How Workday Turns Data Into Diversity

February 14, 2019, 12:00 PM UTC

Product design isn’t typically in the job description for a chief diversity officer. But at Workday, the human resources software provider, it’s an essential part.

Input from Carin Taylor, Workday’s diversity doyen since the end of 2017, has directly influenced what the company’s customers see on their computer screens. A recent amendment: the expansion of sexual orientation, preferred pronouns, and gender identity choices beyond the traditional set. Customers using Workday’s dashboards can now self-identify with more than 20 options, including “cisgender male,” “gender fluid,” “nonbinary,” and “Ze.”

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Perhaps more than any other company on our list, Workday stands out when it comes to how seriously it is taking diversity. One important tool in Taylor’s arsenal? A Workday-powered dashboard with data about the workforce, including gender, ethnicity, age, veteran status, and other dimensions of diversity — which lets her monitor pay equity, time-to-promotion, and turnover. In Taylor’s words, “As an example, if I look at our gender demographics, I can see that Workday is 40 percent women and close to 60 percent men, and then I can break it down further by level. If I see a drop-off of women at a certain level within a particular function, that indicates to me that we need to think about a better career development plan for women, and at which point in their careers we should introduce those plans.”

Taylor, who formerly worked in similar roles at networking goliath Cisco and biotech biggie Genentech, says her cultural initiatives aren’t just for minorities. She uses the acronym VIBE, meaning “value, inclusion, belonging, and equity,” to describe her core principles, which she says apply to everyone. Case and point: Under her direction, Workday plans to open LEAP, a leadership development program originally designed for the mentorship of mid-level career women, to the entire workforce. No exclusion here—all are welcome.

“At the end of the day, the value of diversity and inclusion is really about impact,” Taylor says. “Ultimately, it creates an environment in which people can be extremely innovative.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Fortune.