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Engaging with our people

Our people are the very heart of our business. Our operations, activities and our success all rely on the people who work for us. For Nestlé to grow and prosper, we must ensure our employees are engaged and fairly remunerated, and that they have the knowledge and skills to carry out their roles and to grow, prosper and fulfill their potential.

Diversity and inclusion is part of Nestlé’s DNA, having worldwide presence in 189 countries, including factories in 85 countries, and more than 100 nationalities represented at its headquarters.

Paul Bulcke Nestlé Chairman


An inclusive, inspiring work environment

Nestlé aims to reach out to diverse talent and embrace the different skills, cultures, ways of thinking and experiences that talent brings. We believe this creates an employment experience that:

  • Enhances lives.
  • Provides a fulfilling work environment.
  • Is people inspired.
  • Offers personal and professional growth.

Launched in 2019, our Gender Balance Acceleration Plan aims to increase the proportion of women in our top 200 senior executive posts from around 20% at present to 30% by 2022, as well as to introduce a series of other initiatives to improve gender balance.

Gender balance is also embedded in all our human resources practices, including selection, succession planning and promotion.

Read more about the Nestlé Gender Balance Acceleration Plan.

Advancing women in our industry

We have further strengthened our partnership with the Leading Executives Advancing Diversity (LEAD) network. LEAD is a Europe-wide organization aiming to attract, retain and advance women in the retail and consumer goods industry through education, leadership and business development. All Nestlé employees worldwide, men and women, can now become members of the organization and benefit from LEAD’s opportunities. We also participated in the LEAD Network Annual Event in Spain in November.


We aim to embed diversity and inclusion in all we do. Each of our markets has a diversity and inclusion action plan designed to create a business culture, environment and leadership that provide equal opportunities for everyone to contribute, grow and feel valued.

Empowering women across our business and beyond

Across the world, women still face discrimination in the workplace. Throughout our operations and our value chain, we work to address the many challenges facing women. From increasing management and senior representation in our own business, to supporting women in farming communities to learn new skills and increase their incomes, we aim to empower women to overcome barriers to fulfilling their potential.

Read about our specific commitments to support women, and our projects and progress.

Leading on diversity and inclusion in Malaysia

Nestlé Malaysia has been named as one of the world’s 100 most diverse and inclusive workplaces. The Diversity and Inclusion Index (pdf, 56Kb), published in 2019 by financial data business Refinitiv, reviewed more than 7000 publicly traded companies, assessing them on diversity, inclusion, people development, and controversies in the news.

Celebrating cultural diversity

In May, we celebrated World Day for Cultural Diversity, with events showcasing the range of cultures represented by our more than 290 000 colleagues. From Germany to the US, and Ghana to Brazil, Nestlé locations staged events to enable people to celebrate the diverse cultures, ethnicities, languages and ways of thinking across our organization.

Glassdoor recognizes Nestlé USA for diversity and inclusion

Nestlé USA has been named one of the top companies for diversity and inclusion by company review website Glassdoor. The award recognizes Nestlé’s culture of support and empowerment, which includes employee-led engagement groups, inclusive hiring approaches, and company-wide learning and development. In addition, unconscious bias training and flexible workplace policies help us remove constraints that can limit employees of diverse backgrounds.

Reaching out to new talent

We relaunched our Career and Diversity and Inclusion section of the Nestlé website in 2019, giving it a more contemporary feel with new, highly relevant content. Since our Global Careers Instagram channel WeAreNestlé launched at the start of the year, 57% of the audience has been women, and our LinkedIn followers doubled in the 12 months to July 2019, rising to 6.5 million. We are also pleased that the average time spent on the diversity and inclusion page on our careers site is over six minutes, compared with a typical average time of a little over one minute.

Proud to celebrate Pride

We are proud to support the United Nations Standards of Conduct on tackling discrimination against LGBT+ people. In June, we celebrated Pride Month with a series of communications and events focused on embracing diversity and being more inclusive. As part of the celebrations, we organized the Leading Together with Pride conference, where some of our colleagues shared their perspectives and experiences of LGBT+ inclusion.

The conference included a panel discussion entitled ‘Let’s talk about LGBT+’, involving both internal and external speakers. Posters, banners and inspirational quotes were displayed throughout the building, and the Pride colors were displayed on digital communication channels such as large screens outside the building. Similar celebrations were held in other locations, including Italy, Panama, the UK and the US.

Recognition for our LGBT+ support

Nestlé USA and Nestlé Purina both scored a maximum 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index in 2019, an increase from 95% in 2018. The score reflects our company’s values of respect – for ourselves, for others, for diversity and for the future.

