Three of the Most Successful Diversity & Inclusion Practices Analyzed

Nestlé, Sodexo and BSAF are three companies that have been identified with successful diversity and inclusion initiatives. These companies are recognized by the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index. Sodexo has won over 20 awards for their diversity and inclusion practices. Nestlé was honored for improving gender balance in the workplace by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in 2019. In August 2020, BASF was voted into the Inclusion Index list by”Diversity Best Practices, a division of Working Mother Media.

1. Nestlé

  • Nestlé describes itself as the world’s leading food and beverage company. It has a global presence in 187 countries and boasts of over 2,000 “global icons to local favorites” brands.
  • Its diversity and inclusion initiatives are embedded in three core areas namely culture, society, and innovation.
  • Nestlé achieves an inclusive culture by valuing the different talents and experiences of its employees, serving its diverse consumers, and engaging different societies in all the diverse markets it operates in. It also champions the recruitment of “competent and motivated people” and proceed to provide equal opportunities for their career advancement. Nestlé also does not allow harassment or discrimination in any manner.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Gender Balance

  • Gender balance at Nestlé has been a priority since 2008. Since then, it has enabled the company to increase the number of female employees at every level within the organization.
  • This program was established to assist in fostering the circumstances necessary for women managers and senior leaders to earn yearly increments. Its worldwide effort includes chances for female workers to grow professionally via mentorship and coaching programs, role model events organized through round tables and network talks, leadership development training and seminars, and flexible and supportive work settings. Nestlé also has a mandatory Maternity protection policy to protect mothers within their organization.
  • Some success metrics listed by Nestlé include the facts that 43% of managerial roles are held by women across their offices worldwide. The company has also set a goal to increase the percentage of women in its top 200 senior executive positions from 20% to 30% by 2022- a goal described as an integral step to achieving gender parity at the organization.
  • Nestlé was honored for improving gender balance in the workplace by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in 2019. Ghazal Nemati, Supplier & Agriculture Development Manager at Nestlé, was honored by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development as one of the women leaders promoting sustainability in their organization in the 2019 Leading Women Awards.

Cultural Agility

  • This initiative aims to understand the impact of the cultural differences of its over 290,000 employees and to find ways to appropriately give feedback to different employees according to different cultures.
  • Another key objective is to learn how communication and social behaviors differs across cultures and how Nestlé can adjust accordingly. This program is carried out through cultural agility workshops and e-learning forums.

Project Opportunity

  • Nestlé is dedicated to recruiting and cultivating a diverse workforce that interacts genuinely with all of its customers. Through its Project Opportunity program, Nestlé provides career acceleration initiatives that help its employees build skills whilst creating opportunities for those who need it.
  • This program includes training, hands-on experience, and mentorship to help Nestlé employees develop career path awareness and readiness.
  • For instance, Nestlé USA is considered the employer of choice for veterans, employing and supporting over 2,400 veterans through employment and training opportunities. In 2017, Nestlé also employed 1,000 paid interns and trainees in various departments and roles.

Empowering Different Groups

  • Nestlé has diversity and inclusion initiatives that engages the different generations within its organization. Nestlé France hosted a Millennials Day in 2017 that included reverse mentoring seminars, intergenerational interactions, and discussions.
  • Additionally, Nestlé has established a worldwide self-assessment process to guarantee that all markets compare themselves to the degree of inclusion and kinds of activities available to persons with disabilities. The key objective of the self-assessment is to track best practices in training and awareness, accessibility of sites and workplace arrangements. For this, Nestlé Austria has received government support for 2 of its inclusion initiatives.
  • Further, Nestlé is committed to “strengthen inclusive workplace culture” that raises awareness about LGBT+ communities. Nestlé officially endorsed the United Nations Standards of Conduct in 2018 to assist in the fight against discrimination against LGBT+ populations.

