Implementing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in a global company

An Interview with Gabriel Brigante, Manager Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, HelloFresh SE

Gabriel (he/him) joined HelloFresh SE one year ago and is a DE&I Manager for the Global headquarters and International segment. Currently living in Berlin, he is originally from Brazil where he started working in Corporate Social Responsibility, building programs aimed at helping underresourced communities, and in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), being responsible for strategic initiatives to help organizations in their efforts for having a more diverse workforce and a truly inclusive workplace. 

How is diversity, equity and inclusion managed at HelloFresh

Currently we have our DE&I initiatives managed by dedicated teams in the US and in the Berlin HQ, where I’m based, together with different local teams that are partly dedicated to DE&I. I’m part of the Employee Experience Team and responsible for our efforts focused in the Global headquarters and the International segment (all markets besides the US), coordinating our strategic initiatives and the different employee resource groups we have focused on in DE&I here. I am also deeply involved with local teams, offering guidance and support to optimize our diversity and inclusion initiatives with a global approach. 

As we are present in several markets and each country or region has its particularities and challenges. I believe that having this multilayer approach, with local and global representatives working closely together, ensures diversity, equity, and inclusion to be better aligned across the organization. But at the same time focussing on local challenges, as the needs are very different from one place to another.

As DE&I is a crucial component in the recruitment process, we also have a Global Talent Acquisition team dedicated to DE&I projects. Our Steering Committee led by representatives from the highest levels of the HelloFresh Group meets on a monthly basis to discuss progress. And last but not least, we have twelve different Employee Resource Groups in Berlin, the US, Canada, Benelux and the UK, that are voluntary, employee-led communities based on shared identities and experiences that help us drive our efforts to a direction that is aligned to some specific needs and demands.

Employee Resource Group FreshPride Berlin

What measures are in place to ensure DE&I is fully addressed during employee recruitment and promotions?

Attracting and nurturing exceptional talent from diverse backgrounds is a priority for us at HelloFresh. We are currently developing a plan to ensure that all recruiters and hiring managers undergo bias training to learn techniques for diversity sourcing, how to write inclusive job descriptions, how to reduce candidate screening bias, and how to conduct inclusive interviews. Here in Berlin, we also established partnerships with different organizations to hire more diverse talent. We have a Women in Tech Scholarship with different coding bootcamps that is currently in its second cohort and for which we’re doubling the number of women interns in our tech teams. Furthermore we have a partnership with Inklupreneur, a Berlin-based organization focused on creating job opportunities for People with Disabilities, while offering coaching sessions to companies to adequate its processes to better include this group with diverse needs.

On the promotions side, we reviewed all promotions awarded throughout the year to look for discrepancies and ensure fairness in the process, from nomination to appointment. We also included Unconscious Bias content as part of the training that every People Lead has to do before going through performance reviews of their team. With this process implemented, last year women accounted for 59% of the promotions across HelloFresh SE, a 14% increase on the previous year, and women accounted for 32% of promotions in Tech functions, which is a 39% increase on the previous year, and a solid achievement for a male-dominated area.

How is progress measured, and are there any specific goals for 2022 and 2023?

We have established a DE&I Strategy with OKRs (Objectives, Key Results) for HelloFresh SE, where I’m based, which include different initiatives and programs. 

First and foremost, collecting credible, reliable and comparable data is crucial for monitoring the progress in more diverse representation across the organization. In 2021 we launched two interactive Tableau dashboards, one for our Global/International segment and one for the US. The data collected through these dashboards provides detailed insights into our performance on key diversity metrics and we are using these insights to set more strategic, quantifiable goals with a long-term orientation. For this year and the future, our main goal is to continuously increase diverse representation at Associate Director level and above and to achieve a significant increase in hiring diverse talent from underrepresented groups, using the hiring and promotions methods I mentioned earlier. We are also working towards achieving a gender diversity target of at least 20% women representation in the top two management levels below the Management Board by the end of 2022.

However, that is not enough: an inclusive culture is also about making sure that everyone at the table feels included and heard, so we implemented a DE&I Index in our internal engagement survey that is performed every quarter. Our DE&I Index is comprised of 5 different questions that measure the perception of all employees on how diverse are our teams, how they perceive equality in career opportunities, how managers can handle DE&I topics and if they feel they can be their authentic selves at work. In the last survey, we’re really happy to see that 89% of respondents said that they can “be their Authentic Self at Work”. For the future, with reliable data the goal is to have a closer look on how different groups are responding to questions like this, how different genders or nationalities are experiencing their journey as an employee, and how we can improve to make the workplace more inclusive for everyone.

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