Keeping diversity in the forefront during large organizational change is a challenge for companies. The Chase Manhattan Bank was able to integrate diversity as a common thread through its business strategies and sustain its commitment to diversity, especially during its merger with Chemical Bank in 1996. With the JP Morgan merger this year, diversity remains a priority with its initiative, Using Diversity to Forge a New Culture: The Chase-Chemical Merger Experience.
A company-wide Diversity Council, chaired by CEO William Harrison, annually establishes a diversity agenda for the company. In addition, every Chase business hosts its own diversity council; there are 45 councils around the world. Each business creates a formal diversity plan tailored to its local needs. Components of each plan include recruiting, training, mentoring, networking, work/life programs, and career development. Managers’ progress on diversity is evaluated using the “diversity scorecard,” and results are tied to a manger’s bonus.
The crux of Chase’s merger strategy is its comprehensive, straightforward communication strategy. Chase has multiple communication channels – including forums, newsletters, web sites, e-mail, and town hall meetings – through which ongoing communication about success stories and information about diversity is disseminated to employees. For example, criteria for the selection of post-merger employees are made public, ensuring that the process is seen as fair and objective. Furthermore, communications are not top-down only. Feedback to senior management is encouraged and a part of the communication channels described above.
At the time of its merger with J.P. Morgan, 22 percent of Chase’s senior-level management were women, up from 17 percent in 1996; women comprise 19.2 percent of their corporate officers.