Employee Engagement Groups

  • In 2019, Nestlé claimed to have over 25 employee networks worldwide. The following are employee engagement groups in Nestlé USA.
    • The Gender Balance Network’s goal is to create an open and varied culture that values gender equality and helps women at all stages of their careers.
    • iGen is Nestlé’s Young Professionals network, whose goal is to support early career workers by promoting professional growth and leadership skills, industry knowledge, and cross-divisional connections.
    • The Pan Asian Network’s goal is to create a network that fosters professional development and civic participation opportunities for members while also showcasing methods to win with Pan-Asian customers.
    • The Nestlé Black Employee Association’s goal is to foster an atmosphere in which black workers at Nestlé are enabled to succeed professionally and contribute to the company’s competitive edge.
    • The Nestlé Latino Network, whose goal is to support the growth of Nestlé Latino workers and to raise awareness of the Hispanic community’s commercial significance inside our company and brands.
    • The Nestlé Pride Alliance’s goal is to provide a place for LGBTQ+ workers and allies to advocate, celebrate, and support one another in living their most authentic lives at work and in their communities.
    • The Thrive Ability Network, whose goal is to create a friendly and encouraging environment in which Nestlé workers may develop a broader understanding of individuals with disabilities, critical illnesses, and caregivers.
    • The Military Community at Nestlé’s goal is to promote a good work environment for military personnel and to include a military viewpoint into business activities.
    • The Women in Engineering Network, whose goal is to enable women to reach their full potential as engineers and leaders, and to promote engineering and technology professions as a force for good social change.
    • The Working Parents Network’s goal is to unite working parents across Nestlé by providing a platform for sharing and learning from one another in order to create a more fulfilling work/life balance, advance in our professions, and smooth the transition from parent to employee.
    • The Women in Nestlé, whose goal is to develop women as leaders and to promote gender balance throughout the company.
    • The Youth Culinary Network’s goal is to improve the abilities of students enrolled in specialized high school programs across the United States in order to increase their chances of finding employment in the hospitality/culinary sector.

2. Sodexo

  • Sodexo is a worldwide leader in food and facilities management. It has over 420,000 employees in 64 countries.
  • Through governance, accessibility, and constant self-reflection, it guarantees cultural diversity in the workplace. Its commitment to diversity is championed through its 9 employee business resource groups.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives


  • Sodexo has the Spirit of Mentorship program where it offers development opportunities through “a variety of programs” that aim to help employees build competencies and relationships at all career levels.
  • To date, the program boats of over 2,000 mentoring engagements and relationships.

Frontline Employees

  • Sodexo offers training to its frontline employees as it is committed to “an inclusive work culture, workforce diversity and an environment for all employees, despite the challenges associated with our highly decentralized organization”.
  • In 2019, the company trained over 100,000 frontline employees through relevant diversity and inclusion programs through managers and its 147 District Inclusion Ambassadors.


Self-ID Campaign

Success of Initiatives

Employee Engagement Groups

  • AALF- The African American Leadership Forum’s (AALF) goal is to foster and sustain a progressive atmosphere that appreciates and welcomes diversity with zeal.
  • HONOR- The Honoring Our Nation’s Finest with Opportunity and Respect (HONOR) Employee Business Resource Group’s mission is to provide support, guidance, and resources to military-connected employees and families through development opportunities, a forum for recognizing and celebrating contributions to our country, and partnerships with community organizations that assist veterans.
  • PANG- The Pan Asian Network Group (PANG) capitalizes on intergenerational differences and similarities to foster personal and professional development and to recruit and retain talent.
  • NAAC- The Native American Aboriginal Council’s (NAAC) goal is to foster a more accepting environment for indigenous people by increasing awareness of their heritages and values.
  • SOL- The Sodexo Organization of Latinos’ (SOL) goal is to be a community committed to the growth of Latinos via networking, education, and mentorship, while embracing our cultural passion.
  • So Together USA- The SoTogether USA gender network’s goal is to create a culture in which advancing women’s individual and professional development adds to our company’s worldwide success and the communities we serve.
  • SOAR- Sodexo Organization for Disabilities Resources (SOAR) promotes awareness, offers information and resources, and engages in proactive outreach to foster an inclusive, valued, and fully used culture for people with disabilities.
  • PRIDE- Through employee engagement, community involvement, education, and awareness, PRIDE-People Respecting Individuality, Diversity, and Equality (PRIDE) is an employee business resource group whose mission is to champion an environment of acceptance and workplace equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally team members.
  • i-GEN- The Intergenerational Network Group’s (i-Gen) goal is to harness intergenerational differences and similarities for personal and professional development in order to recruit and retain talent that contributes to Sodexo’s diversity and inclusion strength in the marketplace.


  • BASF is a global company that manufactures capital goods used by various industries. Some of its products include engineering plastics and polyurethane and specialty foams for the automotive industry.
  • The business has production plants located around the globe.

Metrics of Success

  • In August 2020, BASF was voted into the Inclusion Index list by”Diversity Best Practices, a division of Working Mother Media.”
  • The company mentioned that this distinction recognized its dedication to implement diversity and inclusion goals as the foundation of its company values.
  • BASF was named to the inclusion index as it was able to meet the target metrics in these three key categories: “best practices in the recruitment, retention and advancement of people from underrepresented groups including women, racial/ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people; inclusive corporate culture, including leadership accountability; and demographic diversity for women and racial/ethnic minorities.”
  • The company’s diversity and inclusion programs have also been recognized by top associations and publications.

