Large-scale retailer Kroger recently announces its “Framework for Action Diversity, Equity & Inclusion,” which features immediate and long-term steps towards promoting greater change in the workplace and in the communities the organization serves.

The plan was developed in collaboration with associates and leaders within the company.

“As America’s grocer, Kroger is driven to bring Americans together as an employer, grocery provider and community partner, representing Our Purpose to Feed the Human Spirit,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Over the last several months, we’ve listened closely to our half a million associates and countless communities across the nation. It’s never been clearer that our collective energy is necessary to achieve true and lasting equality.

“We have taken a very thoughtful and purposeful approach to develop what we believe are the right actions to substantially and positively impact our culture and our country, creating real change now and into the future. We are approaching this effort with humility, knowing we can’t do it alone and don’t and won’t have all the answers. Our new Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan reflects our desire to redefine, deepen, and advance our commitment, mobilizing our people, passion, scale and resources.”

Kroger’s plan which features 10 immediate actions, focuses on five areas: Create More Inclusive Culture, Develop Diverse Talent, Advance Diverse Partnerships, Advance Equitable Communities, and Deeply Listen and Report Progress.

  • Create a DE&I Advisory Council to advance our long-term DE&I commitments, reporting to senior leadership.
  • Provide Unconscious Bias training to every leader in 2020 and DE&I training for every associate by May 2021.
  • Improve diverse talent recruiting by partnering with Historically Black Colleges & Universities, Hispanic Association Colleges & Universities, and community colleges.
  • Establish two-way mentorship and advocacy program between high-potential diverse talent and senior leaders.
  • Increase spend with diverse suppliers from $3.4 billion to $10 billion by 2030.
  • Ensure our media partners align with Our Values and that we reach diverse customers through our marketing spend, partners and strategy.
  • Deploy funds to support impactful approaches to advance racial equity with community partners.
  • Encourage associates to vote and provide voter registration and ballot applications in stores.
  • Engage external stakeholders to seek perspective and co-create more just and equitable communities.
  • Provide associates with platforms to continue sharing their stories and feedback with our leaders.

“Kroger welcomes associates from every race, culture, and ability, and we remain deeply focused on creating a more equitable workplace where every associate is empowered and supported and feels valued and a sense of belonging,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s senior vice president and chief people officer.

“And while diversity and inclusion have been longstanding Kroger values, this year has certainly served as an awakening. As an organization driven by purpose, we know we not only must continue to listen to our associates, but we must act. When we see our associates, customers and neighbors affected by systemic racism, discrimination and injustice, we are called to speak out and act in accordance with Our Values: Honesty & Integrity, Diversity & Inclusion, and Safety & Respect.”

Kroger will continue to create and provide opportunities for associates to share their ideas and feedback with the organization through various channels, including town halls, listening sessions and surveys as well as focus groups hosted by the organization’s research and development and merchandising teams that will respectively continue to help develop new products and perfect flavor profiles and identify potential gaps in brand and product representation on shelves for purchase.

“It’s very important for associates to have the license to openly share and be their authentic self in the workplace as it creates community and safety,” said Kim Yates, Kroger’s retail labor forecaster and co-chair of the Kroger African American Resource Group.

“The listening sessions with executives have been instrumental in providing associates, including myself, with an opportunity to be real, honest and vulnerable, addressing challenges – and bright spots – inside and outside of the workplace that affect each of our lives in unique yet unifying ways.”

To learn more about Kroger’s “Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” plan visit, TheKrogerCo.com/StandingTogether.

(Photo: Courtesy of Kroger)

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