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21 June 2022
DEI needs more buy-in to thrive
Diverse hiring practicesTalent, skills, HR
To be successful with DEI initiatives and drive real change, brands need to communicate expectations to employees across the business, not just the top-tier of executives or marketing departments, say two CPG brand leaders.
Why it matters
Gen Z consumers believe that diversity is table stakes for brands across a variety of intersections including gender, race, ability and sexual orientation. Brands need to address these issues internally as well as externally.
“Part of setting the tone is making sure that the objective is clear and that there is visible support at the top, and that there’s action that goes down [through the company] as well,” said Anton Vincent, President at Mars Wrigley North America, in a conversation this week at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
“To say I want a diverse workforce, or I want more women in management – I need to have people are reinforcing that, in some cases [making changes] that can affect pipelines for recruiting, maintaining, and supporting… it has to be very clear.”
Unilever’s Aline Santos comes at it from a slightly different angle. “‘No seniority, no priority’ is a phrase that I use a lot, because I totally believe it when we talk about equality, diversity and inclusion,” she said. “If we have seniority [buy-in], we have it all, because the grassroots now understand what needs to be done and they are fine with it.”
Communicate clearly when measurable change in DEI targets is expected to be delivered across the organisation.
It’s not enough to focus on gender – race, ability, sexual orientation and other intersections also need to be addressed to have a truly inclusive and equitable brand.
The tone needs to be set from the very top and reflected throughout: if the leadership is not there mentally, emotionally, or willing to invest money in change, success becomes very hard.
“If we wait for governments and NGOs to solve all the problems that we have in the world, that’s not going to happen. Only the private sector has the muscle, the strength, the power, the money and the talent to do it” – Aline Santos, Chief Brand Officer and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Unilever.