Some of the company’s awards that recognized their D&I results include the following:

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

  • According to the company, diversity and inclusion principles are the foundation of their values of “creativity, openness, responsibility, and entrepreneurial spirit.”
  • The company’s D&I programs aim to promote an inclusive environment for its employees to promote true engagement among them. The programs are also designed to help the company in being recognized by its customers to be the leading business in this sector.
  • The company uses the hashtag, “#belongatBASF” to promote its D&I strategies.
  • The company believes that D&I principles drive the success of its business. Given this, the company monitors and reports its quarterly results for the following action plans:
  • Developing and implementing business unit initiatives to foster inclusion.
  • Assigning an “Inclusion Champion” in every business unit to increase the impact of their D&I endeavors.
  • Throwing their support on a clear roadmap to “get the basics right” around “infrastructure, facilities, and work practices” that are D&I cornerstones.
  • Being accountable for the outcomes of its inclusion surveys.
  • 50% of the applicants interviewed for job positions need to be diverse
  • 50% of the interviewers need to be diverse
  • The company also aims to have 30% of leadership positions with disciplinary roles to be female by 2030.
  • The company also has the following target: “80% of our employees believe that they can develop and perform at their best at BASF.”
  • The company’s D&I strategies are advocated through a D&I Council that also acts as an Inclusion Steering Committee on the company’s leadership teams.
  • The company promotes its D&I goals by establishing major partnerships with higher education institutions. It has also formed various employee resource groups to champion D&I in the company. There are also D&I-related mentorship programs and community work.
  • BASF also look for the top talents in diverse sources such as national diversity conferences.
  • The company also has partnerships with historically Black higher education institutions such as the North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University.
  • Additionally, it collaborates with a variety of organizations, including the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and INROADS.
  • The company also has the “STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production) Ahead initiative” program where women are mentored and held in distinction. The initiative also leads research endeavors to address the lack of women in manufacturing jobs.
  • Since 2018, the company is a member of the “United Nations’ global code of conduct for LGBTIQ.”
  • In the “global Business for Inclusive Growth initiative,” BASF and 40 other firms collaborate with the OECD and G7 for a “fair, sustainable and inclusive growth path.”

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

  • The company has ten Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that has around 100 chapters across its North American offices.
  • Around 8,000 of the company’s employees (40% of all employees in NA) take part in these ERGs that champion diversity. These ERGs aim to establish inclusion as part of the BASF company image.
  • Additionally, ERGs allow workers to connect with colleagues who have similar interests and backgrounds. These groups also enable them to develop their knowlege and expertise, as well as help them know more about the industry and the customers. The organizations’ objective is to foster a feeling of community. ERGs also enable the personal professional development of these employees.

 African-American Employee Group  

The African-American Employee Group (AAEG) aims to enable the leaders and employees of the company to understand why diversity is needed. The group also aims to foster an inclusive environment where employees are evaluated based on their own merit and character. The group aims to leverage on the value of diversity across the company by engaging in “communication, participation, and teamwork.”

ALLchemie (BASF’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Friends Group)

  • The ALLchemie employee group’s mission is to assist the business in improving its diversity and inclusion results and to be the preferred partner of key stakeholders.
  • The group is not just for those who are members of the LGBT community but for all employees who put an importance to diversity in the company.
  • The ALLchemie employee group aims to connect the LGBT groups and the wider BASF network by fostering “ideas, innovation, and opportunities” that can advance the “business, lives and communities.”

Asian Business Community (ABC)

  • The Asian Business Community (ABC) aims to promote and manage the specific diversity needs of the Asian community in the company.

Awareness of Visible and Invisible Disabilities (AViD)

  • BASF workers with impairments benefit from the Awareness of Visible and Invisible Disabilities (AViD).
  • The group also helps employees who have disabled family members.
  • AViD also helps in making employees more aware of the visible and invisible disabilities within the company.

Emerging Professionals & Friends Employee Group

  • The Emerging Professionals & Friends Employee Group (EP&F) was established to address the company’s retention and development needs for emerging professionals.

Veterans Employee Team (VETS)

  • The VETS fosters a community for employees who are interested in interacting and helping veterans.
  • The Veterans Employee Team (VETS) creates a network of workers interested in engaging with and assisting veterans.

Parents at BASF

  • The Parents at BASF groups helps employees who are parents to balance their career and parenthood goals.
  • The group provides specific “information, programs, and connections” that can help these parents succeed in their family life and at work.

Women in BASF

The Women in BASF (WIB) employee group aims to enable the company to launch initiatives that can “attract, develop, promote, and retain” female employees under dynamic business landscapes. The various initiatives of the group also helps BASF in dealing with the challenges of a dynamic “economic, business and social” environment.

Tools and Models Used to Promote Diversity

  • BASF leverages its global competency model and the global code of conduct guidebook to provide a framework that can be used by the organization to promote diversity.
  •  Additionally, business leaders offer diversity and inclusion training and incentives.
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