Being good at diversity and inclusion is not an option at Verizon. With more than 180,000 employees serving customers in more than 2,700 cities spanning more than 150 countries, Verizon is privileged to serve “a very vibrant and diverse marketplace,” said Magda Yrizarry, the company’s chief talent and diversity officer. “Being successful with a customer base like this is not possible without a diversity of people, ideas and experiences,” Yrizarry said.
The official credo of the New York City-based company with regard to diversity and inclusion is crisp and clear: “We embrace diversity and personal development not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s smart business.” The company’s commitment to diversity – which starts at the top, weaves itself throughout the company’s operations and undergirds its employee recruitment process – is impressive. Verizon is Diversity MBA Magazine’s No. 1 company in our 2013 Best Places For Diverse Managers & Women to Work
Verizon’s diversity framework encompasses five elements in an integrated shared accountability model, including:
- A diverse workforce that reflects the company’s markets,
- An inclusive workplace with zero tolerance for discrimination,
- Diverse community partnerships with charitable grants to organizations and benchmarking with best in class providers,
- Doing business with diverse suppliers, and
- Serving diverse customers by offering services and products that match their needs and lifestyles.
Verizon not only works hard to recruit top talent, but it is also at it every day promoting education among young students in order to help increase the pool of available talent. As a technology company, Verizon is competing in one of the most rapidly growing and changing industries. As such, competition for top talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is fierce. That’s why Verizon, through its various partnerships and sponsorships, promotes STEM-focused curricula at the high school and college level, particularly among diverse students.
For example, Verizon works closely with the National Academy Foundation (NAF) to get high school students interested in a STEM-related major in college. Through the company’s employee resource group for women, WAVE, Verizon ran a “one million girls in STEM” initiative where its employees met with students to educate them on what careers in engineering looked like, what the educational requirements were, and helped interested students get engaged in the necessary next steps. Last year, Verizon even placed a diverse group of 20 NAF students into hands-on internships. Verizon’s Chairman & CEO, Lowell McAdam, also serves on the NAF board.
Over the years, Verizon has created a total career package to nurture and develop its diverse talent. Leadership programs such as the Verizon Leadership Development Program, Competitive Advantage and Leading a Connected World identify high-potential employees and, through workshops and mentoring, help prepare them for future leadership roles in the company. As a result, people of color make up 27 percent of senior management at Verizon. This investment in its employees’ careers really resonates with potential job candidates. “Our strong embedded base of diverse leadership gives us a really authentic story to tell,” said Yrizarry.
Recruitment of diverse talent is a year-round job at Verizon that goes way beyond college career fairs. The company maintains close relationships with partners such as the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, and Hispanic Business Students and Professionals. It’s through these partnerships that Verizon can network and create important connections with top talent.
Verizon has a proud tradition of outreach to the female community, whether it’s to its own employees or in the communities it serves. Women and people of color make up about 60 percent of the company’s board of directors, while women specifically make up 37 percent of senior management. The company hosts an annual Global Women’s Summit where it brings women leaders from both inside and outside the corporation in to present to female employees on their professional experiences and to provide advice on how they can empower themselves and move into leadership roles.
Verizon’s employee benefits are also a strong indicator of the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. It was among the first corporations to provide benefits to same-sex couples in domestic partnerships and it provides a number of free preventative care services to women, such as on-site mammography screenings, through its health-and-wellness program. The health and wellness program also provides employees access to 45 on-site fitness centers that provide personal, one-on-one fitness, health and nutritional training for only $15 a month.
The company is especially proud of its efforts recruiting military veterans and the benefits it provides the 11,000 veterans currently employed at Verizon. Military reservists who are called in for active duty are given up to 36 months of pay differential and continuation of benefits while they serve their country, and have their job waiting for them when they return. Through the Verizon Veteran Advisory Board, more than 400 Veteran employees work to support newly hired veterans with their transition into the company.
“Verizon is a diverse company in its people, ideas, services, and the communities it serves,” Yrizarry said. “Our workplace culture ensures that everyone, no matter their ethnicity or background, has opportunities to contribute to the solutions required to stay relevant and competitive in the marketplace, grow professionally and advance their career.”
McAdam added: “A diverse workplace is one of Verizon’s biggest strengths. As a global innovation leader, our employees’ unique backgrounds and perspectives are key to our success.”