How Nestle uses data to shift the diversity dial

Feb 2, 2024 | Case studies, Diversity, Home Featured

Like many organisations, at Nestlé we love to use insight from data to influence our decisions and track our progress. This is no different when it comes to our people.

We are fostering a culture of inclusion and belonging, rooted in our value of respect, where everyone thrives. One of our business priorities is to build diverse, inclusive and engaged teams.

Self-identification data

To help us decide our plans and to check what progress we’ve made against them, we encourage our colleagues and our Academy applicants to confidentially share some of their self-identification information with us.

This enables us to use data, rather than assumptions, to:

  • Know the make-up of our workforce and whether it reflects the society and communities we operate in and serve
  • Better understand the needs and experiences of our people
  • Measure fairness in our processes and ensure there aren’t any hidden inequalities
  • Be transparent about pay gaps
  • Set goals and measure progress and the impact of our actions

We understand that this could feel a little uncomfortable at first for different reasons. People can be concerned about confidentiality, which is why we protect people’s individual data and only report on trends, anonymously.

It could feel like we’re asking people to label themselves and not considering them as a whole person. Data shows that different aspects of identity can affect how others treat people and the experiences people have, so evidence from objective data acts as a catalyst for positive change.

It’s also why we review our data from an intersectional point of view to help us understand how different aspects of identity together like sex and ethnicity impact our people. Some people may feel that this is not relevant to them as they don’t belong to an underrepresented group.

Treating people fairly and inclusively is important for everyone. We want to have a full and accurate understanding of all of our colleagues and their experiences. Providing this data is optional but extremely useful, no matter the answers and there is always a ‘prefer not to say’ option.

Driving change

Giving our senior leaders access to automated, local people dashboards where they can directly review their anonymised trend data has been a big step change.

Leadership teams now have information at their fingertips. For example, they can easily track the impact of their recruitment and promotion decisions.

They can better forecast where they might have gaps in their succession plans.

Across Nestlé UK & Ireland as a whole, we now have a depth and richness of insight that drives our plans. We review our diversity data and importantly also do a detailed analysis of our colleague survey to understand how it feels to work here and how aspects of someone’s identity influence this.

As a result, we have made changes and improvements for example introducing gender-balanced hiring for our senior leadership roles and inclusive hiring training for managers.

We have launched six colleague networks to connect communities together and work with their Board level sponsors to drive change. We have offered mentoring and line manager training and even introduced new policies.

In practice – Nestle Academy

One area we particularly focussed on during the last two years has been our Academy recruitment. Our Academy is focussed on building skills for the future, predominantly targeting school, college and university leavers.

Through our data, we knew that we wanted to increase the diversity of our Academy talent pool. Our analysis showed us that we needed to attract a broader pool of applicants to Nestlé. This is only half the job though! We also wanted to analyse our recruitment process to make sure that there was a level playing field for everyone, throughout.

Tracking the diversity of our applicants has enabled us to take action and consider who we partner with to try and increase the diversity of applications on to our schemes.

By tracking the data, we were able to see which partnerships were working to increase diversity of our applicants and which weren’t, really ensuring we can invest to deliver the maximum return for us.

The data also enables us to take action through the campaign to direct investment and impact applications for the open roles.

In addition to increasing the diversity of our pool of applicants, we noticed that in our selection process there were two stages where different underrepresented groups had an adverse impact – this indicated to us that our selection process was not as inclusive as we needed it to be.

It prompted a review of the full selection process and a change to the materials used to try and ensure our process was as inclusive as possible. We continuously review this data at the end of each campaign to understand what the data is telling us and take any necessary actions to improve.

We continue on our journey to be an organisation representative of society and learn through the use of data where we need to focus to take the next steps.

Nestle shared its approach at ISE’s HE Conference.

Read more content from the event.

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