Award recipients at Soaring to New Heights, from left: Matthew St. Amant, Jann Murray-Garcia, Nate Trauernicht, Rodrigo Bonilla, Roxanne Flores and Daisy Martinez.
Award recipients at Soaring to New Heights, from left: Matthew St. Amant, Jann Murray-Garcia, Nate Trauernicht, Rodrigo Bonilla, Roxanne Flores and Daisy Martinez. (Fred Greaves/UC Davis)

UC Davis Continues to Lead as a Best Employer for Diversity

For the fifth consecutive year, UC Davis and UC Davis Health have been recognized as one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity by Forbes.

Year after year, we keep building upon successful programs and initiatives that continue to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across the entire UC Davis organization.

“We are honored to be recognized for our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This acknowledgment recognizes the important work and commitment of our teams and the supportive community at UC Davis and UC Davis Health. This recognition also bolsters our ongoing commitment and journey to create a workplace where everyone feels they belong and are valued. Our collective efforts are being noticed, and we remain committed to fostering an environment that champions inclusivity and belonging.”

--Chief Human Resources Officer, Tammy Kenber

Blonde woman in suit stands in front of greenery

Transparency and communication are central to UC Davis' commitment to continuous improvement. Surveys such as UC Davis’ Staff Experience Survey and UC Davis Health’s CommUNITY Feedback Survey have been instrumental in driving positive change based on employee feedback and ensuring that employee voices are heard and valued.

The “You Said, Together We Did” campaign—launched following results from the CommUNITY Feedback Survey—emphasizes active listening and collaborative action to address areas of improvement identified by employees. Through focused initiatives, including one-on-one leader support and consulting for supervisors and Leadership Listening Tours—where executive leaders visited various teams across UC Davis Health to learn how to improve employee experiences—UC Davis Health is fostering a more inclusive and equitable environment.

The Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism, and Equity (I-DARE) initiative has also been instrumental in driving systemic change. Initially launched at UC Davis Health in 2020, I-DARE's success led to its expansion to the Davis campus in 2023. I-DARE has implemented biweekly cultural competence workshops, inclusive research practices, and community engagement efforts, actively working towards a more inclusive future. Additionally, internships and scholarships for learners and trainees aim to cultivate a diverse pipeline of future healthcare professionals, thereby contributing to UC Davis Health's commitment to DEI integration.

Emphasizing the importance of “kindness, trust, and inclusion,” UC Davis Health launched the Living Our Values Tour in January 2024. This year-long celebration honors employees who exemplify these traits and provides opportunities for interactive exercises and engagement. By celebrating a culture of empathy, UC Davis Health is strengthening its commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive community.

UC Davis recognizes the importance of acknowledging and rewarding employees who demonstrate excellence and embody the university's values. The annual Soaring to New Heights Awards recognizes campus employees who demonstrate diversity and Principles of Community efforts that exceed the expectations of their position. 

“These awards represent UC Davis’ unwavering dedication to fostering a campus environment where diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just valued, but also recognized as an integral part of our mission.”

--Henry Ton, Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

In addition, programs such as BEST Rewards, the STAR Award, and the Employee Excellence Awards celebrate individuals who have gone above and beyond to deliver excellent service and care. In FY24 alone, BEST Rewards saw a 15% increase in awardees, reinforcing an environment of appreciation and recognition.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), sponsored through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, serve as vital platforms for advocacy, support, and community-building. ERGs play a vital role in advising campus leadership, advocating for inclusivity, and establishing support networks for underrepresented communities. ERGs encourage excellence and advancement at all levels within the UC Davis campus community and help foster an environment where employees feel valued and empowered. For example, the UC Davis Health PRIDE group is closely involved in Pride Month celebrations at UC Davis in May and also plays a significant role in organizing and participating in the Sacramento Pride March and Festival in June.

UC Davis engages in partnerships within the communities it serves as part of its efforts to recruit diverse staff that reflect the demographics of the students and patients that we serve. UC Davis is providing transferable skills and interview prep workshops, career resource fairs, and conferences that show “You Belong Here.” In addition to recruiting events, UC Davis offers Career Chats, one-on-one sessions with Talent Acquisition Coordinators that provide personalized guidance throughout their job search journey at UC Davis. In 2023, UC Davis facilitated over 280 Career Chats, resulting in many candidates successfully receiving employment offers. By connecting directly with communities and candidates, UC Davis fosters an inclusive environment that supports a diverse range of candidates.

To further support its commitment to diversity and streamline the hiring process, UC Davis launched “The Hiring Experience” initiative. This two-year effort aims to accelerate successful hiring and improve employee retention by enhancing the candidate experience, improving employee retention, streamlining processes, and providing better support for hiring managers and HR teams. Through this initiative, UC Davis aims to foster a more inclusive and equitable recruitment process that ensures all candidates and employees are supported at all stages of recruitment and employment. 

As UC Davis continues to prioritize diversity and inclusion, these initiatives emphasize the ongoing dedication to fostering a workplace where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered to succeed. Through collaboration, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to its core values, UC Davis remains at the forefront of creating a more inclusive future for all.

How Forbes Compiled Their List

Forbes partnered with Statista, a market research firm that surveyed more than 170,000 individuals working for organizations with at least 1,000 employees within the United States. 

In addition to the survey, more than 1,300 companies were assessed on four DEI best practices:

  • Representation (e.g., the percentage of women in leadership roles, and the presence of a diversity officer on the leadership team)
  • Accountability and communication (eg., the public availability of a yearly employment information report, which breaks down the demographic makeup of employees) 
  • Internal initiatives (eg., the existence of employee resource groups or other diversity-focused programs)
  • External involvement (e.g., the presence of supplier diversity programs and other DEI efforts outside of the organization) 

The list ranks the 500 employers who received the highest scores when the survey data and research were incorporated into a scoring model.