This year of the pandemic is also a year that has focused on diversity, and now The Kroger Co. has released its new diversity plan.
Kroger says that its Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) plan features both immediate and longer-term steps developed in collaboration with associates and leaders to accelerate and promote greater change in the workplace and in the communities that the organization serves.
"As America's grocer, Kroger is driven to bring Americans together as an employer, grocery provider and community partner, representing Our Purpose to Feed the Human Spirit," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "Over the last several months, we've listened closely to our half a million associates and countless communities across the nation. It's never been clearer that our collective energy is necessary to achieve true and lasting equality.”
Kroger's plan features five focus areas: Create More Inclusive Culture, Develop Diverse Talent, Advance Diverse Partnerships, Advance Equitable Communities, and Deeply Listen and Report Progress.
"Kroger welcomes associates from every race, culture and ability, and we remain deeply focused on creating a more equitable workplace where every associate is empowered and supported and feels valued and a sense of belonging," said Tim Massa, Kroger's SVP and chief people officer. "And while diversity and inclusion have been longstanding Kroger values, this year has certainly served as an awakening.”
The plan includes the following steps:
- Create a DE&I Advisory Council to advance long-term DE&I commitments, reporting to senior leadership
- Provide Unconscious Bias training to every leader in 2020, and DE&I training for every associate by May 2021
- Improve diverse talent recruiting by partnering with historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic Association colleges and universities, and community colleges
- Establish two-way mentorship and advocacy program between high-potential diverse talent and senior leaders
- Increase spend with diverse suppliers from $3.4 billion to $10 billion by 2030
- Ensure that media partners align with Kroger to reach diverse customers through marketing spend, partners and strategy
- Deploy funds to support impactful approaches to advance racial equity with community partners
- Encourage associates to vote and provide voter registration and ballot applications in stores
- Engage external stakeholders to seek perspective and co-create more just and equitable communities
- Provide associates with platforms to continue sharing their stories and feedback with company leaders.
Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.