An in-depth look at Barilla's LGBT initiatives for Diversity and Inclusion
23 November 2017
“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 appreciated as professionals and as people.”
The words of Kristen Anderson, Barilla Chief Diversity Officer, encompass the sense of profound ethical and human responsibility that guides the way Barilla does business. A consideration that puts diversity, inclusion and the fight against homophobia as integral parts of the culture, values and code of Ethics of Barilla, and that is mirrored in the company policies dealing with human resources.
At a global level, figures revealed widespread discomfort: even if 90% of businesses communicate their commitment to diversity, worldwide 61% of workers say they experience discrimination in the workplace based on gender, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation. (Fonte: www.includeed.com).
Data shows an awkward situation: when dealing with the topic of social inclusion at the workplace it is often very easy to talk of inclusion as a rhetorical point, letting speeches overcome tangible commitments.
This is not the approach used by Barilla that instead fights against homophobia by promoting diversity and inclusion through facts, thus setting them as key company objectives.
Barilla’s initiatives to foster inclusion
Barilla’s numerous gay friendly initiatives have promoted its in-house and external process of ethical growth, which is continuously renewed:
- Barilla has set up a Diversity & Inclusion Board (D&I Board) composed of independent external experts who assist the Company in establishing goals and practical strategies to improve the status of equality among staff and to enhance in the corporate culture the respect for different sexual orientations, gender equality, rights of the disabled, and multicultural and intergenerational issues;
- it collaborates with different foreign organisations that support the rights of gays and LGBT communities (Catalyst, Parks, ValoreD, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, The Tyler Clementi Foundation, The 30% Club) that accompany Barilla in its growth on inclusion topics;
- it supports associations that promote LGBT rights and events against homophobia such as, for example, Spirit Day, the largest campaign against bullying and for the inclusion of LGBT youths promoted by the American GLAAD;
- it takes part in innovative projects such as the one by Includeed.com to get to know companies where it is easier to ‘work well’, to enjoy equal opportunities and feel appreciated;
- it promotes and actively participates in local meetings with gay and LGBT communities.
Also internally, Barilla has followed a growth process that has led to a radical redefinition of its Code of Ethics and employee policies with an inclusive approach. As at today, 100% of the employees (including all managers and employees in Europe, Asia and America) has completed training programs on diversity and inclusion.
The results that reward Barilla’s commitment
When you walk the talk results are achieved:
- in two years, the number of women holding management positions in Barilla has increased by 25% (today 32% to become 40% by 2020);
- 77% of the employees declare to have the flexibility they need in order to manage a correct balance between work and private life.
- 74% has chosen to work from home, joining the Smart Working projects implemented by the company;
- according to a 2016 Huffington Post study in collaboration with Monster, Barilla has made more progress than any other company in terms of social inclusion and promoting diversity.
- Barilla is included amongst the most successful global case studies of the Diversity & Inclusion Actions with Impact published by Newsweek Vantage on companies that have distinguished themselves for their respect for the rights of gays and inclusion initiatives.
But that's not all. Barilla has achieved an unprecedented result for which it is very proud: for the fourth consecutive year (2015-2018) it obtained the highest score, i.e. 100/100, in the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) developed by Human Rights Campaign in the USA. The index assesses and analyses corporate policies adopted to prevent homophobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity of LGBT employees, and Barilla ranks amongst the top global companies active on the topic.
This is another recognition that confirms that Barilla is not only the largest pasta manufacturer in the world. Today, the company is also the place where 8,420 people around the world go to find that opportunity and human, personal and professional respect that ennoble work itself.
Going beyond diversity.
Because diversity is wealth and promoting it is the right thing to do.
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