By Ola Snow, Chief Human Resources Officer
At Cardinal Health, diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) are business imperatives. We are deeply committed to creating a workplace where every employee can bring 100% of themselves to work every day. We firmly believe that our commitment to DE&I differentiates us as an employer and makes us more attractive to top talent around the world – thereby making our company performance stronger.
We cast our net wide, and actively recruit and develop diverse talent. We like to say that “just as you are, is just right for us.” The reason is simple: When the voices at our table are diverse and reflect the communities we support, the choices we pursue and the decisions and policies we make are better, bolder and more creative – ultimately best positioning our company for long-term sustainable growth.
Many studies link DE&I to organizational performance. According to McKinsey & Company, organizations with gender diversity and ethnic diversity respectively are 25% and 37% more likely to outperform less diverse organizations. Companies with more gender diversity – and policies about gender diversity – are likely to have lower levels of employee turnover, according to research published in “Organizational Studies.” And a study from the Boston Consulting Group shows that diversity in gender, country of origin, career path and industry background are all linked to innovation. The takeaway is simple: When talented people with diverse experiences and perspectives work together, they innovate more.
Such innovation is spurring our continued growth as a distributor and further development as a technology-driven health services company and ensuring that we can meet our customers’ changing needs today, and into the future.
Establishing representation goals for 2030
Representation matters because, though talent is evenly distributed, access and opportunity are not. That is why we have established goals for increasing representation of traditionally underrepresented people at the manager level and above. Specifically, by 2030, our workforce representation will change in the following ways:
- In the U.S., increased representation of African American and Black employees at the manager level and above to 11% (up from 5%).
- In the U.S., increased representation of Asian, Latinx, Indigenous and all other ethnically diverse groups at the manager level and above to 23% (up from 17%).
- Globally, increased representation of women at the manager level and above to 48% (up from 40%).
We continually refine our recruiting, development, succession planning and retention practices to ensure equitable access and opportunity. When these programs are successful, we will be successful in changing employee representation. (You can find more details about our expanding differentiated development programs that provide professional growth opportunities and increase access for underrepresented talent in yesterday’s announcement on our Cardinal Health Newsroom.)
Understanding diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I)
Diversity, equity and inclusion mean many things to many people. Here’s how we define them at Cardinal Health:
- Diversity means the representation of all our identities and differences (race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, nation of origin, tribe and religion), both as groups and as individuals.
- Equity focuses on closing specific access gaps to success. It means providing equal opportunities and access to all.
- Inclusion builds a culture of belonging that values the unique perspectives and contributions of all employees.
It’s important to note that equity is not interchangeable with equality – though both are important. Equality means ensuring that everyone has the same amount of resources. For instance, we focus on equality when we talk about things like equal pay for equal work, or when we mandated years ago that LGBTQ+ employees have all the same rights and protections that other groups have, even before state laws ensured equal rights.
Equity, on the other hand, brings focus to access gaps to enable success for individuals. It means distributing resources based on the needs of the recipients. Dr. Robert W. Livingston, a Harvard social psychologist, a leading expert on the science underlying bias and racism in organizations and the author of “The Conversation,” defines equity very simply: Equity is treating people differently when it makes sense.
Guided by the voices of our employees
Two distinct internal organizations are helping guide our DE&I progress. Our DE&I Steering Council, comprised of senior leaders from across the company, is charged with identifying and discussing barriers to DE&I, challenging the status quo and empowering change; while our African American and Black Racial Equity Cabinet is made up of leaders who serve as truth tellers to our senior executives, identifying and naming issues of inequity both inside and outside of our four walls.
In addition, our seven employee resource groups (ERGs) and various Multi-Cultural Communities (MCCs) create community for underrepresented populations, provide ongoing feedback to leadership, and help us recruit, develop and retain talented individuals from historically unrepresented populations.
We also maintain an active listening strategy across our enterprise, through our “Voice of the Employee” (VOE) surveys, focus groups, listening sessions and more. Then we use the feedback and insights from employees to keep learning and adapting as we move forward on our DE&I journey. This has created a continuous and dynamic dialogue with employees and helped build trust.
I am immeasurably proud to be a leader in a company that has devoted so many years and resources to building a strong DE&I foundation. And I also recognize there is more work to do, work that our CEO Mike Kaufmann and his leadership team remain committed to prioritizing.
I am thrilled that we are taking these significant steps as we continue our journey toward a workplace that is truly diverse, equitable and inclusive.
Just as you are, is just right for us.
Ola Snow is Cardinal Health’s Chief Human Resources Officer. She has a passion for diversity, equity and inclusion and serves as co-executive sponsor for the D&I Council and an advisor to the Black and African American Racial Equity Cabinet, internal groups charged with challenging the status quo and helping to advance our DEI work. Snow also serves on the board of the Cardinal Health Foundation, Baxter Credit Union and Flying Horse Farms and is a commissioner on the Columbus Women’s Commission. She is an active member of The Ohio State University’s Women and Philanthropy and Go Red for Women Circle of Red.