Colgate-Palmolive Ranked 7 in 2013 DiversityMBA 50 Out Front Companies for Diversity Leadership

Colgate-Palmolive #7

New York, NY
CEO: Ian M. Cook
CDE: Eugene Kelly
38,000 employees

For years, Colgate-Palmolive has been recognized for its commitment to building a diverse workforce and 2013 is no different. Working Mother magazine already has named the consumer products company one of the “Best Companies for Multicultural Women” and Diversity Inc. calls it one of the “Top 50 Companies for Diversity.”

Colgate executives say they strive to gain recognition for the company as a leader in global diversity and inclusion by Colgate people, customers, shareholders, industry peers, and the global communities they serve.

That commitment is reflected in Colgate-Palmolive’s top-down approach toward diversity and inclusion. For starters, 40 percent of the company’s 10-member board of directors is made up of minorities (Black, Latino, Asian). Chairman, President and CEO Ian Cook heads the Executive Diversity Council, which meets regularly with employee resource groups to develop strategies for attracting, developing and retaining its diverse workforce.

The company has also developed in-house succession planning and talent review programs that help groom multicultural workers for senior-management positions and has attached executive compensation to meeting or exceeding diversity and inclusion goals.

Women especially benefit from Colgate’s extensive programming. With 26 chapters in 36 countries, the Colgate Women’s Network gives female employees a chance to network and mentor on a global scale. And for nearly 20 years, Colgate-Palmolive has partnered up with Women Unlimited, a leadership-training program designed to prepare women for executive positions in business.

The programs have yielded results. In the company’s North America division, women make up 40 percent of all employees, 37 percent of senior managers and 29 percent of corporate executives, according to a report from the National Association of Female Executives, which also named Colgate-Palmolive one of its “Top 50 Companies for Executive Women.” Of the company’s top 10 percent of earners, 35 percent of them are women.

Colgate-Palmolive’s Employee Resource Groups aim to support the company’s initiatives to attract, develop, and retain a diverse workforce, provide personal and professional development, and networking opportunities for employees of multicultural backgrounds. These groups also are designed to provide opportunities for networking, mentoring and leadership development.

But Colgate-Palmolive doesn’t limit itself to promoting diversity internally. The company also runs a supplier diversity program designed to reach out and work with minority-owned and women-owned businesses for a number of good and services, including transportation, catering, information technology and legal services. Colgate-Palmolive has also formed partnerships with several multicultural charities, including the United Negro College Fund, Girls, Inc. and Hispanic Corporate Achievers. These programs not only help their communities, but also develop recruiting pipelines that could lead to future employment

There’s a reason global diversity is such a high priority for the company: More than 85 percent of Colgate-Palmolive’s workforce is based outside of the United States. Colgate-Palmolive has used this imperative to become one of the most progressively diverse companies in the world.

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