Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index
Measuring the Fortune 100’s commitment to religious inclusion
Foreword: The Law and the Bottom Line
In the United States, under the laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):
it is illegal for employers to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information;
and an employer is required to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause difficulty or expense for the employer. This means an employer may have to make reasonable adjustments at work that will allow the employee to practice his or her religion, such as allowing an employee to voluntarily swap shifts with a co-worker so that he or she can attend religious services.
Laws concerning accommodation of religion, freedom of speech and protection against oppressive work environments have informed companies’ minimum requirements for accommodation of religion. As corporate America has become increasingly focused on creating environments where people can bring their whole selves to work regardless of their backgrounds or abilities, some companies are embracing diversity practices that go beyond the minimum legal requirements for accommodation. This focus on diversity comes in the wake of overwhelming research and evidence showing that a company’s bottom line grows when it values each employee’s uniqueness and equitably includes diverse perspectives in the workplace.
Most of America’s Fortune 100 companies have well-developed diversity, equity and inclusion programs, sometimes headed by a senior C-suite director. Many also include company-sponsored employee resource groups (ERGs) that support people from these protected categories.
Of the identities protected by the EEOC mentioned above, one stands out as being under-addressed by America’s largest companies: religion. Our content analysis of the main diversity and inclusion landing pages of Fortune 100 companies shows that religion receives less attention than all the other major identity categories: race/ethnicity, women/gender, sexual orientation, veterans/military, dis/ability, age, and family.
Our research, however, also indicates that corporate America is at a tipping point toward giving religion similar attention to that given the other major diversity categories, especially as our nation is becoming more religiously diverse with no one religious denomination holding a majority. Indeed, including religion is a litmus test for whether a company fully embraces diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Brian J. Grim, Ph.D.
- Religious Freedom & Business Foundation
Executive Summary: Corporations Overlooking Religion
This first-of-its-kind study by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) establishes a benchmark for annual assessments of the state of Corporate America’s inclusion of religion as an integral part of its diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Based on a careful analysis (double-blind coding, i.e., counting and categorization) of the main online diversity and inclusion landing pages of Fortune 100 companies, related Employee Resource Group (ERG) data and other criteria, RFBF has ranked companies’ public commitment to inclusive, faith-friendly workplaces. See REDI Index Methodology and Topline for further details.
The findings are striking. Corporations continue to overlook religious inclusion while emphasizing other diversity classifications by a factor of 34-to-1. Such an oversight can be costly, as seen in various cases ranging from a $21 million court finding against Hilton for not reasonably accommodating the religious needs of a dishwasher5 to Abercrombie & Fitch’s high-profile Supreme Court decision against them for putting their “looks policy” above religious nondiscrimination.6 Also, by overlooking religious diversity, companies can seem to devalue what many employees consider to be their core identity, leading to discouragement, disengagement and unproductiveness.
Of the identities protected by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), religion clearly stands out as being significantly under-addressed by America’s largest companies. Our content analysis of the public diversity and inclusion resources of Fortune 100 companies shows that religion receives less attention than all the other major identity categories: race/ethnicity, women/gender, sexual orientation, veterans/military, dis/ability, age, and family.
RFBF’s analysis shows that religion was mentioned by less than half (43%) of company diversity homepages. In fact, 57 of the Fortune 100 presently make no mention of religion or faith. Of the 43 that do mention religion, about half of those only make a single reference, often only as a part of a boilerplate nondiscrimination statement.
The gap between the attention paid by Fortune 100 companies to religion verses other forms of identity is also evident when looking at the types of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that Fortune 100 companies sponsor. RFBF’s analysis shows that fewer than 1-in-5 (18%) of companies mention having faith-related ERGs. Only about 1-in-20 of all ERGs (38 of 775) are related to faith, interfaith, religion or specific religions.
RFBF’s new Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index ranked the top religion-friendly Fortune 100 companies for the first time. Alphabet/Google, Intel, Tyson Foods, Target, Facebook, American Airlines, Apple, Dell, American Express and Goldman Sachs take the top spots among Fortune 100.
The level of focus companies place on each of the seven EEOC diversity categories is higher among companies that publicly acknowledge religion than among companies that do not. Consequently, companies and workplaces that place focus on religious inclusion are more inclusive as a whole.
