Diversity has only just reached the top of most corporate agendas but at Nestlé, it’s been the foundation of what we do for years. Strong, multicultural diversity has shaped our success and culture. We work hard to integrate in every community to which we belong and we place the highest value on the unique perspectives that our people bring us. We believe we have a social responsibility to promote diversity, but equally we know it sharpens our performance and gives us an advantage over our competitors. Gender balance has been a priority since 2008 as there was an immediate need in this specific area. Even if progress is well under way, gender balance continues to be a priority for the Group and we will now expand our diversity journey into additional focus areas.

  • We aim to provide a workplace culture that generates equal opportunities for everyone, where people are treated with dignity and respect. We are expanding our efforts to strengthen this inclusive culture. It is helping us leverage the unique skills, knowledge and experiences of our diverse workforce.

    Our talent pool should reflect the societies in which we operate. Gender remains a key priority for Nestlé and we want to embed it in our diversity journey. Beyond gender, markets are already embedding other diversity aspects, including disability, generations and ethnicity, following local and legal practices and needs.

  • We recognise that gender balance strengthens our business and achieving it is a priority. Our Gender Balance Initiative is making improvements at all levels, with a key focus on senior leaders and managers. The initiative is designed to facilitate a natural gender balance throughout our organisation. Merit and competencies remain the basis for promotion.

    We have the necessary mechanisms in place to track, monitor and improve gender balance. Progress is achieved using a rigorous succession-planning process, clear development plans and the roll-out of unconscious bias training for our leaders.

    We have implemented a number of programmes to support our commitment, including:

    • Unconscious bias training;
    • Parental support initiatives and flexible work arrangements;
    • Mentoring and coaching;
    • Dual-career support;
    • Gender awareness;
    • Women networks; and
    • Gender balance business sponsors.

    Through these activities, we work to increase the number of women identified as potential successors for top-level positions and, in 2015, 34% of our leadership positions were held by women. To help our markets with local improvement efforts, we use our Gender Balance scorecard to track progress against resourcing, promotion, succession and retention. It also provides tips to help deliver behavioural change. To encourage alignment, we operate an intranet page that shares the latest initiatives, key documents and figures, policies and materials for training or communications.

  • In 2015, we continued the global roll-out of our unconscious bias training through a network of more than 80 trainers. The activities are designed to promote more inclusive communication between women and men to improve performance.

    Line managers and senior managers attend a three-hour interactive and experimental session that uses participative exercises, case studies and videos. The structured learning outlines visual blind spots, the ladder of inference to understand unconscious bias, and cultural gender differences.

    Our leaders can use the outcomes to develop a personal and team action plan that will improve talent management outcomes for men and women in the workplace.

    At the end of 2015, 3058 employees have received the training across our business*. Our markets in the Middle East, India and the Nordics have already embedded unconscious bias training into their leadership training. Since the end of 2014, unconscious bias has also been embedded in several central programmes, such as Leadership, Marketing and Sales, Finance, R&D and Technology Management.

    * This is a cumulative figure, representing the total number of employees who have received unconscious bias training since the programme began in 2014.

  • We are committed to enhancing the quality of people’s lives and helping families improve their nutrition, health and wellness. We know the first 1000 days of life, between the start of pregnancy and a child’s second birthday, offers a unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more prosperous futures. During this formative period, infants (including those of our own employees) require appropriate nutrition, stimulation and a caring setting to develop to their full potential.

    In June 2015, Nestlé launched a new global Maternity Protection Policy for all of our people. It is based on the ILO Maternity Protection Convention, and establishes minimum standards that must be implemented at Nestlé workplaces across the world by 2018. It has been well received and is estimated to be one of the most progressive programmes of its kind in the industry.

    The policy is applicable to all primary caregivers of newborns, including male employees and adoptive parents. It includes 14 weeks’ paid maternity leave, which can be extended up to six months (with leave beyond 14 weeks remunerated in accordance with local legislation and/or practices), employment protection, flexible working arrangements and guaranteed access to breastfeeding rooms during working hours in head offices and sites with more than 50 female employees. We currently have more than 275 breastfeeding rooms across our global working facilities.

  • To embed our Gender Balance Initiative, each market and business has identified a local business sponsor. Working with the local steering committee, which sets priorities and tracks progress each quarter, the business sponsor helps overcome local challenges and shares learnings with other sponsors. Improvements are linked to an Operational Master Plan, which is developed at the market level. Achievements and progress are shared with other markets by web conference three or four times a year.

  • A key component of ensuring a sustainable gender balance 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.

    In Germany, for the past six years, we have participated in the annual CrossMentoring project, to help more women move into leadership positions. Around five women are nominated each year and supported in their professional and personal development with access to an experienced mentor, who is a leader from another company such as SEB, University Hospital Frankfurt, Deutsche Bahn or Deutsche Börse. Costing us around EUR 3000 (CHF 3609) per mentee, the programme has succeeded in helping women move into a first leadership role or in taking the next step on the leadership ladder. We are reviewing ways to increase the impact of the mentoring project internally, for example by inviting each woman who has been through the programme to become a mentor for a more junior female within our organisation.

    In 2014, Nestlé Pakistan launched Kero Aitemaad (Believe inYourself). The initiative is aimed at challenging stereotypes, and listening to and tackling the fears of women who want to return to work. The programme is delivered exclusively by female employees at different levels of seniority. Kero Aitemaad gives support to women on how to navigate their professional lives. Through real-life case studies, they receive tips and guidance on how Nestlé Pakistan can support them. In 2014, Nestlé Pakistan also introduced the Nestlé Female Alumni Network, an initiative to help and inspire former employees and promote job opportunities. Today, the network has 60 members, who remain in touch through the platform.

    In Switzerland during 2014, the Senior Women at Nestlé Group was created. It is a movement with a strong commitment to help accelerate Nestlé’s journey to becoming a gender-balanced company by 2018. Together, the group seeks to:

    • Be role models to upcoming talent;
    • Participate in high-profile projects, ensuring diversity and complementarity of thinking within the team; and
    • Ensure Nestlé is recognised as an employer of choice for men and women in external speaking engagements.

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