Activities taken to achieve this perfect score include:

  • Building employee engagement from the ground up through internal networks for LGBT+ employees and allies.
  • Providing equal benefits for same-sex married couples and those in domestic partnerships.
  • Respecting LGBT+ parents with the same benefits as straight parents.

Award-winning diversity at Nestlé Ireland

Nestlé Ireland has become one of the first companies in Ireland to be awarded the Investors in Diversity Silver accreditation. The award is from the Irish Centre for Diversity, which works with organizations across the country to help them embed equality, diversity and inclusion in their workplace. The requirements for the accolade go beyond a company’s policies and procedures, encompassing its character and the principles, behavior, conduct, attitudes and beliefs of its staff – making this an award for everyone at Nestlé Ireland.

Supporting employees with hearing loss

Our Garota Vila Velha chocolate factory in Brazil held a special program in 2019 to raise awareness of the needs of employees with hearing loss. Some 98 (6%) of the factory’s employees are deaf, making the company one of the largest employers of people with hearing loss in Brazil. The business has put in place a number of measures to ensure they can participate fully in company activities, including:

  • Training.
  • Making sign language available in meetings, leadership talks and medical appointments.
  • Offering sign language lessons for hearing employees.
  • Adapting weekly news bulletins with sign language for internal televisions.
  • Celebrating National Deaf Pride Day.


Evolving our parental support

Having implemented our Maternity Protection Policy in 2018, we have now evolved it as part of our Gender Balance Acceleration Plan.

We have increased our parental leave and support to ensure better care for the needs of modern families.

When parents bring their child home for the first time, their lives are changed forever. Those first weeks and months can be joyous, hectic and sleepless all at the same time. Families have to adjust to a new normal. It’s important to be able to take some quality time to bond, rest and recover. Unfortunately, for many reasons people are not always able to take that time.

At Nestlé, we believe that work should not be one of those reasons, and we place a lot of importance on parental leave and good parental support. We already have a policy that was one of the more progressive in our industry. We decided we could do even better. That is why we have increased leave for new parents at Nestlé, as part of an improved parental support policy. We are extending parental leave for the primary caregiver from 14 weeks of fully paid leave to 18 weeks on full pay. Our new gender-neutral standard will also allow secondary caregivers to take at least four weeks’ leave on full pay, where previously there was no global minimum.

Families today are also more diverse and face many different situations. That is why we are defining primary and secondary caregivers widely, for example as either a biological or adoptive parent or a legal guardian. The arrangements are offered to same-sex couples, too. As with every Nestlé policy, the new requirements will always respect local legislation.

The Nestlé Global Parental Support Policy is another step toward fostering diversity and inclusion at Nestlé. Recognizing the diversity of families, we want to further support our employees in their roles as parents, aiming to make Nestlé an even more inclusive and inspiring place to work.

Highlights of the policy are:

  • An inclusive, gender-neutral approach, recognizing that parental roles are not defined by gender.
  • A global minimum that will apply to the more than 291 000 Nestlé employees in our factories, offices and other facilities worldwide.
  • Parental leave for the primary caregiver extended from 14 to 18 weeks on full pay.
  • A global minimum standard of four weeks fully paid parental leave for the secondary caregiver, where previously there was no global minimum.
  • Reinforced employment protection, non-discrimination, health protection, breastfeeding support and availability of flexible working options.
  • Building on Nestlé’s leadership in infant development and our belief that providing a child a strong start gives them the best chance to thrive. The policy also builds on Nestlé’s leadership in infant nutrition and our belief that the first 1000 days of a child are crucial for long-term health and development.

The policy started to be rolled out in January 2020, depending on local context. It will be rolled out to all countries in which we operate by end of December 2022.

Nestlé and I Insights

It is essential for any company to listen to and understand the needs and thoughts of its employees. In previous years, Nestlé has held annual surveys, but in 2019 we designed a new, more accessible feedback mechanism, to be implemented in 2020. Instead of running a fully coordinated global survey, our markets and businesses will be able to ask for employee feedback at any time during the year, whenever it is most needed. This new format will enable us to gather employees’ comments in a quicker, more effective manner. As a result, we will be able to focus time and effort to maximize actions and decision making. Tools such as Pulse solution, Workplace and Microsoft Forms will be used to help facilitate this new, dynamic process.

Living wage

We want all our employees to receive a living wage, which covers their needs according to local standards of living. We have therefore been working to assess pay rates globally with nonprofit Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) since 2014. We assess rates every three years.

