.1% more than the Top 10 and Top 50, respectively; and
  • Level 3 Mentoring Participation: 61.8% more than the Top 50.

Sounds like a diverse workforce, but what are some of these “policies and practices”?

How does Marriott advance women and other minorities in its workplaces?

Marriott’s Diversity Policies Programs

There are several innovative creative programs that facilitate diversity.

One way Marriott arrives at a diverse workforce is through its Global Diversity and Inclusion Council, which works to ensure women’s development and advancement in revenue-generating and global leadership roles. Headed by CEO Arne Sorenson, the Council works to integrate the company’s diversity and inclusion focus across all aspects of its global business strategy.

A second program is the Women’s Leadership Development Initiative, which focuses on leadership and development, networking and mentoring, and workforce effectiveness.

Another is “TakeCare,” Marriott’s global initiative that focuses on actually taking care of its associates’ physical, emotional, career, and financial wellbeing, while also promoting unity through a familial environment and ensuring Marriott plays a positive role in its communities.

A fourth is the Emerging Leader Program, an initiative created to increase the number of women and minorities in senior management and leadership roles. Marriott reported that, by the end of 2016, the majority of the program’s participants had already been promoted or taken on strategic development roles.

Last, but not least, is my favorite—Marriott’s “Evenings of Engagement.”

What happens is this: women in senior positions host an evening at their homes for female employees. On these evenings, senior leaders engage with managers to discuss their aspirations and share insight on how to achieve career goals and how more senior women have managed to balance a “bigger” careerwith their personal lives.

These programs and policies seemed to have accomplished a diverse workforce. Women comprise 55% of Marriott’s U.S. workforce and hold many of the most powerful jobs in the company, including President & Managing Director – Europe, Chief Financial Officer, Global Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer, Global Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer, and general manager at some of Marriott’s largest hotels. A whopping 41% of Marriott executive officers are women, and of the eleven members of Marriott’s global board of directors, four are women.

Marriott has consistently championed diversity and inclusion and been recognized for its talent development programs, landing on several “Best Places to Work” lists for years.

Keep it up, Marriott—good work!