MLT’s Black Equity At Work Certification Helps Provide Structure and Rigor to DaVita’s Diversity & Belonging Efforts

On September 21, DaVita announced that it is among the first employers to earn Management Leadership for Tomorrow’s (MLT) Black Equity at Work Certification.

Launched in 2020, the certification program is a first-of-its kind roadmap with clear standards to direct employers in making meaningful progress toward Black equity through strategic and sustained action. This annual distinction recognizes not only participating organizations’ goals to promote diversity, equity and belonging but also their accountability and commitment to creating measurable impact.

MLT challenges employers to achieve a gold-standard focus on rigorous action across five core MLT Black Equity at Work pillars: Representation, Compensation, Workplace Culture, Business Practices, Contributions and Investments.

DaVita became one of nine launch employers for the program and even worked with MLT to evaluate the certification framework and provide feedback. Once MLT set the framework, organizations started on three-year action plans, with evaluation and certification happening annually.

“It’s important that we create a culture where everyone feels they belong,” explains chief people officer, Kenny Gardner. “This has been a long-held value here at DaVita, and this certification is neither the beginning nor the end of our continuous work. I’m proud of the work we have done to earn this certification, and I’m energized by the roadmap we have to continue making a difference in strengthening Black equity.”

To apply for certification, DaVita evaluated its Diversity & Belonging (D&B) efforts and recognized many initiatives already reflected the goals and meaningful action MLT’s certification program emphasizes. These D&B lenses included teammate experience, economic mobility, career-growth opportunities and supporting racial justice in the broader community. Teammate Resource Groups, an idea DaVita teammates (employees) proposed to Gardner and chief executive officer Javier Rodriguez, create opportunities for individuals from across the company to connect and share experiences, resources and information relevant to them. And when Rodriguez committed to supporting teammates and communities of color through $3 million in investments, teammates voted to establish a new D&B Higher Education scholarship, awarded for the first time this summer. Earlier this year, DaVita also announced a $15 million deposit with HOPE Credit Union—which furnishes financial services to underserved communities across several southern states.

“Our focus has always been ensuring a positive teammate experience,” says Kellie Lange, director of talent and D&B at DaVita. “We look forward to seeing how our relationship with MLT can inspire us to evolve our efforts as well as encourage other organizations to evaluate and drive new energy around Belonging for their communities.”

With organizations beginning to achieve certification in Black Equity at Work, MLT is now expanding this effort to additional certifications, such as Hispanic Equity at Work, as part of a larger Racial Equity at Work effort. DaVita announced last week its commitment to MLT’s new certification program focused on Hispanic Equity.

In addition to its work with MLT, DaVita’s Diversity & Belonging team strives to create not just an equitable work culture, but an environment where teammates feel seen, heard and valued—where they can feel they belong. This year, they’ll host the third annual Week of Belonging, an opportunity for teammates to connect with one another and engage in meaningful conversations about diversity and belonging. Beyond the focus on belonging, the team is also committed to strengthening economic mobility for teammates through programs like Clinical Ladders, which helps provide patient care technicians and nurses with not only clarity on what success looks like at each level but also support and development opportunities to grow their careers.

You can learn more about DaVita’s efforts, including a transparent look at their goals and progress in their Diversity & Belonging Report.