We refer to this positive association between companies that place a focus on religious inclusion and their commitment to the other categories of diversity as a “religion dividend.” For example, companies focusing on religion score 69% higher on age inclusion, 63% higher on veterans/military inclusion, 60% higher on dis/ability inclusion, and 47% higher on race/ethnicity inclusion. Sizable religion dividends include companies acknowledging religion scoring 35% higher for women/gender inclusion and 31% higher on family inclusion. While the religion dividend for sexual orientation is only 4%, it is still notable that the relationship is positive. This new finding also coincides with previous RFBF global research showing that religious freedom fosters a positive environment for LGBT people, and that LGBT rights are increasing in countries with higher levels of religious freedom.
Despite corporate America’s general neglect of religion as part of their diversity and inclusion initiatives, there are indications that we are approaching a tipping point where American workplaces are looking to become more faith-friendly. For example: Walmart, the nation’s largest company, has launched its first interfaith ERG in fall 2019. Larger players are beginning to realize that employee retention, productivity and well-being are linked to respecting expressions of faith in some form in the workplace.
Corporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Largely Overlooks Religion
Corporate America largely overlooks religion as part of their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, according to this first of its kind study by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) of the diversity and inclusion landing pages of Fortune 100 companies.
RFBF’s analysis shows that religion was mentioned on less than half (43%) of the landing pages, and only mentioned a total of 92 times across those pages, as shown in the bar charts. In fact, 57 of the Fortune 100 diversity and inclusion landing pages make no mention of religion or faith at all, and of the 43 that do, about half of those only make a single mention, sometimes only as a part of a boilerplate nondiscrimination statement (see REDI Index Topline).
By comparison, almost all (95%) of Fortune 100 diversity pages mentioned race/ ethnicity, with a total of 1,058 mentions, which is more than eleven times the number of religion mentions. Women/gender was mentioned on nearly 9-in-10 (87%) pages, with seven times as many mentions (658) as religion. Sexual orientation, veterans/military, dis/ability, and age all had significantly more mentions (76%, 73%, 69% and 67% respectively), with between two and four times as many total mentions (380, 350, 413 and 179, respectively) as religion. Only family had a similarly low share of company mentions (42%) and total mentions (127).
The discrepancy between the attention paid by Fortune 100 companies to religious verses other forms of identity is also evident when looking at the types of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that Fortune 100 companies sponsor. RFBF’s analysis shows that fewer than 1-in-5 (18%) companies mention faith-related ERGs on their websites. Moreover, of the 775 ERGs mentioned on Fortune 100 websites, only 38 are related to faith, interfaith, religion or specific religions, as shown in the chart below. That’s a mere 5% of all ERGs.
By comparison, 3-in-4 companies have groups based around race/ethnicity, women/gender, sexual orientation, and veterans/military. Significantly more companies also have groups related to dis/ability (66%), age (44%), and family (39%) than have religion-related groups (18%). … continued top of next column ↑
Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index
Alphabet/Google, Tyson Foods, Intel, Target, Facebook, American Airlines, Apple, Dell, Goldman Sachs and American Express take the top spots among Fortune 100 companies on the Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Index (REDI), as shown in the following table (see REDI Index Topline for full scores).
REDI Index Top Ten
The following text is taken directly from company sources (with some light editing) to demonstrate how each company frames the importance of faith in their workplace environment. Links are provided to the company pages.
#1. Alphabet/Google scores highest on the REDI because of the number and diversity of faith- and belief-based Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) mentioned on the company’s website. Google’s Inter Belief Network (IBN) aims to create a culture of inclusion, tolerance, and mutual understanding at Google for a diversity of beliefs, where Googlers of all beliefs feel welcome, included, and supported. Google’s Inter Belief Network also aims to ensure that the voices of belief-based communities are represented in Google’s products. IBN consists of multiple member chapters representing specific communities of interest, including but not limited to Buddhists, Christians, Jewglers [Google’s term], and Muslims.
#2 (tie). Intel strives to provide an environment where employees from diverse backgrounds are valued, respected, challenged, acknowledged, and rewarded so they can achieve their potential and fulfill their career aspirations. Intel encourages employee connection through their network of Intel Chartered Employee Resource Groups. Intel’s groups unite around a significant common affinity or element of their personal identity and are focused on internal and external activities that build an environment of inclusion. Through recruiting, networking, mentoring, resource sharing and sponsored development events, Intel’s Employee Resource Groups are an important part of their culture and aim to show that Intel is a great place to work. Intel’s Employee Resource Groups related to faith and belief include: Agnostics and Atheists at Intel (AAI), Intel Bible-Based Christian Network (IBCN); Intel Jewish Community (IJC), and Intel Muslim Employee Group (IMEG).
