Championing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at HelloFresh
In conversation with Kasia Feng, Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, HelloFresh US
Kasia Feng is the Director for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) at HelloFresh US. She joined the company in 2019 and started her current role in 2020. Kasia started the first DE&I function at HelloFresh US and now leads a team of two people. In our interview she talks about her day-to-day work, her personal career path, her goals and inspiration.
Kasia, please tell us about a typical day on your job.
Kasia: The DE&I team functions as a center of excellence that designs, executes and measures initiatives across the organization. By understanding individual teams’ opportunities and priorities, we can support and influence them in a sustainable and digestible way that positively contributes to diversity at HelloFresh. This includes a lot of benchmarking and market research to prioritize actions. Then we decide on concrete measures to improve DE&I, often designing brand new approaches that we haven’t seen elsewhere.
To give you an example: with our Talent Acquisition team (TA), we have set diverse slate goals. This means that we prioritize a balanced mix of candidates at the top of the funnel. First we really had to understand best practices of how to set an effective but aspirational diverse slate goal since there are several approaches; then we did the analysis of our representation statistics across interview stages. We then partnered to train the TA team on how to improve diverse sourcing and address potential points of bias in the hiring process. Most importantly, we communicated (and continue to champion) the positive impact of this effort on diversity - so much of my day is making sure our diversity approach is clearly understood and embraced by key players across HelloFresh US.
The LIMES (Leveraging Inclusivity for Minority Employee Success) Employee Resource Group wants to expand inclusivity & diversity at HelloFresh.
Of all the things you have done in 2020, is there anything you are particularly proud of?
Kasia: Our department is just about a year old, so the major project in 2020 was actually building up the structure of this function alongside a track record of action. This meant creating goals, analytics and reporting, and adding a business analyst to the team. I’m also quite proud of coming up with a unique model for our Diversity Council. It consists of the executive sponsors of our employee resource groups, our Chief People Officer, our CEO, myself and two women that are DE&I experts from other organizations. Together, we meet once a quarter to talk through and troubleshoot different ideas - and also have a Slack channel for ongoing exchange.
Overall, what I am most proud of is the impact we have had already in such a short and intense year. We have a lot more to do, so I’m glad we’ve built such a strong foundation to grow from.
What are your big projects for this year?
Kasia: We are starting our very first diversity center of excellence (COE) within the Talent Acquisition function. This means that DE&I will have a counterpart team within TA: a dedicated diversity talent partner and a diversity sourcer. The sourcer will focus on building partnerships with diversity organisations and schools, to attract more diverse talent to enter the hiring process at HelloFresh. The talent partner will be a strategic partner to not only the rest of the recruiter team, but hiring managers across the organisation - proactively prioritizing diversity in the hiring process This COE’s main goal is sustainably increasing the level of diversity in our talent pipelines.
Another focus for 2021 (and on) is our analytics and reporting. Just last month we built all of our DE&I reporting into an interactive Tableau dashboard. It supports our executive leadership team to have the level of awareness and accountability that’s needed to champion all of our diversity initiatives. It’s a market-leading solution that demonstrates HelloFresh’s data driven approach to DE&I.
The last project I’d like to highlight is our employee donation match program that we got funding for in our first couple months of existence and launched in February 2021. It empowers our employees to have a positive social impact by connecting and donating to one of over 13.000 non profit organizations listed on YourCause that are engaged around sustainability or resolving hunger. HelloFresh will match any of these donations up to $200 per employee.
Celebrating Black History Month with the LIMES ERG.
Tell us a bit more about your background: Where does your HelloFresh story begin?
Kasia: I worked in finance and consulting before getting my MBA at NYU, which I’m thankful for setting the analytical rigor that’s important here. Prior to joining HelloFresh, I moved to South Korea where I worked in management and strategy consulting for Samsung HQ. When I came back to the US I actually took a year off to very intentionally regroup and figure out what I really wanted - the first time I had ever really asked myself that question. This led me to laser focus on getting into the food tech-space and multiple networks recommended HelloFresh. I started my path here in the Special Operations team and got a ton of exposure: I had projects in product development, built out procurement and supply chains, and led demand forecasting, for example. At the end of my first year, our CEO asked me if I would be interested in building out the DE&I function - and clearly I jumped at the opportunity.
At HelloFresh we try to constantly raise awareness for DE&I, e.g. by Celebrating Women’s Equality Day @ HelloFresh.
Did you encounter any obstacles in your path?
Kasia: The biggest obstacle I personally overcame was a certain level of fear to break from the “norm” and to deviate from the standard career path (i.e. finance and consulting). Going to business school changed that for me because I was surrounded by success that took a lot of different forms - entrepreneurship or taking time off didn’t derail anyone’s career. This was also the basis for why I took the job at Samsung - I realized the freedom and growth you get from discomfort. I moved to a foreign country, where I had never been, didn’t know a single person and did not speak the language. But letting go of the fear of doing these things really helped change my priorities and create new opportunities for myself. And now I am really happy about my current opportunity to build something new from absolutely nothing.
Celebrating pride in the office.
What inspires you?
Kasia: First - the support from our leadership team at HelloFresh US. There is such a high level of engagement where we openly ask ourselves whether we are doing enough. It motivates me that leadership cares at such a personal level.
Second, seeing the results of our work. We are very analytical, very data and results driven. We are testing a lot of things, learning from them and then we can see what is really working. Hopefully we can spread what we are doing to the rest of the industry.
And lastly, a bit of personal perspective: the messages I get from HelloFresh employees that tell me they would have never expected something like this from their workplace. We had a few employees from the LGBTQIA+ community tell us that HelloFresh was the first place they could be their full selves at work. I’m very humbled by this level of reach, and am inspired by the individual open hearts and minds to what we’re doing.