JAMES B. TREECE

At Chrysler, Ford and Toyota, workplace diversity has its advantages

Automotive News | December 21, 2011 - 2:14 pm EST

I salute Chrysler, Ford, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and Toyota Financial.

They are among 190 major U.S. corporations and partnerships that achieved a perfect score on this year's Annual Corporate Equality Index, released last week by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The group evaluated 636 employers for this year's ratings.

The index rates major employers based on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace policies and benefits.

Other automotive-related companies to achieve a perfect score included 3M, Alcoa, Automatic Data Processing, Cummins, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Microsoft and TD Bank.

"Toyota is honored to be recognized by the HRC," Jerome Miller, vice president of diversity and inclusion at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said in a statement. "Diversity and inclusion are essential components of every aspect of our business. We believe building a work force that reflects the communities it serves is not only the right thing to do, but also gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace."

The key phrase there is "competitive advantage." If you're a shareholder, supplier or dealer with ties to one of these companies, you should be thrilled by that perfect score.

Every company competes for talent. When automotive recruiters try to hire the best engineers, they compete with all sorts of industries -- aerospace, computer, IT and so on -- not to mention other automotive companies. It's hard work to get the best people.

A company puts itself at a competitive disadvantage if it says, either explicitly or through its benefits package, "We want to hire you — unless you're brown, female, left-handed, Irish, Lutheran or bisexual."

Nancy Rae, Chrysler Group's senior vice president of human resources, said in a statement: "All of our employees at Chrysler contribute to the success of our company. Chrysler Group prides itself in creating an inclusive business environment in which all people and ideas are appreciated and respected."

If your company didn't achieve a perfect score, there's a good chance you're not recruiting the best people you could. And worse, you don't know who isn't even bothering to apply.

Automotive companies' ratings on the Corporate Equality Index
The index rates major employers based on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workplace policies and benefits. A perfect score is 100.
  
3M100
Advance Auto Parts30
Alcoa100
Ally Financial15
Autoliv30
Automatic Data Processing100
AutoNation15
AutoZone15
Avis Budget60
BASF90
Bridgestone70
CarMax85
Chrysler100
Cooper Tire25
Cummins100
Dana15
Dollar Thrifty80
Dow Chemical100
DuPont100
Ford100
Freescale Semiconductor80
General Motors85
Goodyear15
Group 1 Automotive15
Hertz65
Honeywell85
Illinois Tool Works60
Johnson Controls30
Lear0
Microsoft100
Nissan North America30
O'Reilly Automotive0
Penske Automotive0
Pep Boys70
Sirius XM75
Sonic Automotive15
Subaru of America85
TD Bank100
Tenneco0
Toyota Financial100
Toyota Motor Sales100
TRW Automotive10
Visteon85
Volkswagen Group of Am.90
Note: Some ratings are from publicly available records, if the company did not reply to the survey
Source: Human Rights Campaign Foundation

James B. Treece is industry editor for Automotive NewsJames B. Treece is industry editor for Automotive News

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