#2 (tie). Tyson Foods believes that when all beliefs and ideas are expressed in the workplace, everyone benefits. At Tyson Foods, faith and spiritual commitments are valued and respected. Tyson Foods’ culture is what they call, “faith-friendly.” Many of their team members come to work with a set of beliefs about themselves, their world and how they should live in it. Tyson Foods’ welcomes the whole person, when it comes to matters of faith, even those who don’t identify as “religious.” Tyson Foods’ team members’ beliefs matter and their respectful expressions are welcomed. Ninety-eight dedicated chaplains provide compassionate pastoral care to team members and their families, no matter what their religious affiliation or beliefs might be. Some 122,000 Team Members can reach out at any time to a dedicated chaplain when they need to someone to listen to them, encourage them, or even pray with them if they wish. Tyson Foods’ chairman helped coordinate the first group of chaplains, who began their service in October of 2000.
#4. Target aims to foster inclusion among team members of all religions and faiths. Target’s faith-oriented ERGs include their Christian, Jewish and Muslim Networks. These groups are part of Target’s networks that provide community, support and connection to their team members.
#5 (tie). American Airlines’ goal is to provide an inclusive environment for all. American Airlines’ Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) leads diversity efforts across the company by fostering company-wide educational, community service and personal enrichment opportunities. The council also supports local Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs), which represent many employees and their beliefs, nationalities and backgrounds. Faith-related groups include Christian, Jewish and Muslim Employee Business Resource Groups.
#5 (tie). Facebook welcomes employees from all faiths and spiritual groups to practice and celebrate their beliefs. Facebook Resource Groups provide all Facebook employees with a platform to celebrate culture, connect and engage with colleagues, support professional development, community engagement and drive initiatives that support Facebook’s business objectives. Facebook’s Interfaith@Facebook Resource Group is one of several influential networks of people within the company who share similar values of supporting and encouraging diversity
#7. Apple employees find community and connection in Apple’s Diversity Network Associations, which are employee-led groups that foster a culture of belonging through education, leadership programs, and networking. Today thousands of Apple employees belong to various Diversity Network Associations including a range of faith-based groups.
#8. Dell’s team members come from all backgrounds, religions, nationalities, gender orientations and races. Race, ethnicity and culture (socio-economic status, religion, language) are dimensions of diversity that often create barriers to full equity and inclusion in parts of the world. Dell’s Interfaith Employee Resource Group – along with other ERGs in the company – creates impact by: (a) connecting over 37K+ team members across more than 340+ chapters worldwide, furthering an inclusive work environment; (b) encouraging career progression by providing opportunities to engage with executives and a broad network of peers; (c) giving team members a place to share ideas for market intelligence and product development; and (d) creating a sense of community to build enduring relationships inside and outside of Dell.
#9 (tie). American Express’s Employee Networks have brought together people with shared backgrounds and interests to engage with and learn from each other since 1987. Organically grown and employee driven, American Express Employee Networks broaden participants’ community of colleagues, as well as their knowledge of the business by driving employee engagement and promoting a culture of inclusion. With 16 networks and nearly 100 chapters globally, American Express Employee Networks encompass the full spectrum of diversity at American Express including disability, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, generations, sexual orientation and veteran’s status. Faith-oriented groups include: (a) Christian Employee Network (SALT), which serves as a resource group for the Christian employee community. Its members strive to make a positive difference in the workplace by demonstrating a commitment to the values and leadership principles set forth by the company. SALT is open to all denominations. (b) Jewish Employee Network (CHAI), from the Hebrew word meaning “life,” hosts educational and community- oriented events to foster awareness of Jewish culture. (c) Muslim Employee Network (PEACE) fosters an environment of awareness, understanding and education through lunch and learns, informational booths and participation in community activities to counter the stereotypes and misinformation surrounding Islam and Muslims.
#9 (tie). Goldman Sachs’ employee affinity networks and interest forums – including their Informal Religious Support Groups – are open to all professionals at Goldman Sachs. They offer training and educational programs, create networking forums, host leadership conferences, and sponsor client events. These groups provide an opportunity for Goldman Sachs’ people to share concerns and feedback, and to develop professional relationships with those from other business units and divisions. Additionally, they help their people to identify opportunities for professional development and advancement to help them achieve their full potential.
