We believe that diversity in business is a real asset and something that should be encouraged and nurtured. A diverse workforce is more creative and more inclusive, it develops different ways of thinking and is more reflective of the markets we serve. This is why we strive to create a business culture that provides equal opportunities for everyone and ensures people are always treated with dignity and respect. This is reflected, for instance, in our promotion of gender balance within the business and our commitment to the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles.
What we’re doing
We want to develop the environment, culture and leadership that provide equal opportunities for everyone. Our Gender Balance Initiative is helping us to increase the number of women at all levels, including those identified as potential successors for top-level positions at Nestlé. It is designed to encourage a natural gender balance, with an emphasis on promoting the best person for the role. Beyond the Gender Balance Initiative, Nestlé also supports women’s rights in wider society. We’ve implemented company programmes to support these aims, including:
- Flexible work arrangements and parental support initiatives;
- Mentoring and coaching;
- Dual career support;
- Gender education;
- Networks; and
- Gender Balance business sponsors.
We are working towards greater representation of women on our management teams. By 2018, we will have the conditions in place to achieve annual increases in the percentage of women managers and senior leaders. These will take the form of working systems established to enable gender balance in Nestlé’s management to occur naturally, through a rigorous succession planning process, clear development plans and the global roll-out of unconscious bias training for leaders. In 2014, 33.7% of our leadership positions are held by women (2013: 31%). This puts us on track to achieve our 2018 commitment.
As we continue on the journey to become a gender-balanced company, we offer education to all employees; a gender balance online education tool in Spanish was launched in 2014. We are now rolling out unconscious bias training through a network of 74 trainers around the globe. In 2015, we will expand our diversity efforts to strengthen our inclusive culture, ensuring we are leveraging the unique skills, knowledge, perspectives and experiences of our diverse workforce. We will also broaden our focus to include all major diversity groups beyond gender, including physical ability, social background and generations.
- Flexible work arrangements and parental support initiatives
We believe that new parents should be given the option to take time off before returning to work. This is reflected in our maternity and paternity leave policies, which are based on the relevant legislation in the countries where we operate. We offer parents work-based support, including crèches at 24 sites including head office locations, or referral services, and breastfeeding rooms at 192 sites around the world.
A key component of ensuring lasting gender diversity within an organisation is creating solid links between women. Nestlé encourages the work of professional groups and committees within its companies that can collect shared experiences and develop female business leaders.
- Gender Balance business sponsors
To ensure the Gender Balance Initiative is implemented, each market and business has identified a business sponsor (not a Human Resources person and typically a Business Management Committee member) who will ensure Gender Balance is embedded throughout the organisation. A local steering committee sets priorities and tracks progress.
We have also developed initiatives to promote training and professional development for women, which are in line with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. They are designed to help overcome some of the challenges women face, such as limited financial resources, knowledge gaps and access to credit and lending. We have launched unconscious bias training for leaders and human resources professionals, and there are now 74 trainers in this area across our global markets.