A few gaps were identified during the first three years, and they were swiftly addressed. The exceptions were certain joint ventures and some countries where reliable measurement was not possible due to local civil conflicts or extreme economic conditions, such as hyperinflation. Since then, the gaps identified each year have been few in number and addressed quickly. 2019 saw the completion of the second year of the three-year cycle. All countries have processes embedded in their pay practices to ensure that any gaps identified during the assessment exercise with BSR are addressed and a living wage paid to all employees.

We will continue the three-year assessment with the countries in 2020 and beyond in order to ensure that Nestlé remains a living wage employer globally.


People make the difference at Nestlé. Ensuring our employees are engaged and fairly remunerated and that they have the skills and knowledge not just to perform in their roles but to grow, develop and feel fulfilled is essential for us to prosper as a company. It is one way we bring our values, rooted in respect, to life. Béatrice Guillaume-Grabisch, Head of Group Human Resources & Business Services

Engaging with labor rights organizations

At the heart of workers’ rights is the freedom to join trade unions and bargain collectively. We support all our employees to enjoy these rights. Nestlé also engages in regular dialogue with our employees and union representatives so matters of mutual concern and interest can be discussed and resolved. We also promote freedom of association throughout our supply chain.

Inevitably, disputes can arise, but through our policies, principles and values, we aim to ensure they are settled openly and transparently. In 2019, there were 68 labor disputes globally, compared with 69 in 2018. The average percentage of working time lost due to labor disputes, strikes and/or lockouts increased slightly to 0.023%.

Internationally, we engage with the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), business organizations and UN-led bodies; regionally, we work with the Nestlé European Council for Information and Consultation; and locally, we work with unions and federations, external experts and other companies. 

Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2018, we marked together the full global implementation of our Maternity Protection policy and the launch of our #HealthyLives training program in 2019.

Engaging employees in the USA

To support diversity and inclusion, Nestlé USA staged a series of events throughout 2019, including:

  • Commemorating Martin Luther King Day.
  • Celebrating Black History Month with special events.
  • Women in Engineering and Gender Balance networking events.
  • A Veterans and Allies Network Panel discussion on veterans entering the workforce.
  • A Diversity and Inclusion book club.
  • LGBT+ lunch and learn event.
  • Working parents network event.
  • Celebrating Women’s History Month in March.

Keeping domestic violence victims and their pets united

When domestic abuse victims try to find support from shelters, it often means having to part with their pets. Only 10% of domestic violence shelters accept pets, leaving their owners with an agonizing choice when they most need help. Nearly half delay escaping abuse as a result.

To change this, Nestlé Purina and RedRover, which helps animals and victims of domestic violence, have created the Purple Leash project. The project aims to help animals and their owners escape from crisis into care. Purina has committed more than $500 000 to RedRover through to 2022. This will provide funding to enable domestic violence shelters to provide safe spaces for pets as well as their owners, enabling them to stay together.


At Nestlé, we have a strong performance culture grounded in a deep belief that supporting and developing our people is what helps us create the leaders of the future. Performance and development can be supported through 360-degree feedback on how individuals and the people with whom they work perceive their skills and behaviors.

Our learning and development strategy:

  • 70% of learning is experience, like work shadowing in a completely new position.
  • 20% of learning is relationships, like feedback, coaching or mentoring.
  • 10% of learning is education, like training, attending conferences or e-learning.

We ensure learning goes hand in hand with career development through this 70–20–10 approach (in which 70% of development is on the job, 20% is via feedback and 10% is through courses and reading).

Supporting our line managers

An essential part of our future success is developing the capabilities of our business leaders. We do this through a number of tools and training programs. In 2019, 46 participants took part in our Leading the Nestlé Way program, while 213 employees participated in the Nestlé Leadership Program.

Coaching and mentoring

We continue to develop our common framework and toolkit for coaching, which provides self-development opportunities for individuals. A coaching network enables each of our participating markets to have a representative to coordinate activities. Many of our markets also continued operating local mentoring schemes, pairing employees with leaders and senior leaders for up to 18 months.

Responding to international dual-career relationships

As a global employer, we offer many opportunities for people to work abroad. In 2011, along with other multinationals, Nestlé became a founding member of the International Dual Career Network (IDCN), an independent nonprofit association that helps dual-career spouses with their local job search and professional integration in a new country. We continue to actively support the organization as a member of its executive board, hosting the IDCN center of expertise meetings in one of our facilities, hosting and organizing various events that support dual-career spouses and leading 3 of its 13 networks. Our local operating companies manage the network in their respective countries.


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