About the REDI Index
The REDI is an annual composite 0-100 score calculated by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation for Fortune 100 companies (and eventually all Fortune 500 companies) formed by adding together the following three weighted measures, also shown in the table below.
1. A content analysis of the company’s main diversity and inclusion landing page online. For comparability across companies, only the main page, and not linked pages, are coded.
2. The number and diversity of faith-and belief-based Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) mentioned on the company’s main public diversity and inclusion landing page – the public face of the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives – or a separate ERG page (including atheist/agnostic ERGs).
3. Concrete indicators of the company’s accountability related to workplace religious equity, diversity & inclusion and freedom of religion or belief as shown by signing on to the Corporate Pledge on Religious Diversity & Inclusion, providing training for employees and managers on workplace religious equity, diversity and inclusion, and annually completing the Corporate Religious Diversity Assessment (CRDA).
At present, no companies received points on the third component, accountability, and only received scores on the first two components. Although the Corporate Pledge was launched in 2016 and the CRDA in 2019, no Fortune 100 companies have yet completed them or the related training.
Key finding: Companies Scoring Better on REDI Also Score Better on All Other Diversity Areas
As part of the initial launch of the Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) analyzed the level of attention Fortune 100 companies place not only on religion, but also the following categories: race/ethnicity, women/gender, sexual orientation, veterans/military, dis/ability, age, and family (see “Topline for Diversity Other Than Religion“). RFBF calculated scores for each category by summing the mentions of each topic on the companies’ diversity and inclusion pages along with the weighted score for the number and diversity of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) related to each category.
We then calculate the average score for each category among the 48 companies that do not acknowledge religion on their diversity and inclusion or ERGs landing pages as well as for the 53 companies that have some acknowledgement of religion (including images or videos) on their diversity and inclusion or ERGs landing pages. This allows us to then calculate a “religion dividend” (an indication of the positive association of acknowledging religion with the company’s commitment to the other categories of diversity) by subtracting the average category score for the 48 companies not acknowledging religion from the average score for the 53 companies that have some acknowledgement of religion, as shown in the table below. Note that the range of diversity category scores reflect the amount of attention companies pay to each. Therefore, the better gauge of the religion dividend is the percentage increase in the category score.
The level of focus companies place on each of the seven diversity categories is higher among companies that acknowledge religion than among companies that do not. We refer to this positive association between companies that place focus on religious inclusion and their commitment to the other categories of diversity as a “religion dividend.” For example, companies focusing on religion score 69% higher on age inclusion, 63% higher on veterans/military inclusion, 60% higher on dis/ability inclusion, and 47% higher on race/ethnicity inclusion. Sizable “religion dividends” include companies acknowledging religion scoring 35% higher for women/gender inclusion and 31% higher on family inclusion. While the smallest religion dividend is for sexual orientation (scoring 4% higher), it is still notable that the relationship is positive. This also coincides with global RFBF research showing that religious freedom fosters a positive environment for LGBT people, and that LGBT rights are increasing in countries with higher levels of religious freedom.
Tipping Point: Impact of Accenture, Salesforce, Texas Instruments and Walmart
Despite corporate America’s general exclusion of religion as part of their diversity and inclusion initiatives, there are indications that we are approaching a tipping point where American workplaces will become more faith-friendly. Evidence for this includes:
• Walmart, the nation’s largest company, has launched its first ever interfaith ERG in fall 2019. Once the biggest player enters the field, the rest will follow.
• PayPal planned to launch their interfaith ERG in December 2019.
• In addition to what is advertised on company web pages, we have identified many companies that have faith-oriented ERGs, including: Accenture, Aetna, American Airlines, American Express, Ameriprise Financial, AOL, Apple, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bosch, BNP Paribas, Cargill, CDC, Chrysler, Cisco, Coca Cola, CVS, Dell, Deloitte, Ecolab, EMC, Exxon Mobile, Facebook, Fannie Mae, Fiat, Ford, GE, Google, GTB, HP, Intel, Intuit, IRS, JP Morgan Chase, KeHE, Key Bank, LinkedIn, Maricopa County, Medtronic, Merck, MSN, Northwestern Mutual, Rockwell Automation, Salesforce, Sears, Target, Texas Instruments, Thomson Reuters, Toyota, and Walmart.
