February 01, 2021

Delta’s steps toward racial equity

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans and recognize their central role in U.S. history. It is also a time to acknowledge how Delta can strengthen and accelerate plans to truly live up to the company’s shared values of opportunity, equity, fairness and respect for all.

In August 2020, Delta CEO Ed Bastian shared the steps and current actions that the airline is taking as part of its commitment to become an anti-racist, anti-discrimination organization. The airline has committed to measuring its progress in an effort to be held accountable for achieving these goals.

An update on the progress made thus far includes:

  • Creating a more equitable talent experience. Delta has enhanced hiring practices to reduce bias in job descriptions and qualifications, introduced hiring manager training to ensure fair and inclusive interviews, and improved reporting to monitor diversity in candidates and hires. The airline is giving equal consideration for accessible experience or certifications as part of its commitment to remove unnecessary barriers – such as college degrees – to certain roles. In addition, Delta’s “Diversity Super Day” in December focused on increasing representation in its MBA pipeline, while the new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion University Recruiting Council is helping expand opportunities for future Black professionals, including those from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • Closing diversity gaps in representation. Taking a hard look at its own record, Delta has continued to disaggregate data to improve diversity in underrepresented areas. That includes increasing the diversity of leaders, beginning in Atlanta, to better reflect the teams they lead. With this in mind, the airline remains committed to doubling the percent of Black Officers and Directors, along with growing the percent of other minority and female Officers. Delta will measure its progress, with the goal of improving on a year-over-year basis through 2025 and beyond.
  • Bolstered diverse business owners through several new initiatives. Delta partnered with the Atlanta Business League to create “Taking Your Business 2 the Next Level!” – a program designed to help Metro Atlanta African American business owners build more profitable, scalable and sustainable enterprises via training, mentoring and peer-to-peer learning. Delta is also donating up to 50 million SkyBonus points to diverse organizations, focusing on women- and minority-owned businesses and working with the National Minority Supplier Development Council to partner with diverse suppliers in areas critical to the company’s recovery, like Delta’s Global Cleanliness organization. In addition, Delta is partnering with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council to sponsor a woman of color initiative this year.
  • Sunsetting the Ready Reserve program to provide more equitable access to Delta benefits. Access to healthcare is a significant equity lever, which is why this year, all Customer Service Agents will become eligible for all Delta benefits, including healthcare.
  • Joining OneTen as a founding member, a coalition creating 1 million jobs for Black Americans over 10 years. Delta is creating new opportunities for advancement by working shoulder to shoulder with more than 30 other companies to recruit, hire, train and advance Black talent.
  • Expanded partnership with Operation Hope to support their One Million Black Business and Entrepreneur Initiative. This new program is designed to create 1 million new Black business owners by 2030. Additionally, in this expanded partnership, Operation Hope will provide Delta people resources to promote financial empowerment and inclusion.
  • Creating more opportunities for underrepresented groups through BOLD, Delta’s Black Business Resource Group. BOLD’s work to expand the airline’s partnership with Atlanta Public Schools will focus on leadership, innovation and technology to level the playing field within APS and surrounding districts. Delta’s strengthened career accelerator program will also provide BRG officers and diverse talent with development pathways in 2021.
  • Launched an enhanced Inclusion Training experience. Delta’s latest evolution of inclusion training is set to reach every employee by 2022. Over 20,000 Delta employees have already participated in the learning assignments, and divisional plans have been mapped out so all 75,000 Delta teams will follow suit soon.

It is often said that the road toward becoming a more diverse, equitable and anti-racist organization is a marathon, not a sprint. Every action makes a difference. This is a journey, and Delta will continue to provide updates on its progress moving forward.