Monday, March 13, 2017


Barilla is taking part in a project run by Swiss startup, the first online platform where jobseekers and employees can (anonymously) review companies’ commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Smart Working, equal opportunities, valorisation of  individuals: this is why diversity is a priority for Barilla. Kristen Anderson, Barilla’s Chief Diversity Officer: «The best talents are looking for working environments where they feel appreciated as professionals and as people».
Parma, 13 March 2017 - 90% of companies express their commitment to diversity, but 61% of workers say they experience discrimination in the workplace based on their gender, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation. These are the findings of an international study conducted by (, revealing a gap that the Swiss startup is on a mission to close. Its innovative online platform lets people share their experience of a certain working environment, access first-hand information on a company, evaluate companies’ initiatives and share ideas and suggestions with the community and the companies themselves for their improvement. It is a virtual guide to the best work places, i.e. the places where it is easier to ‘work well’, enjoy equal opportunities and feel valued. The platform benefits job seekers and companies alike, enabling them to share their views and secure the best talent on the market.
Among the first 100 companies to sign up to this innovative programme there is also Barilla, which some years ago started a process to promote diversity and inclusion, dedicating a section of its corporate website to the topic ( According to Kristen Anderson, Barilla’s Chief Diversity Officer, «the Includeed Project enables us to compare ourselves with other companies actively engaged in promoting diversity, and to share best practices in a new and innovative way. Our objective is to constantly improve and become a corporate leader in diversity and inclusion, both internally and externally».
Diversity and inclusion have long been an integral part of Barilla’s culture, values and code of ethics, and are a determining factor in our way of doing business. This is reflected in the policies and benefits offered to the staff, regardless of their age, disability, sex, race, religion or sexual orientation. Diversity even features as a fundamental company objective in our corporate strategy document, the ‘Barilla Lighthouse’. «Promoting diversity and inclusion is not simply the right thing to do, but it also sustains our growth strategy. A diverse workforce and an inclusive culture increase engagement, and reflect a deeper understanding of society, strengthening our decision-making capacity», explains Kristen Anderson. «At Barilla we care about all aspects of our employees’ lives, because behind every professional there is a person. The best talents are looking for working environments where they feel being appreciated as professionals and as individuals».
The Diversity & Inclusion Board, composed by external, independent experts, was set up to help Barilla establishing concrete targets and strategies for improving diversity and equality among staff and within its corporate culture, in terms of sexual orientation, gender equality, the rights of disabled people and multicultural and intergenerational issues. Board members to date include David Mixner, international advocate of the LGBT community, Alex Zanardi, Paralympian gold medallist and Patricia Bellinger, executive director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she teaches Diversity & Leadership.
Barilla has also formed partnerships with various external organizations (Catalyst, Parks, ValoreD, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, The Tyler Clementi Foundation, The 30% Club), which accompanied it on this journey of growth, supporting the company in making concrete changes to its policies and procedures, and raising awareness of diversity and inclusion as a business imperative.
A further step in this direction was the appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer reporting directly to the CEO, guaranteeing long-term commitment that engages the company at all levels. Since 2014, over 1500 ‘Barilla people’, including managers, office workers, sales force and factory staff, have been trained on diversity and inclusion.
The approach is still being developed, but it has already produced tangible results: today 69% of managers are actively engaged in promoting diversity, with a company target of 85% by 2020. In two years the number of women in managerial roles has risen by 25% (32% today and 40% by 2020), 77% of employees say they have the flexibility they need to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and 74% have already chosen to work from home, taking advantage of the company’s Smart Working programme.
Barilla’s ongoing pursuit of growth and awareness has not passed unnoticed: according to a 2016 Huffington Post study in collaboration with Monster, one of the largest consulting companies for finding, recruiting and developing human resources, Barilla has made more progress than any other company in terms of social inclusion and promoting diversity. It is also one of the companies pursuing cultural and ideological change in the workplace, encouraging the integration and inclusion of the LGBT community.
Finally, for three years in a row (2015, 2016 and 2017), Barilla has scored 100/100 in the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) developed by the Human Rights Campaign (America’s biggest LGBT organization), aiming to assess policies and practices implemented by companies to contrast discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity - from insurance cover for workers’ same-sex partners, to official recognition of LGBT workers’ group, and training on diversity.