How Hilton Built the #1 Workplace for Diversity

Over and over, Team Members tell us they love working for Hilton because they can be their true self here. That’s why we’re proud to announce Hilton was named the #1 Best Workplace for Diversity by FORTUNE in the U.S. We recently caught up with Hilton’s Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Jon Muñoz, to learn what sets Hilton apart as a diverse workplace. Read on to hear his perspective.

1. Hilton was just named #1 on FORTUNE’s Best Workplaces for Diversity list – Congratulations! Can you share what is Hilton’s commitment to diversity?

Diversity is at the core of our Vision, Mission, and Values. We are committed to an inclusive workforce that fully represents many different cultures, backgrounds and viewpoints. Our global brands provide meeting places for people from all walks of life to connect, creating a welcoming environment for all. Understanding our Team Members’ unique perspectives, along with those of our Guests, Owners, Suppliers, and Partners, is essential to driving our competitive performance. We will always strive to reflect the global communities where we live and work.

2. How has Hilton’s commitment to diversity evolved since you joined seven years ago?

We’ve come a long way on our diversity and inclusion journey since it was formally relaunched in 2010. Our foundational purpose is to leverage and promote diversity and inclusion through a framework of culture, talent and marketplace initiatives to foster innovation and create a globally competitive business.  The success of our diversity and inclusion management practice is built on this intentional and comprehensive approach.  Although we have made some major strides in our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we will continue to expand and evolve.

3. What Diversity & Inclusion accomplishments at Hilton are you most proud of?

Some of the achievements that I’m proud of to-date are the launch of the Hilton Executive Inclusion Council, which is led by Chris Nassetta and comprised of Hilton’s most senior leaders to provide oversight to our D&I programs and initiatives. In 2012, we launched our Team Member Resource Groups (TMRGs). The TMRGs are a cornerstone of our diversity management practice and are focused on professional development, community engagement and business impact. Our total membership has increased 448% to 7,500 members in our corporate and HRCC offices around the world. We recently expanded our D&I focus to our owned and managed properties in the U.S. in partnership with HR Operations.

Hilton continues to be recognized for its D&I best practices. DiversityInc ranked Hilton #10 on the list of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity, up 20 spots from last year. In addition, for the first time Great Places to Work recognized Hilton as a Best Workplace for Diversity (#14) and Forbes also recognized Hilton as one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity. Lastly, Hilton has achieved a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for the last six consecutive years.

4. Have you always been focused on Diversity & Inclusion? How did you get here?

I’ve worked in the financial services, telecommunications and hospitality industries in a number of functional business areas including multicultural marketing, community relations, human resources, corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion. Over the course of my career, I have been intentional about aligning my personal values with meaningful work experiences that would not only add value for the company I support, but to the diverse communities that I represent.  As a Latino and gay man entering into a corporate career, I didn’t always see myself reflected in the workforce and especially at senior levels. It was difficult to locate and connect with role models who had similar backgrounds and experiences. As a result, I didn’t always feel seen, heard, valued and respected. As I navigated my career, I learned how to assert my individuality – and soon realized my unique perspectives were valuable to the company. Since then, it has been very rewarding for me to live my truth and leverage those points of difference.

5. Why are you passionate about making Hilton a diverse place to work?

A number of studies have shown the business value of being a diverse company. I’ve personally worked on project teams where diverse thinking helped us reach better outcomes.  Diversity leads to greater return on capital investment, return on sales and return on equity.  Diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for business.

Beyond the business value, I believe bringing people who have different perspectives together with intentionality inspires and fosters innovation within our company. Well-managed, diverse work teams produce results that are six times higher than homogeneous teams. We can look at challenges and opportunities from all sides to understand what a creative solution might be.

6. How does diversity help us innovate?

Diversity is a key driver of innovation and can have a significant impact on culture and performance of a company which is critical to being successful on a global scale. (Forbes Insights). At Hilton, we believe diversity drives creativity and innovation through better decision-making among teams, by offering different perspectives, experiences and backgrounds of our Team Members.

7. What tips do you have for creating a diverse environment?

At Hilton, we are a diverse company that wants all Team Members to be seen, heard, valued and respected for being themselves, and for the unique qualities and perspectives they bring to the company. To have a diverse environment, companies need to have a workforce that reflects their customer base and communities in which they live and work. This starts with a talent strategy that reinforces the need to attract, develop, and retain the best and brightest diverse talent in hospitality. Demonstrating support and providing oversight starts at the top. At Hilton, our Executive Inclusion Council, chaired by our President & CEO Chris Nassetta and comprised of the company’s most senior leaders.

8. What should job seekers look for in assessing a diverse environment?

I recommend checking out the value proposition of an organization. Thrive@Hilton is our Team Member value proposition and one of the key priorities of Thrive@Hilton is an inclusive environment for ALL. Job seekers should explore the benefit package and ensure that the benefits are catering to the needs of a diverse workforce. For example, Hilton has introduced a number of innovative benefit programs such as GED assistance, best-in-class parental leave, adoption benefits and our new Thrive sabbatical.

Job seekers should also assess a companies’ policies and programming internally and externally for diverse segments of the workforce, such as women, people of color, LGBTQ, veterans, people with disabilities and millennials. Look for opportunities to engage in resource groups which bring together employees with similar cultures and backgrounds and seek to create connections, provide professional development opportunities, and looks for ways to impact business outcomes. Lastly, research external surveys such as Great Place to Work and DiversityInc and look for companies that are consistently performing well on these surveys.