New Training Program Works to Address Unconscious Bias in Hiring

In many ways, the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts begin with the hiring process. As part of the new BOOM! Training in Kellogg Latin America (KLA), people managers take part in a Talent Acquisition module that includes diversity and inclusion education. Part of the module focuses on unconscious biases (positive and negative) that people hold and the effect on the hiring process.

The module was launched in August 2017 by Nathalie G., KLA Talent Acquisition Manager, as part of a wider recruitment training, already reaching over 50 hiring managers.

The Talent Acquisition module’s unconscious bias training reviews the entire hiring process. “A manager’s biases can come out during the job interview, which is the foundation for the hiring decision,” said Nathalie. “But biases can also influence a decision during other parts of the process, including establishing the position’s requirements and screening candidates prior to an interview.”

During the training, hiring managers learn specific examples of what unconscious bias looks like, whether it’s favoring a candidate based on where they live or went to school, or making assumptions about their abilities based on race, gender or age.

The key, says Nathalie, is self-awareness. “We all have biases – it’s human nature to have them. You can never get rid of your biases, but you can mediate them,” she said.

While the program is off to a strong start, Nathalie, who believes strongly in the power of diversity in strengthening teams, says there is still work to do on diversity and inclusion efforts in Latin America. “Gender balance has been a focus here in Latin America, and this will provide a blueprint for further commitment to other aspects of diversity. We are working on the inclusion part too, to make sure that people have what they need to flourish once they are here.”

Expanding our Parental Leave Policy

In January 2017, Kellogg’s new parental leave policy went into effect in North America, increasing the total possible paid time off for parental leave from one week to four weeks. This enhancement is available to both new moms and new dads. Overall, paid maternity leave, including the enhanced parental leave, jumped from 10 weeks to 14 weeks. The new parental leave policy also covers adoptive parents and is applied retroactively to children of employees born after August 1, 2016.

The changes were not only “the right thing to do,” said Shawn Zimmerman, HR Vice President for North America, “but a move by Kellogg to ensure we are competitive in areas where we do business and compete for talent. As our demographics change we need to ensure we have policies that are competitive and meet the needs of our employees and prospective employees,” he said.

The issue of parental leave in the United States has received increased attention over recent years and many companies have responded with expanded parental leave policies. Zimmerman, in close collaboration with the KNA Compensation and Benefits team, is actively monitoring emerging trends and new, standard HR policies across multiple industries, while actively working to understand how they affect Kellogg’s ability to attract and retain talent.

“Looking at external trends, we have the opportunity to decide if these changes align with our values and make good business sense,” said Zimmerman.

As workforce demographics continue to change and workplace policies become more inclusive, Kellogg will continue to look for more flexible HR policies that emphasize an “owner’s mindset” Zimmerman said.

“This is just the beginning,” he said. “High-performing companies are spending less time policing where people take time off and, instead, trusting their employees to be accountable to deliver on their commitments while managing their personal time.”

Parenting Transition Coaching Program Aims to Support Employees When They Need It Most

Welcoming a new child to the family can be an exciting, but uncertain time. With its Parenting Transition Coaching Program, Kellogg Europe is working to make the transitions between work and family a little bit easier.

Launched three years ago, the program offers a group coaching session for three key groups – pre-maternity, return-to-work for mothers and return-to-work for new fathers. In addition, there is a separate program for line managers and HR business partners to better support their employees during these transition phases. Experience coaches cover a range of topics during the sessions, which are offered in both face-to-face meetings or virtual sessions.

“The objective of this approach is to really invest in our employees at key milestones in parenting transitions. By supporting and nurturing our fantastic people, to ensure we achieve brilliance through diversity,” said Ben L., Talent & Diversity Director for Europe, who has also participated in the program as a new father.

The program has received great feedback to date, with participant reviews averaging over 90% favorable. Ben says an added benefit of the program is the formal and informal support networks that developed as a result of participation.

Moving forward, the Kellogg Europe team is working to raise awareness across various regions about the program so that more employees can take advantage of this resource.

In South Korea, Kellogg Achieves Gender Parity among Executives

This year Kellogg’s South Korea achieved an important milestone in its diversity efforts. For the first time, women now consist of half of executives and 40 percent of staff at the Seoul headquarters. This marks a significant improvement from 10 years ago, when there were no female executives. Recently, a female was appointed as an executive for the Finance Division, a rare occurrence in a field dominated by men in Korea. Over the past six years, three women were also appointed as the heads of the human resources, public relations and marketing divisions.

Kellogg's HR policy to prioritize capability and leadership skills, apart from gender, is also being received positively. Kellogg Korea has a performance index, requiring leaders of each division to recruit and promote women at the same rate at which men are promoted. Managers are actively encouraged to support new parents through work-life balance programs like flex-time arrangements and early departure. In 2017, Kellogg Korea also started an Unconscious Bias workshop for managers to examine unintentionally discriminatory behaviors.

“Women need to be seen as colleagues who drive results for the organization, without subjecting them to discrimination and biases,” said Agnes C., Director of HR. “I hope that all of the members of our organization get to enjoy a great work environment and organizational culture.”

Agnes, who became Kellogg Korea’s first female executive in 2011, sees strong organizational culture as an important gateway to building the next generation of female leaders.

“I lived through a time when it was rare for women to have long-term careers, but now, women are gaining recognition for their competencies and achievements,” she said. “Instead of having women make sacrifices for their careers, we want to make sure that their careers enrich their lives.”