Hershey gains top listing for DiversityInc’s Top50 companies for equality policies

The Hershey Company has confirmed its ranking as number three on DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity annual list, recognising the company’s drive for workplace equality and inclusion, writes Neill Barston.

As the business noted, its latest initiatives include ‘Future CEO,’ ‘Say Hola’ and enhanced supplier diversity programmes, as it continues to develop a workforce that is fully representative of the communities it serves in the US and further afield.

“At Hershey, we know that diversity, equity and inclusion are key to long-term success – not just for our workforce but for the communities where we live and work,” said Alicia Petross, Chief Diversity Officer, The Hershey Company. “Recognition on DiversityInc’s flagship list – amongst best-in-class champions of DEI – reaffirms and fuels our commitment to advance these initiatives.”

Hershey’s efforts are guided by The Pathways Project, the company’s five-year plan to make Hershey more diverse and inclusive by bringing in a wider range of talent and perspectives, recognizing and developing talent, and showing up for consumers and communities in new ways. The company’s employee-affinity program, Business Resource Groups (BRGs), are key to implementing Hershey’s DEI strategy throughout the organization.

“I am proud to be a part of a company which turns to employees to influence DEI strategy and ensure we’re showing up in the right ways,” said Regina Hughes, Latino BRG Co-Lead and Director of Finance, M&A, THX, The Hershey Company. “Within Hershey, the Latino BRG serves as an inclusive community where Latinos are empowered to be their best selves, advance their careers, and celebrate heritage and culture. Through this platform, we are able to connect Hershey to diverse communities and drive change across the business – from launching our bilingual manufacturing initiative, ‘Say Hola’, to informing how we recruit, engage and mentor our peers.”

Hershey credits this recognition to prioritizing – and investing in – its workforce and community initiatives, proactively fostering an equitable environment where employees can feel a sense of belonging. Notable results from Hershey’s DEI initiatives include:

Representation and Leadership: Hershey recognizes the strength and opportunity behind amplifying diverse voices from early-in-career individuals and senior leadership. Currently, its Board of Directors has 58% diverse representation, an executive committee with 44% diverse representation and a global workforce with nearly 50% gender representation.

Recruitment and Supplier Diversity: Hershey believes it’s crucial to foster a workforce and supply chain which reflect its consumer base. By 2030, Hershey will quadruple its investments with diverse suppliers, helping to promote economic equality and opportunity for diverse-owned businesses.

Gender and Pay Equity: In 2019, Hershey achieved 1:1 gender pay equity, and in 2021, 1:1 aggregate people of color (POC) pay equity for salaried employees on an aggregated basis in the U.S. By 2025, Hershey strives to achieve aggregate dollar-for-dollar pay equity for salaried employees worldwide.

Accessible and Equitable Work Environment: Hershey promotes an equitable and accessible workplace by actively investing in employee development programs and adapting its facilities to accommodate different needs where every individual can contribute and thrive. In 2022, the company launched its first U.S. bilingual manufacturing facility in Hazleton, Pa. ‘Say Hola’ is a proof point to the company’s people-first manufacturing vision.

Fostering the Next Generation: Hershey is committed to fostering a more just and equitable future by supporting equitable access to education and supporting youth development programmes. Honouring the legacy of its founder, Milton Hershey, the company has carried on the tradition of investing in and supporting Milton Hershey School, which provides a free K-12 education to children from marginalised communities.

Most recently, the company hosted Future CEO – a virtual mentorship summit hosted by Hershey leadership – to support the next generation of women leaders. Furthermore, the company continues to lend the platforms of its iconic brands to amplify diverse voices, engage consumers and enable equitable opportunities for all, including KIT KAT’s Black Music History activation which will return this June.

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