Spreading the Work-Life Flexibility Message in Latin America
In order to attract and retain talent, companies have to provide compelling benefits in an increasingly competitive landscape. When Monica M., Total Rewards Manager for Latin America, and her team analyzed the main value propositions offered by Kellogg, they found that the company matched its competitors in most areas. But they also discovered that there is still work to do in promoting work-life practices and policies within the company.
“Even though we were well-aligned with the market in terms of work-life flexibility offerings, we found that employees don’t actually use those programs as much as we would like,” Monica explained.
Monica and her team recognized an opportunity to build greater awareness of the work-life flexibility benefits and decided to focus first on people managers to reach the greatest number of employees. “Sometimes managers don’t know they can allow employees to work from home when needed, work on a different schedule or take a month off to study abroad,” she said.
Since last year, 110 People Managers across the region have completed the half-hour training class detailing the benefits and best practices of work-life flexibility policies in action. The training has also created a space for feedback from People Managers on what is working and what needs improvement.
Beyond spreading awareness of the resources available, Monica says there is a cultural hurdle to overcome too. “In Latin America, we wouldn’t usually ask to leave early or work remotely because we are afraid of judgement,” she explained. “For me that is the most challenging part of our work, convincing people that it’s ok to do this as long as you keep achieving your goals”
There are many signs of progress, however. “We are more welcoming now of different arrangements that, in the past, we would never think of,” added Monica. For example, more and more fathers are taking longer paternity leave.
Besides promoting retention of top talent, flexible work arrangements and leave policies are a key part of building a more diverse workforce.
“If we want to be a company that promotes diversity and inclusion, work life is a basic part of fostering that initiative and is a win/win for the company and employees,” said Monica.
Kellogg Intern Program Supports Diversity and Growth of Talent Pipeline
Building a more diverse talent pipeline is one of the main areas of opportunity facing many companies today. One way Kellogg is tackling this challenge is through its annual Intern Program, which has strengthened participation across the company and sharpened its focus on diversity in recent years.
When it started in 2012, the Kellogg Intern Program only operated in three business functions – Sales, Human Resources and IT. Since then, the program has undergone regular strategic upgrades, including rolling out a Diversity Strategy in 2015. Now, each year, 75-100 interns are placed across all major business functions and racial diversity in the program has steadily increased. The 2018 U.S. intern class was 63% diverse by race, compared to just 22% in 2013.
“Diversity & Inclusion and Talent Acquisition are most effective when we work as partners. There’s a wonderful synergy that happens when you bring us together,” said Niki R., University Relations Manager.
Under our Diversity Strategy, the University Relations team hosts recruitment events at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and partners with organizations such as the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. The team continues to expand its reach and approach to diverse students across the country, searching for top-tier talent among traditionally under-represented demographics. This fall, the team is rolling out a new recruitment strategy for student veterans and is also partnering with Kellogg’s Kapable Business/Employee Resource Group (B/ERG) to develop a recruitment strategy for students with disabilities.
Crucially, conversion rates – the number of interns that become full-time employees – have steadily improved from 17 percent prior to 2012, to 68percent in 2017.
“We recognize it takes time for strategies to pay off. We have invested resources, grown our reputation on campus, and our interns are now serving as ambassadors to their peers regarding the great opportunities here at the company,” she explained. Kellogg interns receive a sign-on bonus and competitive pay for the 12-week program, along with access to professional development and mentorship opportunities.
Niki sees the Kellogg Intern Program as a long-term investment in Kellogg’s future growth and next generation of leaders.
“Diversity of thought for the organization is key. Our consumer base is exceptionally diverse and Kellogg, as a company, will be most successful in reaching these demographics if we reflect that same level of diversity in our full-time employees,” she said.
Inaugural Dublin InKlusion Conference Expands Conversation On Cultural Diversity
As more and more people continue to immigrate to new parts of the world, countries around the globe are becoming increasingly culturally diverse. This is especially true across Europe, and the Kellogg office in Dublin, Ireland, where 19 different nationalities are represented in a single building.
Enabling this diverse group to effectively work together is a key priority for the InKlusion committee in Dublin, and the inaugural conference in May reflected this goal. Committee members worked with Right Track, a consultancy specializing in exploring cultural differences at work, to design an agenda focused on building cultural understanding through group events and conversations.
“Historically, the work of the committee focused on gender, but this year, there was very much a sense that we can do more to help each other understand national culture and how this influences not just who we are, but how we work,” explained Anne-Marie K., InKlusion committee member.
The InKlusion conference placed cultural conversations center stage. President of Kellogg Europe David Lawlor spoke about how cultural diversity helps to broaden perspectives, to unlock agility and, ultimately deliver growth. Other events featured personal accounts from expatriate employees about their own experiences with culture shock in Ireland and an interactive role-playing exercise designed by external consultants. Anne-Marie says that by broadening the theme of this year’s conference, they were able to attract more people to the event.
For many attendees, the experience helped contextualize cultural differences in the office. For example, one attendee explained that learning about the French education system from a colleague helped her better understand the thinking and mindset of her French coworkers.
“You take it for granted that all colleagues will easily form relationships in the work environment and never consider if cultural differences could get in the way,” she said. “The power of this event was having dedicated time to focus on yourself and how you appreciate cultural diversity in the workplace.”
In India, Kellogg Opens New Opportunities For Women
As in many places around the world, more and more women are seeking to enter the workforce in India. But, they still face numerous barriers to employment, including certain biases, one of which is that men are better suited to technical manufacturing jobs than women.
Kellogg leaders at the Sri City factory saw a chance to change this bias. Because of a state law, women were not allowed to work the night shift at factories. As an equal opportunity employer, Kellogg executives raised the issue with the Chief Minister in the state of Andhra Pradesh and requested the official to open up the night shift – also known as the third shift – to the other half of the population.
The government of Andhra Pradesh lifted the ban on female workers in factories, provided that companies ensure several key safety and gender equality measures. These included an assurance of equal opportunities for women, separate cafeteria and toilet facilities, night nursery facilities, and sexual harassment protection measures.
Kellogg Sri City worked to implement these measures, and also now provides additional measures to ensure the safety of all its employees, including residence pick-up and drop-off services and the use of female security guards during the third shift.
The effects of these changes have been enormous, opening up new opportunities to women around the region. At Kellogg’s Sri City plant, the number of women technicians is six times higher than before the legislation change.
“I’m very happy to work here, it’s a very safe place to work for women,” said Lavanya, one of the first women to take up the third shift at Sri City. She said she plans to continue working at the plant after she is soon married. “It has given me a new life. I can say proudly that I’m a Kellogg employee forever.”