• The fastest growing employee resource group at Salesforce is Faithforce.
• Texas Instruments just hosted a forum on religious diversity and inclusion at their global headquarters in Dallas, attracting participants from more than 30 different companies and organizations including American Airlines, American Heart Association, AppDynamics, AT&T, just to list the companies at the beginning of the alphabet that had participants.
REDI Index Topline
Scores are weighted as indicated; duplicate rankings reflect tie scores. All scores in the first category (Mentions) are based on RFBF content analysis of the company’s main diversity and inclusion landing page without following links to added resources. This is to ensure comparability across companies (i.e., comparing what the company puts forth as its main message(s) on diversity, equity and inclusion). Total Mentions do not double count points for Video, Images or Boiler Plate. The second category (ERGs) looks on the company’s website more broadly for any mention of faith-related employee resource groups. Regarding the third category (Corporate Accountability), no Fortune 100 companies have yet signed the Corporate Pledge on Workplace Religious Diversity & Inclusion, taken the Corporate Religious Diversity Assessment (CRDA), or completed RFBF training on workplace religious diversity & inclusion. If corporations have evidence of having conducted religion-specific diversity trainings from other training providers, scores can be amended accordingly.
* The scores for Tyson Foods reflect the landing page for their main workplace religious engagement initiative, Chaplaincy, which is not covered on their diversity landing page.
** Dow and DuPont have merged. However, as of this analysis, they still maintain separate diversity and inclusion pages, so each was coded separately.
*** Companies on this list may already have or have recently added faith as one of their employee resource groups, as Walmart has. However, a search of their broader websites did not return results for these groups and are therefore uncounted in this analysis of the public diversity and inclusion face of the corporations as represented by their main diversity landing pages.
**** These companies may have engaged in faith-related initiatives, such as Disney cosponsoring annual religious diversity leadership summits. However, for purposes of coding the company’s public face on workplace religious diversity and inclusion, if their corporate diversity landing page makes no mention of such initiative, they are not registered in the scoring.
***** U.S. Fortune 100 list as of July 2019. Web pages last accessed November 20, 2019.
Methodology, Reliability, Validity and Limitations (PDF)
The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation had a dedicated research team code, i.e., categorize and count, protected groups of people referred to on the main workplace diversity and inclusion landing pages of Fortune 100 companies. We coded the content into the following categories: race/ethnicity; women/gender; abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation/gender identity; veterans/military; age; family; and religion. Some topics may have counted in more than one category. For instance, if a company has a diversity program to empower Latinas, it was coded as a mention of both Race/Ethnicity and Women/Gender. We also identified employee resource groups (ERGs) in each of these companies based on information from their websites and coded them according to the same categories. The links to the pages used are in the “Topline for Diversity Other Than Religion” results. Web pages were coded in summer/fall 2019.
For reliability, we double blind coded every company with separate coders. Inter-rater reliability was high.
For validity, we compare the results to our separate analysis of the content of CEOAction.com, which has a repository of diversity and inclusion initiatives and ideas from companies represented by some 700 CEOs who have signed the CEO Action Pledge on diversity and inclusion (see following charts). The results are almost identical, indicating that our results are valid since they are mirrored almost exactly in a completely separate data source.
Limitations: To ensure comparability across companies, RFBF only looked at the main diversity and inclusion landing page for each company without following any links that took us to a separate page, such as corporate social responsibility reports or more in depth discussion of certain diversity programs. This limited counting additional mentions of the categories coded. This would have further skewed the results because we did not observe religion ever being a topic that had its own separate page, with the exception of Target, which is where information on their faith-oriented ERGs was reported.
For the ERG coding, we searched throughout the companies websites to find the place where ERGs were discussed. We did not, however, use any sources external to the companies own websites.
The main limitation is that no Fortune 100 companies have yet disclosed that they have (a) done specialized training on religious diversity and inclusion or (b) self-reported on their diversity initiatives related to religion using the Corporate Religious Diversity Assessment (CRDA) tool rolled out in February 2019. Because the CRDA is a major part of the index, which includes reporting on programs and policies that are not public, we anticipate that as companies make use of this tool that subsequent years’ REDI index will have much more detail on the degree to which corporate America is including religion as part of their diversity initiatives.