Taking Action on Diversity and Inclusion at Nestlé

At Nestlé USA, we’ve prioritized employee voices, feedback, and empowerment. Here’s what’s next for us in building an inclusive culture.

Judy Cascapera
Aug 4, 2020 · 6 min read

I’ve spent three decades thinking a lot about diversity and inclusion. Some days that’s meant exploring policies and trainings, or bringing an equity lens to our employee benefits package. Others, it’s been about more personal questions: what strategies are required when you’re the ‘only one in the room’? How do we take pressure off employees adapting to a new environment? With all the time I’ve spent on these questions, and the work we’ve already done to address them, I had no idea how much more I could learn in just a few months of increased dialogue.

At Nestlé, we’re in a new era of courage and candid feedback. Employees have spent the past few months engaging in sessions with leadership and reaching out with their experiences and goals for the company, and that’s something that I value immensely.

What we heard from employees hit on four key themes of what they wanted to see, and it’s within those areas that we are taking action:

If we take the value of diverse and inclusive teams seriously, we should measure the success of our leaders’ actions and link accountability to that work, as we do with other key business and talent metrics. That means linking the achievement of diversity and inclusion goals to compensation, going deeper on data to ensure equity, and extending our impact across our partners.

  • Link executive performance assessments and compensation to Diversity and Inclusion outcomes. Senior leaders will be required as a part of their annual performance goals to review their organizations to develop and implement a plan to address any identified diversity and inclusivity gaps.
  • Go deeper on pay equity. We perform comprehensive analysis to ensure our employees are paid both competitively in the market based on performance and equitably within the organization for performing the same work. This includes reviewing pay twice annually to ensure pay decisions are unbiased. This year, we will expand our existing pay equity analysis to include compensation beyond salary and include a more detailed breakout of equity for individual employee groups.
  • Leverage our impact across the industry. We know that actions within a company of our size has ripple effects. We’ve used our scale and expertise to spread more sustainable practices on farms, create long-term community investments in education, and even help expand clean energy by sourcing from wind farms. We know our scale can also help support minority-owned and staffed businesses, agencies, and suppliers by making it easier and more accessible to do business with Nestlé. Last year, we spent more than 2.8 billion with diverse-owned suppliers, which helps those businesses invest, grow, and create more opportunities for others.

If we want to empower employees at every level to make a difference in our organization’s culture, we need to include them at every step. We need to give employees a voice throughout the process.

  • Elevate the voices of Nestlé’s employee resource groups with recurring, structured access to leadership to make recommendations and share experiences on inclusion.

One of the things that has made me proud to be Chief People Officer at Nestlé has been what I’ve heard over and over again from employees and leaders the past two months: I want to educate myself more, I want to learn how to be a strong ally, I want to be part of creating an inclusive culture. Our employees want tools and credible resources to help drive change. As we work collectively to elevate our understanding, skill, and culture, we’re investing in learning programs, extending mandatory training, and building mentorship to empower diverse leaders.

  • Strengthen our D&I Learning curriculum. We will enhance our current offerings by delivering a customizable approach that consolidates learning and development content, provides opportunities for coaching and mentoring, and facilitates experienced-based learning and purposeful exposure.
  • Expand training to help eliminate discrimination in the workplace. In addition, we will instate mandatory unconscious bias training for all people leaders in 2020 and for all employees in 2021.
  • Establish a mentorship program to elevate, develop and support diverse leaders.

As proud as I am of our leadership team, we all have our eyes on something more important than ourselves: what comes after us. One thing that makes Nestlé unique is our long history and our long-term vision- not what the numbers look like next quarter, but how we continue to serve our consumer for centuries.

That mindset has made us a people-centric culture. We always have an eye on how we accelerate and develop opportunities for talent to lead, how we create an inclusive culture where our colleagues can thrive and take risks, and, of course, how we find and attract our next generation of leaders. To find our leaders of tomorrow, we’re using technology, engaging with partners, and making key training available to connect diverse talent with the latest opportunities.

  • Leverage technology to identify diverse talent and to ensure inclusive language is used in our job descriptions.
  • Partner to connect with diverse talent. Leverage our partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), The Consortium (the nation’s largest diversity MBA network), Out & Equal, and other organizations to make sure that Nestlé opportunities reach diverse talent.
  • Continue to eliminate potential bias in our interviewing process with enhanced training and resources for all interviewers.

Nestlé pioneered the notion of Creating Shared Value around the world — designing our business in a way that creates value for society and the communities we’re in, which is ultimately what builds a business that can grow for the next 150 years.

Our employees take pride in the role we play in our communities and put in serious sweat equity — taking part in community efforts from our annual volunteer events to pitching in during times of urgent need, like our COVID-19 response. Employees have more than earned the right to be part of the decisions about our community support strategy and to bring more diverse perspectives into that process.

  • Empower Nestlé employees to drive our partnerships with charitable organizations focused on diversity and racial justice issues. We will expand our partnerships for donation matching and community engagement based on input and recommendations from employee groups.
  • Leverage U.S. resources to contribute $1.5 million to the National Urban League, the UNCF, and other organizations dedicated to ending racial discrimination and providing economic empowerment.

After decades spent considering questions of diversity, and working to build a better workplace, I’m energized by the passion of my colleagues all across Nestlé to drive change further and faster. The actions I’ve outlined above aren’t the only efforts we’ll make — we’re still engaging with our colleagues, holding additional listening sessions, and committing to holding ourselves accountable for the successes and challenges to come. I truly encourage our employees and communities to stay engaged and keep feedback and input coming.

Explore our plan in full:

Click to Explore our Diversity and Inclusion plan

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