Working towards gender balance
Challenging discrimination and promoting women's rights
Women continue to face challenges in the global workplace. From limited access to training, tools and finance in agricultural communities to a lack of senior women managers in business, women are all too often under-represented and lacking a voice. We recognize that gender equality, women's rights, education for women and women's empowerment are critical to Creating Shared Value for our business. This is clearly articulated in our values, which enshrine a respect for diversity.
Gender balance has been a priority for us since 2008, and it helped us to increase the number of women at all levels in the organisation. We want to be a gender balanced company by creating the enabling conditions in our work environment to achieve annual increases in the percentage of women managers and senior leaders.
Our global and local initiatives on gender diversity include:
- Development opportunities: mentoring and coaching programmes
- A flexible and supportive work environment
- Role model events, round tables and network discussions
- Leadership development training and unconscious bias workshops
- Maternity Protection Policy (pdf, 1Mb)
Gender balance isn't just for us as an organisation. We know that gender equality, women’s rights, education for women and girls worldwide, and women’s empowerment are critical to creating shared value for our business and for society.
As a global, multinational company, cultural agility is very important and we support it through different programmes for Nestlé leaders and employees to:
- Understand the impact of cultural differences on how people do business;
- Understand how to give feedback according to different cultures;
- Learn how communication and behaviour differs across cultures and how to adapt behaviours;
Empowering different generations at the workplace
At Nestlé, diversity and inclusion measures include ensuring integration and equality for people across all generations.
In 2017, Nestlé France organised a Millennials Day, which involved reverse mentoring workshops and intergenerational exchanges and debates. The day also featured a Millennials Challenge, requiring teams of millennials to develop and present proposals on how to build the 'Nestlé of tomorrow'. The teams selected as finalists were invited to present their proposals to senior management.
Empowering people with different abilities
We aim to promote a culture that builds on strengths and focuses on abilities. We developed a global self-assessment procedure for all our markets to benchmark themselves against the level of inclusion and types of activities for people with disabilities in the workplace. The objective is to track best practices and actions in training and awareness, return-to-work practice, accessibility of sites and workplace arrangements.
Empowering LGBT+ communities
We also expand our efforts to strengthen our inclusive workplace culture by raising awareness about LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, +) and collaborating with external networks.
Our local efforts have for example been rewarded in the US: Nestlé USA and Nestlé Purina PetCare received scores of 95% and 100% respectively on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
Our ongoing training programmes, workshops and best practice exchanges on diversity & inclusion as well as unconscious bias aim to ensure that all our employees integrate our guiding vision.
In 2017, we launched a series of local conferences across the world called "Leading Together". These conferences bring together women and men of all generations at all levels to discuss and debate how we can accelerate our diversity & inclusion journey.
Cascading unconscious bias
One of the catalyst solutions for sustaining a long-term diverse and inclusive culture is minimising the hindering effects of unconscious bias in our working environment.
Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize social worlds by categorising.
The workshops and the training tools that we run on the topic are deemed very enlightening and are highly popular among our employees:
Our workshops provide the employees with the opportunity to freely express themselves, share real-life workplace biases and come to practical resolutions on their interpersonal relationships.
The training programs and testing tools that the employees have at their disposal allow them to discover and measure the biases they may be unaware of and to follow recommendations for their personal development as well as the development of our culture. In 2017, 3819 employees received such training, bringing the total to 10 656 since 2015.
Nestlé India developed a customised module in Hindi to train factory employees; 135 union members across four factories were trained, and they cascaded the programme to employees, supported by the factories’ HR teams. The programme will be extended to other factories in 2018.
Nestlé Middle East organised a two-day diversity and inclusion event for senior managers’ committee (Mancom) members, facilitated by the Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion. The Awareness Workshop in English was recorded and made available to all employees, with subtitles in Arabic and Farsi. Each senior Mancom member has an objective to cascade the training material by January 2018 within the market.