The Secret to a Strong Bottom Line: Lessons from the Best Companies for Multicultural Women

05/20/2015 01:39 pm ET | Updated May 19, 2016

I've got a secret--a secret to a strong bottom line.

The secret is one that 25 Best Companies for Multicultural Women know: That the key growing their business is diversity. That's why women of color make up 21 percent of the 2.5 million employees represented by this year's winning class.

Within three decades, racial minorities are projected to outnumber whites in the United States--and yet at most companies, women of color are not advancing to the decision-making ranks in representative numbers.

At Best Companies such as Deloitte, Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc., IBM, Procter & Gamble and State Farm (our top 5), the focus on how to advance women of color is top of mind.

So it may be no surprise, then, that we find that:

• All 25 Best Companies offer mentoring specifically targeted to serve multicultural women employees, while 68% offer sponsorship targeted to multicultural women.

• More Best Companies (84%) are now using outside recruiters to find multicultural women talent versus a year ago (76%).

• And that 68% of the Best Companies compensate managers on their diversity results, up from 64% of Best Companies last year.

• At the Best Companies, multicultural women post higher participation rates in career counseling and network/affinity groups than any other employee group.

It is these types of policies -- and investments -- into female multicultural employees that has generated a greater representation of women of color at the very top: At the Best Companies, representation of multicultural women on boards of directors increased to 8% this year after holding steady at 4% for three years.

Have these Best Companies unlocked the full potential of women of color? No. Too few multicultural women currently hold senior manager (14%) and corporate executive positions (10%) --and they only represent 4% of the top earners. By comparison, nationwide, women of color represent "less than 10 percent of managers, a measly 3.9 percent of executives, and just 0.4 percent of CEOs," according to, quoting Catalyst findings.

Nevertheless, by creating the supports, policies and programs necessary to help change the ratio, the Best Companies are leading the way in helping multicultural women thrive in their careers.