With commitments laid out in the August 2020 memo from Delta Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian to advance racial justice and diversity within our business, Delta will continue sharing updates and progress on our goal to become an equitable, anti-racist organization.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Delta had increased Black officer representation since August 2020.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The time is always right to do right.” As the world honors his legacy, Delta is shining a light on ways it is creating a more inclusive workplace to spur employees and leaders to focus on equitable outcomes in everything they do. 

Delta is making progress on its commitment laid out in our August 2020 memo from Delta Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian, to advance racial justice and diversity within its business. Today the airline is sharing updates and progress on our goals to become an equitable, anti-racist organization.

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Delta’s efforts to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive include a commitment to transparency and accountability.

Below is a look at some of the concrete actions we’ve taken, along with initiatives in progress, to better reflect the communities we serve.  

Rebuilding Delta to reflect our world  

  • While other ethnic minority officer representation has increased from 11.6% to 16% in less than two years, we continue to strive to increase Black talent at the officer level where representation has fallen behind.

  • Adopted the ‘Create-Don’t-Wait’ career pathway as a talent development mindset to support the advancement of high-potential, internal employees, leading to the development and success of more diverse talent at multiple levels of the organization.

  • Focused on recruitment of more ethnically diverse, internal and external talent to fill new leadership roles across the organization from the general manager through vice president levels.

  • Adjusted our approach to Divisional Strategies:

    • Identified DEI managers and ambassadors in most operating divisions to promote a sense of belonging and drive closure of identified representation gaps.

    • Fostered inclusive environments through divisional listening sessions, town halls and focus groups.  

Reimagining our talent strategy 

  • Increased the number of external Black candidates for general manager, director and managing director from 6% to 19% (Aug. 2019 - Aug. 2021). 

  • Created new career pathways at Delta, filling 94% of positions that did not require a college degree by external hires in Q3 of 2021.   

  • Engaged more historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in our recruitment efforts through the development of partnerships with organizations like United Negro College Fund.  

  • Strengthened our corporate internship, MBA and pipeline-development programs to increase opportunities for Black professionals. 

    • Launched skills-first development on Delta’s learning portal, iGrow, as a continued effort to drive greater diversity within our talent pipeline through the development of skills-first hiring philosophies, training and processes to mitigate bias in our selection process, while closing the opportunity gap for diverse talent.

    • Curated an apprenticeship program, launching in Jan. 2022 with four cohorts, as part of the skills-first development initiative affords Delta the opportunity to further develop and retain an internal, diverse talent pipeline through the frontline workforce. 

Addressing inequity  

  • Converted part-time reserve employees, 70% of whom are minorities, to full-time employees by sunsetting the Ready Reserve Program to provide more equitable access to benefits. 

  • Invested in our leadership’s equity education and understanding, including engaging three groups of senior leadership in a two-day “Racial Equity Workshop.”  

DL AC Employees Ramp

Creating more opportunities for underrepresented groups

  • Created a new equity-focused pillar of our community engagement initiatives, leading to one-third of our annual charitable contributions and giving going toward equity-focused organizations and initiatives. 

  • Became a founding member of OneTen, a coalition committed to creating 1 million jobs for Black Americans over 10 years.   

  • Signed new partnerships with equity-focused organizations including 100 Black Men of America; FlikShop; Goalsetter; Next Gen Men & Women; Atlanta Global Research & Education Collaborative (AGREC); the National Center for Civil and Human Rights; the NAACP; UNCF and Emerging 100.  

  • Expanded our partnership with Operation Hope to support the One Million Black Business and Entrepreneur Initiative.  

  • Increased awareness of new and expanded existing offerings of programs to support financial wellness and literacy for our workforce.   

Stepping up inclusion training at every level of the company  

  • More than 62,000 (or 86%) of employees have completed at least one of the four DE&I training courses, with positive feedback on the post-training survey questions:   

    • 4.67 out of 5.0: “I recognize how my actions might impact others”   

    • 4.47 out of 5.0: “I feel motivated to use the skills I learned during the training” 

Supporting our Black business partners 

  • Spent $325M with Black-owned businesses or 74% of the annual target. 

  • Trained 100 women of color entrepreneurs on creating and executing a successful strategic plan for Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s Women of Color program. 

  • Increased awareness of “How to Do Business with Delta” with entrepreneurs from Atlanta Black Chambers, ATLNext Industry Day, National Veteran Business Development Council and Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council. 

  • Met with and referred 100 small and diverse business enterprises to category teams from attendance at national and regional outreach events. 

 

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