Business

How These Companies Embraced Diversity

Kimberly-Clark and Axxess made empowering women a priority.

Kimberly-Clark

43,000 employees

In 2010, a data analysis showed that just nine of its top 100 managers were women. So CEO Tom Falk set a new course. Women were stagnating in middle management, and Falk developed a plan to help them break out. The company began engaging in succession planning to get more women into executive roles. It identified potential leaders and exposed them to different departments. It began recruiting women candidates to serve on its board of directors. Kimberly-Clark also instituted a new flex work program, which let new mothers work from home and stay on a management track while raising their children. Since this initiative, the company’s stock price has about doubled. “We don’t think that’s a coincidence,” says Sue Sears, the company’s vice president for diversity and inclusion.

Axxess

200 employees

The employee makeup at this young, Dallas-based healthcare tech company is 50/50 men to women, all the way up to its senior management. Diversity, says VP of HR Melody Lenox, is in its DNA—and has been from the beginning. Employees interview with a senior leader to develop a career path. Management hopefuls have access to mentorship programs and attend leadership meetings. Parents are offered flexible schedules. “That diversity thinking, that inclusiveness, it’s not widely embraced or practiced throughout the technology industry,” Lenox says. “But diversity should be a priority because it really can positively impact our bottom lines.”

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