Leadership

3 reasons why 150 CEOs took this major pledge to help US businesses

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, one of the companies in the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion alliance
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, one of the companies in the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion alliance

The American workplace has been under scrutiny over the past several years as workers across many industries — ranging from fashion to technology — have become increasingly vocal about the lack of diversity and inclusion at their companies.

To address this issue, 150 CEOs from some of the largest U.S. companies recently committed to a new initiative called CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. The alliance of executives is meant to "foster a more open discussion about race and gender in the workplace," the New York Times reports.

Notably, the group claims it is the largest collection of business leaders spanning different industries committing to sharing successful diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Companies that have joined the initiative include AT&T, S & P Global, PepsiCo, Major League Baseball and IBM. Here's the full list of those who pledged.

These are three reasons why this pledge could benefit the U.S. business community:

1. It will raise awareness

The alliance hopes to start a broader conversation on workplace diversity to inspire other leaders.

"This initiative will help raise awareness of the needs of businesses and institutions to take an active role in fostering greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and importantly create opportunities for companies to learn from the experiences of others," Damon Jones, communications director for P&G who is part of the coalition team, tells CNBC.

2. Companies will share best practices (and challenges)

Jones also says the companies will come together to talk about their challenges and lessons learned at a summit later this year.

"This is driven by the belief that working together companies can achieve more than they could on their own," Jones says.

Some companies in the alliance are no strangers to this conversation of advancing workplace diversity and inclusion. Through an interactive component of the website called "Actions," companies can detail their current challenges and the programs or initiatives they implemented to overcome those issues. By sharing their obstacles and solutions, the alliance hopes to inspire other organizations to "take action" and implement those successful programs as well.

3. Businesses will train employees to avoid bias

Through joining the alliance, these companies are also pledging to implement and expand unconscious bias education in a way that best fits their specific culture and business. Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness, according to the University of California.

By helping employees recognize and minimize any potential blind spots, companies can better facilitate more open and honest conversations, the initiative says in a press release.

The initiative will provide free, non-proprietary unconscious bias education training on its website.

"[The training] also provides a framework for companies to engage their employees and other stakeholders," Jones tells CNBC.

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