The business case for workforce diversity is compelling. McKinsey & Company, for example, found in 2015, and in a larger study in 2017 that highly diverse executive teams had higher returns on equity and earnings performance than those with low diversity. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21 percent more likely to have industry-leading profitability. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity were 33 percent more likely to have industry-leading profitability.
In 2019, Marriott’s CEO signed the Business Roundtable’s “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation,” joining 180 chief executives who publicly commit to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders—customers, employees, suppliers, communities, the environment and shareholders. Further, Marriott states “our Company has one of the most diverse and inclusive workforces and we value the differences of our associates as a strategic business priority.” However, Marriott does not disclose comprehensive workforce data or share results of its efforts to expand diversity and foster inclusion thereby leaving one with an insufficient understanding of successes or challenges.
Peer companies including Starbucks, McDonalds and Nike publish workforce composition data by race, ethnicity and/or gender as well as approaches to foster inclusion and expand diversity in their employment. Several companies have set targets including Intel which set measurable targets for raising the percentage of women and underrepresented minorities in its workforce. Symantec created a sub-goal of increasing the percentage of women in leadership (Director-level and above) to 30 percent by 2020. Financial services sector companies similarly have begun setting diversity targets. Citigroup, in August 2018, announced plans to reverse “falling diversity” by setting public quantitative goals and holding senior leaders accountable for meeting them.
Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion as business and social imperatives. Leveraging the contributions of a diverse employee population creates an environment in which individual differences and capabilities are valued. Further, operationalizing an effective inclusion and diversity strategy requires inclusive leadership and goal setting. Companies that hold themselves publicly accountable to diversity goals are more likely to make rapid progress toward achieving those goals.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that Marriott prepare a diversity report, at reasonable cost and omitting confidential information, available to investors including:
1. A chart identifying employees according to gender and race in major EEOC-defined job categories, listing numbers or percentages in each category;
2. A description of policies/programs focused on increasing diversity in the workplace.
Supporting Statement: A report adequate for investors to assess strategy and performance would include disclosures, such as a review of appropriate time-bound benchmarks for judging current and future progress, and practices in use to ensure progress can be achieved, for example, the extent to which incentive compensation packages include diversity and inclusion goals for named executive officers.